Spam is a real problem for email marketers. However, if you know what not to do and make sure that your email messages are sent through a reputable service provider, then you can avoid being tagged as “spam.” Email marketing best practices include making sure your emails reach the inboxes of your subscribers and customers, rather than their spam folders. Avoiding spam is one of the biggest problems that email marketers face. If you’re new to email marketing, learning how to avoid spam will help you take advantage of this cost-effective marketing tool. Here are 10 best practices to help you avoid the dreaded “You’re Spamming” message in Gmail and other webmailers.
Online marketing is a complicated and nuanced discipline. If you want to avoid being labeled as spam, here are a few email marketing best practices that will help you avoid spam traps and improve your deliverability rate. Have you ever wondered why some emails go to spam and others don’t? It’s not just because the sender is a spammer or unskilled marketer. The truth is: There are certain templates and keywords that increase your chance of having your email flagged as spam.
Email is a fantastic tool for helping your business gain new customers and grow its revenue. With the right email platform, you can easily create mass emails that are sent to your best prospects and customers at just the right time. The problem is, when you get email marketing wrong, people could start marking your emails as spam—and this can hurt your domain reputation. If you’re worried about getting on an ISP’s bad side, here are 10 tips to keep in mind:
Domain reputation is your domain’s reputation with email service providers, and it’s measured by third-party services. If a spammer uses your domain to send out spam, their reputation will be affected. When you send legitimate emails, however, your own reputation can be enhanced.
Domain reputations are based on two factors:
- The number of messages sent from a particular domain (in this context called “hash rate”)
- The ratio of valid vs. invalid emails delivered from the same domain
Send emails at optimal time.
You should send your emails at a time when your subscribers are most likely to open them. This means sending emails during the workday and not weekends or holidays, especially if your audience is mostly made up of business professionals. You also want to avoid sending emails when people are commuting or busy with other tasks, which can make them less likely to open an email message.
On top of that, it’s important that you send your emails during times when people are online so you can reach as many people as possible in one go. If you’re sending an email blast about upcoming events or sales promotions and everyone on your list is asleep by the time they arrive in their inboxes (or spam folders), then there’s no chance for anyone else besides the ones who opened their email immediately after getting it (which may not even be all of the recipients).
Avoid spammy words.
Your email should be personal. Avoid using words like “free” or “discount”, and don’t use the word “you” unless you are talking directly to an individual customer.
Similarly, do not use phrases like:
- “please forward this to [insert name here].” It’s impersonal and spammy. Instead, write something like: “[insert name here], please forward this email.”
- “You have been added to our mailing list.” Instead of saying things like “you,” say something more specific like: “[insert name here], you have been added”.
Use a double opt-in process.
The first thing to do is ensure that the email address you are using is valid. When an email address is valid and can be sent, it means that the name on the email account matches what was entered by the customer. A double opt-in process will help you validate this information so that you can use it later on in your marketing campaigns.
To accomplish this, send a welcome email to your subscribers with a link back to your website where they can provide their consent for future communications from your brand. If users click on this link and then enter their names and other requested information, they will be considered confirmed subscribers who are eligible for future messages from you.
Don’t use purchased lists or mass mail to your entire list.
Our first best practice is to avoid purchased lists. You never know what kind of opt-in the list owner has used, or if they’re even using an opt-in at all. Purchased lists are often filled with people who have unsubscribed from your emails and/or people who didn’t give their permission for you to email them in the first place.
That’s why we recommend sending emails only to those contacts that have opted in, and that you send relevant content based on their interests (this helps keep your open rates high).
Next up: don’t mass mail your entire list if you haven’t sent an email in a while, especially if it’s been more than two weeks since your last message. It’s important not just because they might forget who you are but also because it can hurt sender reputation scores (and therefore deliverability), plus no one likes getting multiple emails from someone they don’t know!
Write compelling subject lines.
Your subject line is one of the most important parts of your email. It should be compelling, relevant, accurate, enticing and informative when possible.
The subject line is a critical part of the message that you must get right for your email to be effective. If you fail here, it could lead to spam filtering issues or worse yet, your subscriber never seeing the actual content at all! Here are some tips:
- Use keywords in your subject line that will help them find what they are looking for on search engines (e.g., “10 Tips That Will Help You Get More Customers In Less Time”). This will increase engagement with those interested in this topic but also allow them more options if they’re not ready to buy just yet by including additional keywords such as ‘free’ or ‘attendees’.
- Make sure there’s something in common between what subscribers signed up for and what their expectations were when signing up—in other words: the promise that was made needs to match reality (i.e., don’t tell them one thing then deliver another).
Clean your list regularly.
Cleaning your list regularly is essential to maintaining the health of your email marketing campaigns. How often you do this depends on the type of list you have, but most lists should be cleaned at least once a year.
If you have an opt-in, double opt-in or permission based list, then it’s important to pay close attention to how many people are actually opening and/or clicking through from emails sent out from those lists. If there’s a significant drop in engagement numbers, then it’s likely that some people have opted out of receiving future communications from you and should be removed from the list immediately.
Additionally, if new sign ups aren’t coming through regularly enough for your needs (i.e., if sales are down), consider making sure that all members are still interested in receiving communications from you before continuing with any marketing efforts within that particular campaign or channel (i.e., email).
Personalize your emails and email address.
Personalize your emails as much as possible, even if it’s only by using the recipient’s first name. Have you ever received an email addressed to “John Doe?” It can be pretty annoying to see your name or company name misspelled in an email that was clearly intended for you. You’ll avoid this with a bit of personalization: use their name in the subject line and body of your message, include their first name in the footer and signature block of every message (if possible), etc.
Avoid spammy links in the body of the email.
Avoid spammy links in the body of the email.
The best way to think about this is: if you wouldn’t put it on your own website, don’t include it in an email. You might be tempted to use a link to test out an idea or make a good point, but that can backfire if the link isn’t relevant or doesn’t match what’s being discussed within your message. If you want people to read and engage with something, give them something they’re going to want and need–and that will also help them achieve their goal with your brand (for instance: buy a product or service).
Send to engaged subscribers only.
The best way to avoid spam is to send emails only to subscribers who are engaged with your brand. This means they have opened an email from you in the past (within a reasonable time period), or they have clicked on any link in one of your emails and moved forward with some kind of action, whether it be buying something or signing up for a service.
If you don’t know what engagement metrics look like for your business, look at the open rate and click-through rate numbers that GetResponse shows you in their reporting tool. These will give you an idea of how many people are actually opening and clicking through each message that you send out, which can help determine whether or not it makes sense to continue sending them.
Avoid spam by using domain reputation, sending at right time, avoiding spam words, using double opt-in process, not using purchased lists, writing compelling subject lines, personalizing and avoiding spammy links
- Use domain reputation
- Send emails at optimal time
- Avoid spammy words
- Use double opt-in process
- Don’t use purchased lists
- Write compelling subject lines
- Personalize and avoid spammy links in the body of your email (you can do this by adding a “from” name, or including an image of yourself) You should always make sure that any links you include in your email are from reputable sites – if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is!
If you want to improve your email open rate, then follow the above email marketing best practices. They will help you avoid spam filters and send emails that people actually want to read.
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