Spam traps, spam trigger phrases, and anti-spam regulations are perpetual concerns for everyone engaged in email marketing. It is become an art form to craft emails in such a way that they will not be flagged as spam by recipients’ inboxes or blocked by spam filters. Why?
Reason being, ISPs have declared war on spammers, and they are fighting dirty. Unfortunately, it’s not usually the spammers that end up being the victims. And unfortunately, those of us well-intentioned email marketers who just don’t have the skill or luck to avoid being collateral damage are among them.
ReturnPath found that just 79% of emails sent by reputable email marketers were delivered to their intended recipients’ inboxes. What gives? But even a little slip-up may be enough to drive an otherwise honest email marketer straight to the ninth circle of email marketing hell, where their sender reputation and email deliverability are severely, perhaps irreparably damaged.
The fact that almost every major internet nation has legally limited the use of email spam is indicative of the gravity of the problem. Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) of 2014 and the United States’ CAN-SPAM Act of 2004 are two examples of the most prominent countries’ measures to protect their citizens against unwanted, unsolicited mass mail. They seem to be working well, especially when combined with the ISPs.
Therefore, I will discuss the proper and improper ways to use targeted email marketing. Using the information in this tutorial, you may avoid being caught in spam filters and safely reach your intended mailbox via email marketing.
How do spam filters and spam traps work?
Spam traps are an ISP’s primary protection against spammers. In reality, these are spam trap email accounts created for that same purpose.
An ISP will label you as a spammer if your automated email campaign accidentally reaches one of these addresses. Your deliverability rates will drop, your IP address will be blacklisted, and it might take you up to a year to regain your good sender reputation. Like this, pure spam traps may be effective. Really chilling!
Repurposed spam traps are another area of concern. These are email accounts that have gone dormant for a long time and have been acquired by an ISP. If your message ends up in such an inbox, the fallout won’t be as severe. A bounce message will be sent to you by either your email service provider (ESP) or the client’s ESP if you have sent a dead email address. However, if you persist in sending messages to addresses that repeatedly bounce, the ISP will flag the activity as a spam trap hit.
Spam filters are an ISP’s secondary line of defense against spammers; they are programs that, based on various criteria, eliminate spam before it reaches users’ inboxes. Spam filters are very picky about what they let through to their inboxes, so irrelevant or badly written emails will never make it past them.
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Take Care With The Particulars
You may improve email deliverability by attending to a few technical details in the context of triggered email marketing:
Choose a name that will be easily recognized as the sender
To prevent being flagged as spam by receivers’ inbox filters, it’s best practice to utilize personalization and always aim to send emails from an address that incorporates ideally your personal name with your business name.
Why? Simply because they have to pick and select which emails to read from the deluge they get daily. Emails with a specific name in the “from” field are more likely to be opened than those with a generic greeting.
Financial Times Online found that 46% of email recipients had clicked on spam based merely on the sender’s name and email address in the “from” section.
Firstname.lastname@domain email addresses, or variations thereof, are universally recommended.
In addition, the ‘from’ address is often scrutinized by top ESPs. Why? Because there is reputation-based filtering in place inside spam technology, which takes into account the sender’s IP address and domain to determine whether or not to even process the message.
Changing the sender’s IP address is a red flag for most email service providers (ESPs). If anything seems wrong, they will notify the ESP to look into it. In addition, your email will be rejected if you accidentally use a banned address. In the end, recipients will be confused by your constant address changes and more likely to report your messages as spam as a result.
Avoid using odd ‘From’ field names like 1258gps@doman or noreply@domain, and you won’t have to worry about this.
Pick an ESP (Email Service Provider) you can trust
If their customers have a good reputation, so will their email provider.
Customers may build confidence in their ESP if they consistently send out high-quality, relevant material from reliable IP addresses. You should avoid using suspicious email service providers (ESPs), since major providers like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Hotmail will likely ban their IP addresses.
Acquire an outsider’s certification.
You may further demonstrate to ISPs that you are not a spammer by obtaining a sender certification from a third party.
Companies like ReturnPath provide services to evaluate your business’s email practices and grant you trusted sender status. By sending a signal to ISPs that your emails are legitimate, this certificate ensures that the vast majority of your messages will be delivered to their intended inboxes.
There is a cost associated with using this service, but it may be justified if higher conversion rates are the result.
Verify whether you are on the list of banned senders
You might expect a higher rate of spam folder delivery for your targeted emails if the IP address from whence they originated has a poor reputation online. Email deliverability rates are directly impacted by the reputation of your IP address.
- Multirbl.Valli and MxToolbox are only two examples of programs that can determine whether an email sender has been blacklisted.
- Simply in the IP address or domain name and click the “check” button.
- It’s important to preview emails before sending them.
- Before sending an email to your subscribers, you should always run a test.
- As an example, consider Mail Tester, which facilitates the inspection of email quality. It acts like spam filters and is designed to detect spam. Possible improvements in deliverability based on the score you get.
- Keep abreast with developments in anti-spam technology, Internet service provider policies, and legislation.
- You’ll need to stay on top of emerging technologies and legislation, which might make this seem like a thankless and dull work.
- But if you’re dedicated to continual study and development, your triggered email marketing campaigns and spam prevention will both profit in the long term.
- Eliminate clutter from your emailing lists.
- Maintaining clean email lists is crucial for avoiding spam traps and filters. To assist you in doing so, please consider the following suggestions:
- You should never pay for an email list.
- There are so many issues with buying an email list that I don’t even know where to begin.
- By doing so, you are breaking the law and your Internet service provider’s terms of service. Furthermore, the CAN-SPAM Act makes it unlawful to sell or transfer email addresses to other lists. Since those on the list did not provide their consent to be contacted, it also constitutes an invasion of their personal space.
- Last but not least, Convince and Convert found that just 44% of emails sent from lists with 10% or more unknown user addresses were really received by their intended recipients’ inboxes.
Outdated information may be found on these lists, and as a result, many of the email addresses on them are either no longer in use or have been recycled as spam traps. Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that you have no idea whether these lists are ever gathered. If so, they’re probably just full of spam and a certain trip to the email marketing equivalent of Hades. Avoid them at all costs!
Clean your email lists of hard bounces
As I’ve previously said, an ISP will log a spam trap hit after receiving many emails sent to an inactive address. Bounce rates are a key metric that ISPs use to evaluate your sender reputation. Your capacity to deliver will also suffer if you have a poor reputation.
To conduct email marketing without spam, pay attention to the bounce ISP notifies you of and remove the problematic email from your list.
Take note of the inactive subscribers
- You should take corrective action if you find that a portion of your email list is not engaging with your messages.
- Your company’s domain’s deliverability rates are directly impacted by the number of inactive subscribers you have. This means you should either start a campaign to catch their attention again or remove them from your list if you don’t hear back from them.
- Repeat your request for a subscription if necessary.
- Verify that each of your subscribers is interested in receiving your emails.
- Send them another email once they subscribe to make sure they really do want to hear from you. You can maintain a clean list and a trustworthy online presence with the assistance of the double opt-in.
- Request that your subscribers add you as a contact.
- It’s a simple method for getting through strict spam filters.
- Any time a user confirms your email address in their address book, they are telling their ISP that they wish to receive messages from you through this IP address.
This is how the majority of spam filters function. Don’t be bashful; just ask!
Please be considerate to those who have chosen to opt out.
The CAN-SPAM Act mandates that the unsubscribe link be prominently displayed in every communication.
That’s the rule of law, after all. Let folks go if they wish to leave. Simplify their experience by eliminating unnecessary steps, and honor their requests to cease receiving emails from you by doing so immediately.
If you keep sending them emails, they may start marking them as spam, which will have a negative impact on your sender reputation and the amount of emails that are delivered to their inboxes.
Pay close attention to the headings
The devil is in the details, as the adage goes and as the Placebo song puts it. In the context of email marketing, this is particularly true of subject line creation.
Convince and Convert found that 69% of recipients made the decision to designate an email as spam only on the basis of the subject line. Do not do the following to prevent it from happening:
QUIET YOUR VOICE
The use of full capital letters is considered unpleasant and insulting in email correspondence and generally in any online correspondence since it is seen as screaming. Don’t make the mistake of writing subject lines in all capital letters.
According to surveys done by the Radicati Group, the vast majority (85%) of respondents prefer a subject line that uses just lowercase letters.
- Using all capital letters in the subject line will anger the recipients and make them more likely to report your email as spam.
- Never use more than one exclamation point
- Create a clever, curious subject line and a brief, relevant email to grab people’s attention.
- Email subject lines that conclude with a question mark had a 44% greater open rate than those that end with an exclamation point, according to the study’s authors.
- Do not use many exclamation marks in a sequence to generate drama and sensation; this will likely come off as spammy to the recipients and their ISPs.
- Avoid using spam-inducing words and phrases.
- Pay close attention to the phrasing of your subject lines in order to prevent being captured in spam filters.
- Certain terms and phrases have been banned because of their relationship with spam email. These include “free,” “best price,” “cash,” and “no obligation.” In the past, we often received emails with subject lines advertising freebies in exchange for a few simple actions, the details of which were only revealed upon opening the message.
- Avoid using any of the terms that were culled from emails like these as spam triggers.
Here are some sample subject lines that you can use to hook the audience.
“Hey [insert name], what’s up?”
To wit: “Did you find what you needed?”
It’s not just you.
If you’re down in the dumps, I have a question: “What gives?” “Like puppies?”
Keep your word.
Having a subject line that doesn’t relate to the content of the email will get it flagged as spam. To paraphrase, don’t send out the kinds of spammy emails mentioned up above.
If the subject line of your email reads “Hello Jovana, a quick inquiry?,” then the question you ask should be concise and simple. Follow through on your subject line’s promises. People are more inclined to designate an email as spam if the content doesn’t match the promise made in the subject line.
Carefully craft the email’s body
Additionally, spam filters will analyze your writing meticulously. Internet service providers may even label emails as spam if they include certain keywords or pictures.
Design, typefaces, attachments, embeds, photos, and everything else important. For example, even the use of the term “viagra” might trigger spam filters because of its unusualness. The devil, as they say, is in the details, therefore it’s better to simplify and leave as few of them out as possible.
If you want your email messages to reach your subscribers and not the spam folders, consider the following advice.
Keep away from multimedia
- Embedded videos and Flash won’t play in most inboxes, so don’t waste your time include them.
- They will seem untidy and unprofessional if you insert them and they don’t display or function as expected. Having an email come off as spammy might be detrimental to your reputation.
- Put the media on your website and reference it in your text if it is crucial to your advertising strategy. If you want your subscribers to watch a video, you might, for instance, add a picture of a play button that, when clicked, would take them to that movie on your website.
- Employing dynamic scripts will have the same result as using media material that does not display correctly since your customers often do not allow them to operate.
Prevent the embedding of forms if at all possible
In addition to being a red signal for spam filters, embedded forms in email content are also not very user-friendly. Unfortunately, most email clients don’t support forms because of the security risk they pose.
You may use a call to action button or a link to the website you want them to go to instead of embedding forms.
Do not attach anything.
If you send an email with a file attached, such as a Word or PDF document, the spam filter will instantly flag it. Emails with attachments take longer to load since their size is increased.
You may avoid this problem by uploading the file to your website and then giving a link or call to action (CTA) to the file. Scale down on the bold letters and bright colors
It seems that readers place a great deal of importance on the typefaces and hues used. According to the aforementioned Radicati Group poll, more than sixty percent of respondents thought it undesirable if email marketers employed irregular typefaces, multiple font sizes, and variable font colors. And the majority, almost 70 percent, agree!
Spam filters are also tipped off by invisible content and wildly varying font sizes (white font on the white background for example). In that case, make it easier!
Reduce the number of visuals
Even though we live in a visual age when images permeate every aspect of culture, it seems that too many photos might be a distraction in email marketing.
Increasing the email’s load time by include several or large photos might reduce its deliverability rates.
Its message will likely end up in spam if you use a single large picture as your content.
Make sure the photos you use are appropriate for the text. If the photographs need to be shrunk, you may do so, but please be careful not to compromise their quality in the process. Remember to only use reputable providers to save your photographs.
Verify that your pictures load properly
While some email clients may show photographs with no problem, some will not. Users who have photos blocked from their emails will not view your graphics in their intended format, making your message seem disorganized and careless.
To prevent this, be sure to provide clear and concise alt text with your picture.
Provide access to both text and HTML.
Spend some time crafting two distinct versions of your email, one in plain text and one in HTML. If you choose the former, you may keep things basic, but if you choose the latter, you can unleash your inner designer (just don’t go overboard).
In addition to winning over a wider audience, this strategy will also win over the trust of the ISP.
It’s imperative that you double check your code for errors. Your email will likely never reach its intended mailbox if it contains incorrect or missing tags.
Spelling and grammatical errors
Any successful email marketing effort must include meticulous spellchecking and proofreading. Misspelled words and grammatical errors can make you seem unprofessional to your customers.
According to the Radicati Group’s poll results, 80% of respondents consider grammatical and spelling mistakes to be a major no-no when communicating by email. In other words, it paints you as untrustworthy and unreliable.
These mistakes are also leading causes of spam. It is highly recommended that you revise and proofread your work.
Get rid of the hassle of canceling subscriptions
I’ve previously stressed the need of providing a clear opt-out option for your email marketing campaign. Besides being required by law, this is also standard procedure in your field.
Every one of your emails should include an easy way to unsubscribe. You may avoid losing customers and goodwill among the ISP’s network operators in this way.
Manage the follow-up process
You should never send an email merely to see whether anybody reads it. You should provide something of value if you don’t want your messages to be automatically categorized as spam.
If you want to enhance user engagement by focusing on the inactive ones, or if you just want to keep in touch with your customers, a continual flow of communication is crucial.
If you want to offer your customers a friendly reminder that you exist without coming across as spammy, avoid sending them all at once and instead send smaller batches at regular intervals.
Inactive subscribers won’t be able to clog your email list or operate as potential spam traps if you have a solid handle on them in this manner. The ones who really do anything will recognize your worth and appreciate your work.
Getting your emails to the inbox rather than the spam folder is not something that can be guaranteed. No definitive guidance exists to assist you cope with the deliverability challenges caused by ISPs, ESPs, and anti-spam legislation.
You may prevent having your IP address and domain name banned and maintain your trust as a sender by paying attention to technical details, cleansing email lists, avoiding obvious spam triggers in subject lines and bodies, and following up in a timely way.
If you are looking for an email marketing software that can help you in properly reaching out to your audience, then Office24by7 is the one. Contact us on +91 7097171717 for more details.