No matter how beautiful or well written your email newsletter is, it can only be effective if people see it in their inbox and open it. Making sure your emails aren’t interpreted as spam by the reader or email client is vital to the health of your email marketing efforts.
If you get marked as spam too much you can get added to spam blacklists and less of your emails will make it to peoples’ inboxes. Being marked as spam is also likely to result in your email marketing service dropping you as a client. It’s never fun to start over.
Below is a list of tips to help keep you out of peoples’ spam folders:
1. Only email people that have opted in to receiving emails from you.
DO NOT buy email lists. You will get much better results from email campaigns sent to people who signed up for your emails, and you won’t tarnish your brand and deliverability by sticking to people who opted in to emails from your company.
2. Include a clear and obvious “unsubscribe” link in your emails, or at least a description of how people can opt out of future emails. *
Make it easy, and don’t frustrate people. Personally, I hate being told to reply to a different email address with “remove” in the subject line, or having to do much work once I click an opt-out link.
3. Don’t email people that have unsubscribed from your mailing list. *
That’s a big no-no.
4. Include your physical address in the footer of your emails.*
This can be a P.O. Box or your street address.
5. Don’t use false or misleading subject lines.*
Let people know what the email is about so they aren’t surprised, and so your loyal customers will know to open it.
6. Don’t make the content of your email read or feel like spam.
Focus on letting recipients know what your company has been up to, rather than emailing a sales pitch. If you do try emailing a sales pitch — which I don’t recommend — be up front and honest about it and how much the product or service costs.
7. Don’t talk about money too much.
Spam filters look for certain phrases and words. Mentioning things like prices, “money back guarantee” or “buy now” or even “free” can help them decide you don’t belong in the inbox.
8. Send regularly: often, but not too often.
If someone signs up for your email list in January and doesn’t get a single email from you until July they may not remember that they signed up, and they may mark you as spam as a result. On the other hand, daily emails quickly become annoying.
It’s great to use an email provider that allows unsubscribers to leave a comment as to why they’re opting out. You can keep an eye on whether people think you’re emailing them too often, if they totally don’t remember why they’re getting your emails, or something else.
9. Don’t hide the text of your email in an image.
This is a bad idea for other reasons too, but because email spam filters can’t read images they may assume that it’s spam.
10. Avoid sending emails manually to your whole list by emailing yourself in the “To” field and everyone else via “BCC”.
This looks spam-y to people and email clients. Sending emails manually like this isn’t fun or very effective, so I would recommend using one of the bulk emailers listed above to up your game.
11. Use a reputable email marketing provider (we have a list here) that follows strict spam guidelines.
Otherwise, your emails could be punished for the bad practices of other clients that use the same company (because your emails are being sent from the same mail server).
* Indicates a CAN-SPAM Act requirement
This article was written by Kristina Weis of AboutUs.
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