Best Practices

In addition to abiding by Topica's Terms of Service, we recommend that list owners adhere to the following best practices. By carefully following these recommendations, you'll avoid subscriber complaints, ensure successful email delivery, and protect your brand's reputation.

Ensure informed opt-in consent:
Provide clear and explicit language for gathering subscribers' opt-in permission. Let subscribers know exactly what they'll be receiving.

Ask subscribers to reconfirm:
Use our system's subscriber confirmation so subscribers can confirm their subscriptions from their actual email addresses. This reduces problems from typos or forgeries that can affect lists, even though you may have taken proper precautions. Additionally, some ISPs give preferential routing or “white listing” based on messages with a reconfirmed status.

Ask subscribers to add your “From” address to their address book:
Many ISPs exempt messages from filtering if the recipient has added the sender to their address book. Tell subscribers to add your “From” address to their address book – this guarantees delivery of your messages.

Use Topica's remote subscription box:
Use Topica's remote subscription box on your web site to capture IP number/date/time of the subscriber's opt-in request. Doing so sends the information directly into the Topica system.

Leverage your identity/branding:
Make sure that recipients can easily recognize your from address, subject, and body content. Research at AOL shows that an unrecognizable email is less likely to be opened and more likely to generate complaints. The reverse is true if the recipient recognizes the content.

Include opt-in details:
When possible, remind subscribers about where/when they opted-in. This reduces the amount of complaints.

Include body text:
Some ISPs (AOL9) have images and links turned off by default. Be sure to include enough text so the reader will know whether to view your links or images.

Avoid links that use IP numbers instead of domain names:
AOL filters based on IP numbers in links.

Keep your message size compact:
Use your mailings as teasers to drive traffic to your web site. Long messages, especially those over 25k, may annoy recipients and trigger additional filtering.

Avoid using poor quality third-party sourcing:
The stronger the connection between the opt-in and the email required, the fewer complaints generated and the less damage to your brand's reputation.

Include your physical postal address if sending commercial email:
The CAN-SPAM law requires the sender's postal address for commercial email.

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