Six Ways to Stay Out of the Spam Folder
Avoid the spam filter with these tips.
How do you keep your emails out of the spam folder? Being designated “spam” is the scarlet letter of marketing. Once it happens, it is nearly impossible to get those dreaded four letters off of your company's name. Fortunately, it is easy to avoid, if you know your dos and don'ts.
3 Don'ts to Avoid Like the Plague
Don't Buy Lists
Buying email lists, instead of growing them organically, is a quick way to have your marketing emails shoved in the spam folder. The lists themselves are full of "spam traps," that is, emails added to the list specifically to find and block spammers, and dead email addresses that also draw the attention of spam filters. Beyond that, the person seeing your message out of nowhere is likely to click “Spam.” Get enough spam designations, and that is the end of your email success story.
Don't Be Sloppy
Another factor is most spam filters take the “If it walks like a duck” approach. Among the points that can mark you as spam are:
- Emails that are all images, or more image than text
- “Hash-busting” subject lines like “fre3 pr0d.uct”
- Bad links that either dead-end or use link shorteners
- ALL CAPS
- Misleading subject heads like “Re:” or “Fwd”
- Sloppy HTML code
The rule of thumb is simple. If an email looks or feels unprofessional or unappealing in any way, do not send it.
Even with a professional presentation, you have to be careful with your copy. Spam filters look for words that seem aggressive and pushy sales language. Words like “buy,” “free,” and “promo” are all going to draw, if not outright censure, then at least an eyebrow raised in suspicion. Write copy as if you are talking to a friend, not selling to a customer, and you will likely avoid the dreaded spam folder.
Do not join the wall of spam!
3 Dos to Implement Today
Do Stick To One Or Two Email Addresses
Consistency is important when it comes to the email addresses from which you send marketing messages. This not only makes those messages easier for your users (and you) to track, it means that over time your email address can accumulate a positive “reputation” with spam filters. Make sure the email is clear and trustworthy. Even firstname.lastname@example.org is seen as a bit less reliable than email@example.com.
Do Get Whitelisted
A little-known factor in email marketing is that you can get whitelisted. Your email marketing service can simply ask major email sites like Gmail and Yahoo to give you a pass, and, if you meet certain criteria, they will happily exempt your email address and IP from the spam filter. Ask for whitelisting; it will solve a lot of problems. You can also be independently certified by a number of companies, such as Return Path, that can bolster your reputation.
Do Stick To A Regular Schedule
With marketing emails, a schedule is a good thing, for a number of reasons. At root, though, you want the people you are contacting to recognize your email address, not mistake you for a cold call. It is also wise to begin your emails with a reminder to users of why they are receiving it, whether they bought a product, signed up for a newsletter, or asked to be reminded when your weekly blog updated. That way, if they have not opened a message in a while, they will know it is not just a random marketing message.
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