Nobody Likes Spam. Unless, of Course, It's Fried.
Submitted by Evolve on Wed, 04/18/2012 - 07:57
Contrary to popular belief, developing successful direct to consumer email marketing is a relatively simple and inexpensive way for small companies, large organizations, and non-profits alike to reach a larger audience faster than they ever could have before by using traditional forms of media.
But even the most well designed and targeted email campaigns will prove ineffective if they are not making it to targets inboxes. When your emails are flagged as spam, it is often a double-edged sword, because not only do you not know that your email was never received, but your intended recipients have no way of knowing that an email was sent. Spam-filters use complicated algorithms to take multiple factors into account when determining whether or not an email gets flagged as spam; anything from the percentage of text, use of images, length, and number of recipients can affect whether or not your email will make it through. Spam filters aren’t perfect, but thankfully, there are a few simple steps that you can take in order to improve the deliverability of your emails.
• Establish a positive relationship. One of the biggest determinants of whether or not an email is flagged as spam is the sender’s history. When users provide “feedback” and identify the message as spam to their respective email client, a case history is being built, and their emails are more likely to be blocked by those email clients in the future. This can be avoided by only targeting people who have signed-up to receive your emails and make it easy for them to opt-out (besides being important for email deliverability, it’s the law!).• Avoid attaching large files to your emails. It is always better to include any information you wish for your recipients to see in the body of your email message, because, even if your attachment makes it to your intended recipient, the likelihood that they will open it is low. There are many creative and visually appealing ways that you can create emails that effectively deliver your content in the body of your email. Marketing professionals, like the Evolve team, can create templates that are in keeping with your brand and/or campaign that can accommodate nearly any information you wish to deliver.•Make your emails personal. If the “reply-to” field is left blank, your spam score will go up. On the same note, it is always better, when possible, to provide your recipient a person to contact rather than a general email account, e.g. john.smith@yourdomain is better than admin@yourdomain.
• Stay away from clichés. Trigger words, such as “Free”, “Save”, and “Click Here” all raise flags for spam blockers. Additionally, all caps and superfluous explanation points are not only unnecessary, but increase your chances of being blocked as spam as well.
• Create a pattern. Send newsletters and updates at the same day and time each week/month so that recipients come to expect and anticipate your emails. If recipients come to expect to see your emails in their inboxes, they are much less likely to mistake it for spam.
• Take advantage of the space you are given. The majority of emails received today never make it out of the recipients preview pane, so design your message to take advantage of this space. Make sure all of your key information (your logo, headline, offer, etc.) are viewable even if the recipient never actually opens your email.
• Use a professional email delivery service. Mail clients tend to flag emails as spam when multiple recipients are targeted using the “CC” attribute. Professional email delivery services all but eliminates this issue.
• Keep it current. Always be sure that the correct date is used in the body of your message. If the date is incorrect, it is a flag for spam filters.
• Size matters. Messages should not be too large, a maximum size of 20–40KB. Additionally, if your message is in html, send a plain text version as well.
• Pictures aren’t everything. Eliminate unnecessary images. Some mail clients automatically block emails containing images, others give them a higher spam rating. If an image is unnecessary, don’t include it.•Just say please. Ask your recipients to add you to their whitelist to further improve the likelihood of making it through the spam filters.
• Keep spammers out. Frequently monitor your subscribers and remove invalid or suspicious emails. This will not only lower your undeliverable rates but also help avoid your emails being filtered out from content filters.
• Finally, always test your emails before you distribute them. There are several free online services that will provide you a “spam score” so that you can increase the likelihood of deliverability. You should test your emails in several different email programs before sending, what looks good in Outlook may not translate well when opened with Gmail or Hotmail. Keep in mind that, because the factors that are used to determine whether or not your email is spam are always changing, what worked last time may not work with your current blast. It is imperative that you be proactive and take measures to prevent your emails from becoming spam before they go out, rather than simply trying to react when you realize you are not receiving the response you anticipated. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call in a professional, we work with these types of issues all of the time and are happy to help!