This topic was one that presented itself at our pop up seminar in September. Email marketing is something that involves many guidelines and laws which you must follow to avoid being reported and damaging your business’s reputation. Spam filters can be a problem for those sending emails to clients but by understanding how they work; you can avoid ending up in the junk folder.
There’s no guaranteed way to avoid the spam filters but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of going straight to junk mail. Spam filters consider a range of criteria to determine whether an email will pass and each one works slightly differently.
Things that spam filters may pick up on:
- IP address
If spam has been sent using your IP address before, this may be flagged by the spam filter.
- Sloppy coding
Some spam filters can be triggered by sloppy code, extra tags, or code pulled in from Microsoft Word. This can be avoided by working with a designer or using template for your email campaign.
- Campaign metadata
Spam filters want to know whether you actually know the email recipient. Use merge tags to personalize the To: field of your campaign, send through verified domains, and ask your recipients to add you to their address book.
- Content and formatting
Some spam filters will flag emails based on specific content or images they contain hwoever it isn’t always clear what will and what won’t trigger the spam filter.
Send test emails to yourself and others within your company to test whether they are going straight into the junk mailbox and how changes in your content affects delivery.
If you send commercial emails, you should familiarize yourself with the requirements of CAN-SPAM. A few key points of the law include:
- ALWAYS provide an unsubscribe link which must work for at least 30 days after sending.
- You must include your physical mailing address
- Never use deceptive headers, subject lines or reply-to addresses.
Our good practice tips for email marketing
- Transparency is key
Make sure that your subscribers know exactly what they are getting when they provide their email address. If your subscribers think they’re signing up for monthly newsletters and you start sending them weekly promotions, they might not be subscribers for much longer. Be clear to them what you will be sending and how often, that way they will be less likely to unsubscribe.
- Don’t purchase lists
Not only are they unethical, they are also notorious for including bad addresses which leads to a high bounce rate and potentially blacklisting. If you are sending emails to recipients who have not provided consent, then it will damage your business’s reputation.
- Don’t wait too long
If you don’t use your mailing list regularly then it will go stale, leading to a higher bounce rate and spam complaints. Consider setting up a welcome email for new subscribers and ensure that you create regular campaigns.
- Don’t assume permission
Whether they are an existing customer or not, do not send them any type of promotional email without their permission, ideally permission that has a record. Add a sign-up sheet to your website and offer incentives such as discounts, downloads or deals.
For more advice on the data protection act and email marketing practices, check out our blog
Tips for getting your emails opened
- Make sure that your subject line is clear and effective, it’s far more likely that your email will be opened by recipients.
- Include your company name somewhere in the text.
- Not everyone will be able to view your images, make sure that the text makes sense without them.
- Include your logo in the top left or centre of your email.
- Make sure that your emails are mobile friendly.
- Test the final email on yourself to check that the links and formatting work.
Try using email marketing software to create emails and newsletters which look professional and will help you to follow commercial marketing laws. At Online Toolbox, we use MailChimp but there are lots of different software available to suit different budgets and needs.