Email Spam filters are the modern resolution for fighting spam deliveries. Whether you do email marketing or you're receiving a lot of promotional offers, you will most likely run into spam filter issues.
Although there are several legal acts that you should be aware of first, we're gonna present you with the best online tips to avoid spam filters when getting ready to send your very own email campaigns. Some of them are a bit more obvious and are already well known within the email marketing community, while some others are much more sensitive and can send even the best designed and developed email templates in the Spam folders. Please note that every use-case might be much different, so we always recommend hiring an email marketing agency if your marketing budget allows it.
1. Don't use purchased, rented or scraped lists
We're starting with the most obvious one of all. Purchased or scraped lists are still a huge part (unfortunately) of some email campaigns. Sending emails to someone that didn't even hear once about your business might have a very negative impact on your email marketing efforts (long-lasting ones too). This one is really straightforward. DON'T use scraped lists or purchased ones. You will most likely turn up having big bounce rates and a lot of bounced contacts. This will lead to a lot of blacklists and perhaps even legal ramifications, should a contact decide that your mail crossed his privacy limit. Grow your lists organically and refresh them once in a while to avoid spam filters which can affect the performance of the whole list.
2. Build your mailing lists wisely
Make sure you have express consent from users before you start emailing them. Use opt-in forms with confirmation emails to let them know what they're subscribing for. Even if they're your friends and family, you'd better get consent in order to avoid spam filters. List segmentation should be a top priority. This will not only help in a big way but will also get your costs further down, and increase ROI.
3. Set expectations when people join your list.
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. Tell people what you’ll be sending and how often. If you want to send out different content (monthly newsletters, weekly special offers, blog content, etc), consider setting up groups (segments) in your list so subscribers can choose what content they want to receive from you. It's much more valuable to keep a client on your list and only send them an email per month than have him bounce after the first 3 weeks.
4. Don’t wait too long before contacting your subscribers.
If users don't hear from you, they might forget or lose interest in what you're offering. Consider using automation to set up a few email campaigns. Send an email right after subscribing, and weekly or monthly updates in order to keep your subscribers alert. If you're worried they might have lost interest, consider using a re-confirmation form.
5. Treat your email campaigns as an extension of your website, store, or brand.
Your subscribers already know what your business is about and what type of content to expect. If you're not certain about it, consider A/B testing. Otherwise, use your campaigns as a continuous story to your business. Make sure to subscribe to the CodeCrew newsletter in order to see an example of what this should look like if you'd like.
6. Campaign metadata
Spam filters want to know that you’re acquainted with the person receiving the email. We recommend using merge tags to personalize the "To:" field of your campaign, sending through verified domains, and asking recipients to add you to their address book.
7. Your IP address:
Make sure nobody used your IP to send spam emails before. Use verified domains and ESP's that won't harm your campaigns. This is something you need to take care of quite a bit. Once a domain or IP address is blacklisted, there's no turning back.
8. Avoid spammy content
Now we're getting to the more sensitive part of email campaigns, and something that unfortunately gets overlooked by decent marketers who are not trying to spam anybody...but actually end up getting their emails directly marked as spam. A big part of the spam filtering process is reading through the content, making sure that it makes sense. Words like"Promotion", "Special Offer","BUY NOW" are flags for the filters, and should be used with great care. Creating an email filled with calls to action will most definitely get you started on the wrong track. Try engaging users with reader-friendly content so they'd navigate to your website and make the purchase there.
9. Coding in your campaign:
Spam filters can be triggered by sloppy code, extra tags, or code pulled in from Microsoft Word. We recommend using one of our templates or working with a designer to build new ones.
10. Place an unsubscribe link in your emails
Most of the ESP's require that you place an unsubscribe link in your emails. Make it visible so the users can use it instead of marking your email directly as spam. This is a very important step because too many users marking an email as spam is a huge flag and will get you in trouble really quickly. This one is strongly related to why you should never use a purchased list.
We've outlined some best practices you can use to avoid spam filters, however email campaign results depend on many other factors, such as open and click-through rates. Sending email campaigns which turn over poor results time after time will also affect your spam rating.
Have some more questions or tips on this topic? Consider leaving a comment using the form below and we'll be more than happy to help.