The map at right shows, in real time, our progress in letting twelve thousand people learn that they have an opportunity to attend four free-of-charge webinars about PCT forms. As you can see, some 1600 emails have been sent (light green shading) to people in Asia and Africa and eastern and central Europe. Just now, emails are being sent (dark green shading) to people in west Africa and parts of Greenland. Some 11000 emails are waiting to be sent to people in North and South America. Why did these emails not get sent all at once?
The idea with this email campaign is that each recipient will receive their email message at 10:30 AM in their local time. Right now in west Africa it is just now 10:30 AM and so they are receiving their emails right now. But it is not yet 10:30 AM for people in North and South America and so their emails have not yet been sent.
When you have a goal of sending twelve thousand nearly identical commercial emails, there is no choice but to send the emails through a commercial email sending service. If you try to send such emails yourself, you will find yourself constantly having to deal with the risk of having the IP address of your own email server placed on a real-time blackhole list. Not only that, but you will also find yourself on the receiving end of recurring scolding from your internet service provider.
Which commercial email sending service should you select? There are companies that advertise heavily and their service fees are high, I guess because the heavy advertising must be paid for somehow. These include Mailchimp and Constant Contact. Some of these providers have “teaser” trial periods and “teaser” small introductory levels of traffic. With some of these providers, by the time you work your way up to the level of traffic that you actually need, and by the time you get past the inexpensive trial period, you find that the service is quite expensive. Some providers charge a separate fee for each campaign that you send. We use MailerLite which we find to be reasonably priced even after the teaser trial period and even after we get up to our regular traffic levels. With this service provider, a fixed monthly fee covers as many campaigns as we might wish to send during that month.
Some email sending service providers provide a range of clever services, including the time-of-day delivery service that prompted me to write this blog article. And that is what’s going on here. When we created this particular email campaign, we clicked to select a time of day (in the recipient’s own local time zone) for the email to get sent.
It is one thing to talk about the price charged by a commercial email sending service, and it is quite another thing to talk about the intangible and subjective aspects of such a service. What you are doing when you engage such a service is, you are counting on that company to somehow keep its servers off of the real-time blackhole lists, while at the same time send high volumes of the very kinds of emails that could get its servers onto the real-time blackhole lists. You are paying them maybe $50 per month to do the difficult work of sending your many email campaigns during that month, and you are counting on them to somehow screen out and avoid taking on other potential customers who are spammers.
One of the important things that you need to do, if you hire the services of a commercial email sending service, is to set up DKIM (Wikipedia article) and SPF (Wikipedia article) credentials with the sending service. These credentials permit the sending service to send out emails that purport to be from you (using your domain such as “oppedahl.com”). On the one hand, this means you are improving the chances that your outbound emails that are sent by your sending service will actually get delivered and won’t get bounced as spam. On the other hand, this means that if you were to make the mistake of choosing your email sending service provider unwisely, you could end up tainting your own email sending reputation because of the actions of other customers of that email sending service.
One of the points that I am making here is that it would be a big mistake to select a commercial email sending service solely on price.
We track closely (or more accurately put, our email sending service provider tracks closely) the percentage of email recipients who report our outbound emails as “spam”. Over the past year the spam complaints have amounted to less than 0.02%. This is, I expect, in part because we never purchase mailing lists from third parties. I guess nearly all of our email recipients actually sort of like receiving our emails, or at least do not object strongly to our emails.
Which brings us back to the opening question. Why are the emails not being sent all at once? And the answer is, we want each email to arrive when the recipient might be sitting at his or her desk, ready to read the email message. Yes, the recipient may be delighted to learn of the opportunity to attend four free-of-charge webinars about Patent Cooperation Treaty forms. But even if the recipient does not plan to attend the webinars, the recipient might have friends and colleagues who would be delighted to learn of the opportunity to attend four free-of-charge webinars about Patent Cooperation Treaty forms. So maybe the recipient will forward the email to those friends and acquaintances.
As of right now, we have received many hundreds of signups for the free-of-charge webinars about PCT forms, many of which are from people in Asia and Africa and eastern and central Europe. In the next few hours, I imagine we will receive many more signups from people in North and South America.