We have all been in the position of receiving unwanted email. Our reaction to it may vary: from outright rage at a company’s sheer audacity in sending unsolicited messages, to a vague annoyance at having to spend those few precious seconds unsubscribing or moving that message to the trash.
However negative your experience as a recipient may be, do not let that discourage you from sending email marketing campaigns to your prospects. They remain one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal to generate leads and precipitate sales; not only are campaigns sent at low cost, but they are a great way to achieve fast results and boost interest in your product or service.
Any digital marketer must bare in mind that a few best practices will maximise your results and help you get through to those customers that truly want to hear from you.
Don’t get filtered out
Avoiding the spam filter is the first hurdle to overcome. Email Service Providers (ESPs) have increasingly clever filters or algorithms that read each email before it enters your inbox. These days they even share information across ESPs to establish the most accurate filter possible. The key is to stay up to date with the ever-changing characteristics that the spam filters are looking for and avoid the inclusion of any flagged phrases or signs which might deny a potential recipient (that is, a potential purchaser) from ever seeing your email in their inbox. Avoid using phrases such as “Click Here” or “Free” and certainly don’t begin your email with the word “Dear”.
Use reputable bulk email marketing software
Before you start, ensure you have email marketing software that provides access to the email campaign analytics to check whether your current email marketing strategy is getting through. Losing between 10–20% of each campaign’s emails to the spam filter is to be expected. Anything higher should prompt you to re-evaluate some elements in your message. Also check the bounce rate and open rate of the campaign: are those higher or lower than usual? If there is a dramatic change from the norm, then your email may have been labelled as spam.
If you outsource your email marketing to an agency or ESP—and we recommend that you do—they can also be of assistance. It is in their best interest that the majority of messages sent in your campaign are received, and opened. For that reason, they should have been accepted into a feedback loop with major email providers (like AOL, Hotmail, etc.), to receive notification whether emails sent from their servers are being filtered as spam. This inside information is key for email marketers, and should encourage messages written in the least spammy way possible.
Non-spammy email composition
When initially writing your email, a few basic elements that ring spam filters’ alarm bells include: * the overuse of exclamation marks; * the overuse of uppercase; * the use of green or red font colours; * the use of telltale phrases, such as “click here” or “once in a lifetime opportunity”; * the use of a large image, with a small amount of text—spam filters cannot read images and so assume that you are trying to trick them.
The spam filter will also scrutinise your email’s HTML. Always avoid writing an email in a word processor like Microsoft Word and exporting it to HTML. While it may appear to retain all the links and formatting you desire, the behind-the-scenes markup is often sloppy and will likely cause the filter to flag your message as spam. In fact, you will probably save more time and money effectively avoiding spam filters if you invest in learning either basic HTML or Markdown. Failing that, at least ask a designer to look over your email’s code.
The suit that fits best is tailored
Ultimately, there is a right and a wrong way to undergo email marketing. Spam filters exist to protect users from those who go about email marketing in the wrong way; who send unsolicited email campaigns indiscriminately. Hopefully these tips will help your next marketing email avoid being labelled among these. If you need help with your emails then speak to a Digital Marketing Agency London
Steve Pailthorpe, Follow us on Google+