Email has become vital to our business models both in terms of grabbing clients and in communicating with other businesses that can improve your reach. Mailing lists have been part of our online communication for decades now, and being flagged as Spam can seriously impact your sales and even reputation. Too many spam complaints can impact sales into the future, and have you placed on blacklists or even fined.
But there are ways to avoid the spam filters, and complaints, increase your traffic and be sure you’re engaging with people who value what you’re offering. To make sure your Emails are getting to clients and customers who are engaged, you can go through the steps below. You can also use various tools to determine the rate of deliverable emails you’re sending out. To increase those numbers check out these steps:
1. Get Explicit Permission
Buying email addresses, or simply adding emails from business cards or other contacts to beef up your mailing list can get you into serious trouble. Not only is it likely to be viewed solicitously, and marked as spam, but it can also compromise future integrity of your business, and even get you fined if you’re not careful. Always add an opt-in form through your website, giving visitors and interested clients the opportunity to engage on their terms, not yours.
2. Be Memorable
Ironically, mailing lists that put out two or three emails in a week do better than those who put out one or two a month. The reason is that your potential readers might be incorrectly marking you as spam because they simply don’t remember you. Use a memorable style and layout in your email, especially with an easily-recognizable logo or name, to remind your mailing list who you are and what you’re offering them. You’re sure to see those numbers pick up.
3. Make Sure Your Mail is Opened
Top mail providers have ways of tracking important emails. If their algorithms suggest a lower rate of engagement with your content, they’re likely to be placed on a low priority, or even in the spam folder. Master your subject lines, and time your release to avoid these pitfalls. Studies suggest that the best times to send email are either late morning (think of that lull after you’ve been in the office for a while. It’s the perfect time to check email!) or late evening, around 8 PM, which, for many people, is that last burst of productivity before bedtime!
4. Make Sure Your IP Address Is Clean
Even if you’ve never sent or been flagged for spam, you could find your emails flagged as spam if any one using your mail server is flagged. This is where a blacklist checker can be most helpful. Stick to a reputable email service that actively ensures quality, for you, and for the recipient. You may need to do some research to find the email server right for you, but most are constantly clearing their own lists, to avoid spam flags for their users.
5. Curate Your List
You may think that anything you can do to raise your numbers makes you look better and more legitimate and trustworthy to clients, and to their email servers. But it’s not that simple. It’s common to leave behind old mailing lists and not update when you’ve got a new inbox. These inactive addresses run the risk of triggering as spam. So keep your mailing list curated by sending out “we haven’t heard from you” emails to any inactive emails, yourself.
6. Avoid Spam Trigger Words
Certain words and phrases automatically signal spam to readers, and spam filters. These can include a whole host of phrases like:
– For only $
– Great offer
– this is not spam
There are online tools available to check your email for spam trigger words before it sends. You can also use the ones provided by your email provider.
7. Upfront and Honest Subject Lines
We’ve already talked about the dangers of an unopened email. But did you know that it’s illegal to lie in a subject line? For example, writing Re: OFFICE MEMO technically constitutes fraud. But click-bait style spam, such as a subject line that reads, “8 Reasons I Don’t Want You To Read This Email” Is likely to get an eye-roll and an unsubscribe. There are many tips and tricks in offering the best possible subject line, but the most important part is that you’re honest, upfront, and make it clear what you have to offer.
8. Provide An Option To Unsubscribe
It sounds counterproductive, I know, but trust me. The easier it is to unsubscribe from your mailing list if you want to, the less likely your emails will sit in someone’s inbox, unopened, while they wait for you to take them off their list. Remember, the point is to increase engagement. No one will stay engaged with your emails if they’re being forced.
9. Include A Physical Address
It is technically against the CAN-SPAM Act to not include a valid physical address for your business on all your emails. It’s a security measure that ensures your readers that there is a real office and a real person behind all communications. If it doesn’t look like a bot or a scam, it’s less likely to go into the spam folder.
10. Put A Recognizable Name Up – And Stick To It
It’s important for branding, but it’s even more important to build a reputation of transparency. Keep your emails personable, with a name attached that doesn’t change. Your “From:” address should also stay consistent. A business that changes its address frequently looks like it’s actively avoiding a previous spam flag.
Email marketing can be incredibly effective, especially if you’ve got an engaging mailing list that offers users and clients timely and up-to-date info on your services and interests. But as servers become more sophisticated, it’s harder than ever to avoid the dreaded spam folder. Being marked as spam can have some serious consequences for your business, reputation, and it can even lead to fines if you’re not careful. Transparency is an important tool for avoiding the spam folder, but there are plenty of others to keep in mind. Consider this list a checklist of the dos and don’ts to avoid the spam folder, and increase engagement with your mailing list!
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