Tired of email overload, recipients are increasingly not just deleting emails that don’t look relevant, but are reporting them as spam. Even after gaining permission from a recipient to send emails, some marketers are still crossing the line with what they send.
Be smart. Use your email to make a connection…not get a disconnect.
If you’re not sure you’re clear on what the rules are, let’s talk a little bit about how spam filters work. Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as well as corporations and individuals, use filters to reduce spam messages in their inboxes. Messages flagged as spam either don’t get delivered, or they’re sent to the recipient’s junk folder…where they sit until they’re automatically deleted…or until the recipient goes through them and deletes or reads.
To determine whether a message will be considered spam, it is filtered through a program, often by one called SpamAssassin. Spam filters look at long lists of criteria to decide if the message is junk. Each email message gets reviewed…and filtered…based on its “spam score.” If your email exceeds a certain threshold, it’s probably going to end up in the junk folder. Unfortunately, different servers have different thresholds, so an email that gets through the filters on one server may not get through on the next.
If you’re an email marketer, you can expect 10 to 20% of your emails to end up in cyberspace, rather than being delivered, even if you’re sending permission-based emails.
So…what can you do to keep from being kicked out?
- Keep the content and presentation of the your email message consistent with what the recipient signed up to receive. In other words, don’t send an email advertising a boat to someone who subscribed to receive emails about pet care.
- Make sure the subject line accurately reflects the purpose and content of the message. Avoid using FW (Forward) and RE (Regarding) in the subject line.
- Balance the use of plain text and images. Some providers have a built in feature that hides all images by default when the recipient opens the email. Make sure the CAN-SPAM compliance features like the opt-out request and your business address are visible to the recipient even if they don’t elect to “unhide” the images.
- Make your company’s name or brand is prominent in the From or the Subject line. Make sure it’s consistent with the brand or company name the recipient signed up for.
- Pretest your graphics and content with anti-spam software to avoid inadvertently using words, phrases, punctuation or design that a spam filter might add to your spam count.
- Use a reputable and well established email marketing company to pre-screen and deliver your emails. Look at their entire product…scanning, testing, delivery statistics and bounceback management. In addition to your own pre-screening, their filters can help to significantly increase the deliverability of your email.
Stay on the TEAM. Don’t get kicked out for spamming.