There are few things more frustrating than sending out a beautiful email with your best call-to-action messaging and experiencing an abysmal return. There could be many reasons for this result but if you can rule out the usual explanations such as terrible design, bad content, and bounced emails, the most common reason is that your email arrived in too many spam folders. This is a more difficult problem to address because the sky is not the limit on possible solutions. There are very specific rules that you must follow when sending out sales-oriented emails. But there are certain things you can do.
First, let’s review the rules.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was written for “businesses operating or marketing to people in the United States and sending an electronic mail message, the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” When sending emails like the above, businesses must adhere to the following rules:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines
- Always identify the message as an ad
- Always identify where the company is located
- Always tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future emails
- Always honor opt-out requests promptly
- Always monitor what others such as third party email senders are doing on behalf of the company
It is critical that you always follow these guidelines when sending any promotional emails. Keeping these rules in mind, let’s address 5 tips and tricks that you can use to avoid the dreaded spam folder while still staying out of trouble.
Find a reliable email marketing service provider
Email marketing services like Constant Contact or MailChimp offer varying degrees of price, features, and analytics. Companies can pick and choose the level of service they can afford. It’s important to know that many email service providers send customer emails through their own servers or host sites. However, not all email service providers are considered trustworthy because they do not have high scores on their IP addresses. If their IP address is blacklisted or deemed untrustworthy, your email may be blocked by reputable email platforms such as Gmail. Make sure to ask the question about IP address trustworthiness and security before signing a contract.
Practice permission email marketing
Don’t ever send sales emails without getting the customer’s or prospect’s permission. Never assume you have permission just because a prospect filled out a form or liked a social media post. For best results, use a double opt-in method. This method adds an additional step to the opt-in process, requiring a customer to verify their email address and confirm interest in a two-step process. This identifies a higher level of interest and protects your email from hitting the spam folder.
Also, never purchase, rent, or scrape an email content list. This practice is very dangerous because the people on this list never gave you permission to promote your event to them and by doing so, you may hurt your brand and cause legal issues for your company. It’s a lose-lose practice.
When sending an email, include a clear and easy unsubscribe option. Do not make it difficult for prospects to change their mind.
Write a memorable yet spam-free subject line
Spam filters will catch any subject line that is outwardly promotional or seems deceptive. That doesn’t mean that you can’t write a catchy subject line, but try to avoid being too sales-y or over the top. Potential spam filter trigger phrases include:
- Act Now
- 100% Free
- Click Here
- While Supplies Last
Also, here are some other actions to avoid when writing subject lines: Don’t use RE: or FWD: in subject lines. This is considered deceptive.
- Don’t use all caps
- Don’t make deliberate spelling mistakes
- Don’t use one-word subject lines
- Don’t use exclamation points in your subject line
Send the email from someone the recipient knows
A customer is more likely to open an email from a company or person they know. Make sure the name, title or email address in your FROM: line is recognizable. It could be as simple as “CoachellaPlanner@Coachella.com. Also, don’t blindly copy a huge list of email recipients. Make sure your prospect’s name is in the TO: field so they know the email is really for them.
Send good content
It’s important to send a text version of your email along with an HTML version. Not only will this help you avoid the spam folder, but it’s also good customer service for those prospects who can’t view HTML emails.
Also, make sure to maintain a good text to image ratio. In general, 80 percent text and 20 percent images per email is best. Also, avoid attachments when you can. It’s better to send an email with hyperlinks to your website for any files you need recipients to download or view.
In the end, no matter what we do, we can’t guarantee complete avoidance of the dreaded spam folder. Spam filters are constantly evolving and updating. But the tips we’ve discussed in this blog are good best practices not only to increase email engagement but to help you build positive and strong customer relationships.
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