Once you’ve spent time creating valuable content to send to your email subscribers, the last thing you want to see is that those emails landing right in their spam folders. Unfortunately, about one out of every five emails sent by businesses end up in their recipient’s spam boxes. It’s obvious that you want to work to avoid spam filters when sending out email engagements, but how can you do that?
Take Charge of Your Email List
One of the first guidelines of email marketing is to build your own email list. Never buy email addresses from third-party companies trying to make a buck off of customer information. The quickest way to get marked as spam by a recipient is to email someone who doesn’t know who you are. The truth is, your content likely isn’t applicable to them anyway, so focus on the customers who actually gave you their email address.
Taking charge of your email list means contacting people who actually want to be contacted by you. Using a robot to collect emails (email harvesting) puts you directly in the spam trap and should be avoided completely. Building your email list organically takes time, just like all good things. The effort you put into gathering information from your customers will be what makes your business shine through email marketing.
Regularly Clean up Your List
Some people will simply ignore, or automatically delete, your emails without any sort of engagement instead of unsubscribing from your list. This is harmful to your reputation as far as ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are concerned. You should be paying close attention to those subscribers who are skipping over your emails, and take action. Your action could be in the form of a re-engagement campaign, or removing them from your list on your own. Whatever you choose to do, be mindful of those dormant subscribers in order to avoid your emails being marked as spam for everyone else.
Require Double Opt-In
A sure-fire way to ensure your subscribers want to hear from you is to require them to opt-in to your email list twice. We’ve all added ourselves to a business’ contact list and then been asked to verify our email address. This is very little hassle for a very big reward. When people are willing to opt-in as an email subscriber more than once, they want to hear from you. The next step here is to be sure to send them content that makes them feel the process was worth it for them. Speaking of making your content interesting for your subscribers…..
Send Worthwhile Content
Write content that is relevant to your industry and beneficial to your customers. If you own an HVAC business, sending out seasonal reminders, maintenance tips for HVAC systems and current specials will keep your subscribers interested and wanting to engage. Sending content that has nothing to do with what they signed up for will get you a definite unsubscribe which will hurt your email marketing reputation.
I recently signed up as a subscriber at a local clothing store where I frequently shop. They reeled me in by saying they send out frequent coupon codes and special deals, so I couldn’t say no! The first email I received from them was all about an MLM product the owner was trying to sell (that had nothing to do with clothing or the store itself), and I quickly got myself off of their email list. This is a perfect example of what not to do.
Avoid Misleading or Triggering Subject Lines
If your subject line says that you’re giving out free products with no strings attached, the body text of your email needs to emphasize that same point. Often times, marketers try to get subscribers to become interested in something too good to be true, then the body of the email tells the rest of the story. This practice should be avoided, as it’s viewed as spam and will have negative repercussions. Your subject lines should be catchy, but true.
There are many words that are considered ‘trigger’ words for spam filters. Some common trigger words/phrases include:
- check or money order
- dear friend
- for only ($)
- free or toll-free
- great offer
Email marketing is always changing, and so are best practices. It’s important that whoever is in charge of your business’ marketing is up-to-date on the most current best practices and is closely monitoring what they’re doing that works and what they’re doing that needs to be changed. Focusing on sending valuable content to people who want it is your first step. The research that goes into ensuring you’re following all the rules is equally important.
The truth is, email marketers are fighting to stay out of the spam boxes, while email providers are working hard to crack down on spam. Unfortunately, even legitimate emails sometimes end up in spam folders, but following these steps will greatly increase your chances of staying relevant and actually reaching your subscribers with your messages.
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!