Every email you send to your subscribers is an opportunity to connect with them, stay top-of-mind, and increase your conversions, but only when your messages land in their inbox and not in their SPAM (Junk) folder.
What Is Spam?
Spam is irrelevant, unsolicited messages sent over the Internet, typically to large numbers of users, for advertising, phishing, spreading malware.
About only 79% of permission-based emails sent by legitimate email marketers reach the inbox.
So what happens to the rest of them? They end up in the recipient’s Spam or Junk folder instead of their Inbox.
Top Reasons Why An Email Reaches The Recipient’s Spam Folder?
- The Junk Mail filter has identified one or more keywords that spammers repeatedly use in their messages
- The recipient has flagged the sender as someone that sends spam
- The recipient’s ISP has filtered the mail as spam or junk mail based on the content or the senders IP address
- You are sending certain attachments or only pictures with your message that are not needed
- You have included HTML code in your email
- The email was addressed to a large group of people (either in the ‘TO’ or using ‘CC’)
- The recipient has set up ‘rules’ in their mail program that are too generic and therefore tagging your mail as spam.
Awesome Tips to Keep Email Out of the Spam Folder
In reality, unless the recipient checks their Spam folder they will never know that you responded to their inquiry.
So here are the top simple and awesome tips you need to follow to make sure spam emails doesn’t let you lose your valuable customers:
Focus every bit of your content
Write a valid subject line
The most important part of any email message is the subject line. Your subject line should be as specific as possible. Subject lines that include random characters, starts with “Re:” or “Fwd:” or contains any deceptive claims will damage your sender reputation and send your mail to the spam folder. Also, don’t use CAPITALS.
Watch what you say
- DON’T SHOUT IN ALL CAPS IN YOUR SUBJECT LINE / IN YOUR EMAIL CONTENT!
- D o n t p u t g a p s b e t w e e n l e t t e r s a n y w h e r e!
- One exclamation marks works fine, don’t go crazy like !!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!
- Stay away from gimmicky words and phrases: Buy Now, Click Here, Free, Double Your X, Money Making, Get Paid, Make Cash, Satisfaction Guaranteed, Low Price, Save Big, etc.
- Using black type is easy to read, looks professional and clean.
- Avoid too much-colored fonts. They’ll only excite spam filters.
- Keep the number of links minimized and don’t use URL shorteners.
Avoid certain attachment types
In general, .jpg, .gif, .png and .pdf attachments are safe to send, provided you include some content in the email as well. However, executable attachments such as .exe, .zip, .swf, etc. should be avoided entirely.
If the attachment contains sensitive data, you may consider using your company’s secure FTP server.
Balance the image-to-text ratio
Keep images minimal. Having more space in the body of an email taken up by images than by text raises lots of red flags. Aim for a high text to image area ratio. Some tips while using the image :
- Do not send any image-only emails
- For every graphic, include at least two lines of text
- Optimize your images the best you can
- Use well-formed HTML for email
Provide a clear unsubscribe link
As a marketer, if your focus is to put up sign-up forms on prominent places where they’re easy to find, the same should apply to the Unsubscribe option.
Nobody likes it when somebody unsubscribes from their email list. However, providing a clear way to unsubscribe means that users are less likely to get frustrated and just mark you as spam.
Follow rules & technical aspects
Be aware of the CAN-SPAM Act
The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.
If you are sending “any electronic mail message, the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” then you must comply with the following 7 main requirements or face penalties up to $16,000 :
- Don’t use false or misleading header information
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines
- Identify the message as an ad
- Tell recipients where you’re located (simply add your physical address in your email)
- Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future email from you
- Honor opt-out requests promptly
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf
Use correct ‘FROM’ address
Mailbox providers evaluate more than just the sender’s IP, domain and content. Yahoo! Mail, in particular, pays close attention to your From field addresses.
- Avoid frequent changes of From field names
- Make sure your From address matches your brand.
- Avoid obscure From field names, such as: “firstname.lastname@example.org”, “email@example.com”
- Use clear, trustworthy From field names, such as: “firstname.lastname@example.org”, “email@example.com”, “firstname.lastname@example.org”, email@example.com”.
Setup DKIM & SPF on your email server
DomainKeys Identified Mail(DKIM) means an authentication mechanism to help protect both email receivers and email senders from forged and phishing emails.
Sender Policy Framework(SPM) is a simple email-validation system designed to detect email spoofing by providing a mechanism to allow receiving mail exchangers to check that incoming mail from a domain comes from a host authorized by that domain’s administrators.
You will want to make sure your email server supports these protocols (DKIM & SPF) and that they are properly implemented. Contact your Host Provider & tell them to set it up for you.
Use clean code
Spam filters check for bad HTML code so make sure any code you’re using is clean. Any sloppy HTML code or extra tags will likely cause a problem.
For example, copy and pasting HTML from a program like Word can cause format issues and trigger spam filters, and hence we don’t recommend it. Use a professional coding tool or a template provided by your email sending partner.
Tip: How to Code HTML Email Newsletters
Send a plain text version if you are sending HTML emails
An email that consists of all HTML or all images and links will trip a spam alarm. Spam filters like to see a plain text alternative. This a good practice for avoiding a spam filter as it also covers in the case where the recipient cannot view HTML emails.
Have a genuine email list
Ask people to whitelist you
The first step is to check if your email server is on a blacklist. If it is, it becomes extremely difficult to reliably send email, especially to new people on your lists. Following are a few free services to check:
The second step is to ask your subscribers to add your email address to their contacts/address list. It is a foolproof way to save all your future emails from the constraints of the spam filters.
Clean your email list before sending
According to MarketingSherpa, the average email list depreciates by 25% every year. Cleaning your list regularly, say every three months, is a good way to drop non-responsive subscribers (including old & invalid email addresses) from your list.
It can result in a high number of bounces which will ultimately trigger a lot of spam complaints against you and destroy your send credibility. Following are a few services that you can use to clean your list:
Break large lists down
If you’re sending to a large list, even if you have a fast and efficient email sending server, have the server “drip” the messages out slowly. Breaking down the email list will mean that the spam complaints that you receive when you send your email won’t be in one huge mass.
Inevitably, even loyal subscribers sometimes mark you as spam. If you send your large list in smaller segments, the email provider will see less spam complaints bundled together at one time.
Test your email with the recipient list
When you send an email or newsletter to a list, send a test message using the same server and information that you’ll use with your main list to each of the big email providers (Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, Gmail, AOL and one generic office address that is viewed in an Outlook client).
If the test ends up with most of your emails going to junk folder, then it means you’ll end up in the junk box on your main send also. The pre-send test means that you can try different subject lines and email content to try to figure out what sent you to spam.
Stay in touch
Monitor your email and choose how often you send with care. Sending an email to the same addresses everyday might be too often, but sending mail only once every three months might not be enough because your recipients can forget about you. Determine a consistent sending schedule that will keep your subscribers engaged.
Ready For More Conversions?
By following the above guidelines, you can send emails efficiently with a lower risk of it ending in the SPAM folder contributing yourself to an increase in conversions and sales.
Do you find this post useful? Have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comment section below.