If someone were to ask me my biggest nightmare as an email marketer, I would say spam complaints by the subscribers. Getting marked as spam directly hampers your email deliverability as these emails will not land in the subscriber’s inbox. Such emails get blocked by the Internet Service Provider, and this
So, how do you prevent this blasphemy of emails getting marked as spam?
Here are some tips to help you out.
Adhere to CAN-SPAM and GDPR guidelines
Follow the anti-spam guidelines of CAN-SPAM and GDPR if you want to avoid the spam filters. The gist of these guidelines is that you should not send unsolicited emails to anyone who has not expressed explicit consent to hear from you. Sending emails to purchased lists is sure to attract spam traps. Therefore, you should always build your email list in accordance with these laws.
Here’s an email sent by Beyond the Envelope with an interesting subject line: Still your type? Please confirm your subscription. The copy is concise and to-the-point, followed by a straightforward CTA that lets the subscriber update the preferences.
Send personalized and relevant content
Relevance is the most important email marketing etiquette. Personalize your emails according to the buyer’s journey and the stage they are in. This will facilitate efficient communication with the reader.
For subscribers who are still in the awareness stage, it is advisable to send an engaging introduction or brand story that would intrigue them and make them look forward to hearing from you. Besides first name personalization in your emails, you should implement artificial intelligence to send hyper-personalized emails like Airbnb does. While it ensures a good open rate for your emails, it also enhances the subscriber engagement.
Stick to branding guidelines
Follow the branding guidelines to make sure that the recipient can easily relate to your emails. If they are unable to recognize your brand, it is likely that they might mark it as spam. Spam filters can ‘learn’ the pattern in which the subscribers mark emails as spam and any future emails too that fall in that category. That being the case, it is important to include the same brand logo, colors, and font styles in all your emails.
GODIVA sends out beautiful emails with impressive imagery and consistent branding. The tempting visuals (with attractive discounts) would surely curb the whim to mark the email as spam.
Write short and sweet subject lines
The power of engaging subject lines cannot be emphasized enough. Most of the time, subscribers weigh the credibility of a brand by the subject line. Deceiving subject lines like ‘Re’ or ‘Fwd’ are strict no-no. Do not type in capitals or use too many exclamation signs. Spam filters keep a close eye on all these criteria.
Have a look at this report.
You certainly would not want your subscribers to fall among the 54%. Such cheap gimmicks will intimidate your subscribers and increase the spam complaints.
Never forget the unsubscribe link
The CAN-SPAM Act mandates the placement of an unsubscribe link in every email campaign. Although unsubscribe means losing out on a subscriber, it is certainly better than getting marked as spam. As spam filters weed out emails that have no unsubscribe links, it is a must to include unsubscribe/opt-out link in the email campaigns. I personally recommend you put a link to your preference center so that the subscribers can modify their email preferences and change the frequency too. Additionally, include a valid, physical address in the footer of every email.
Abide by the email design best practices
Flashy emails attract the spam filters and increase the spam complaints. Do not use too many bold colors like red or green (unless it is Christmas, obviously). The maximum width of your emails should be 600-800px so that it renders well across the diverse email clients.
Talking about fonts, use custom fonts as images but the image should not be too large. Spam filters consider it to be a spamming gig. A good practice is to maintain a text to image ratio of 80:20. Never send images as an attachment as it triggers the spam filters. Keep in mind that GIFs are not supported in Outlook email client and design the images accordingly. If your subscriber in unable to read your email, he or she might mark it as spam.
Your CTA buttons should not be over-loud and avoid writing generic CTA copy like ‘Click Here’.
Code your emails meticulously
Refrain from pasting the codes directly from Microsoft Word or Frontpage as it adds extra tags to the HTML email. A poorly coded email is sure to land in the spam filter. To keep your email size under 30kb, you should not include any unnecessary text, images or nested table. If you have Gmail subscribers, any email above 102kb would be clipped and ultimately it will raise red flags due to non-compliance with CAN-SPAM Act.
Test your email always
Do not miss out on testing your emails for grammatical errors, personalization blunders, or rendering issues. Nothing irks a subscriber more than a broken email. Therefore, make sure your email is responsive and renders well on all devices and email clients, regardless of the screen size. Mailingcheck and IsNotSpam are two tools that can be used to check your email content for spam. Use them and avoid the spam filters for good.
It takes a lot of technical soundness to make an email reach the inbox and bypass the spam filters. The tips shared above will surely help you in creating spam-proof emails and keep your sender reputation intact.
Do you have any other tips to share? We would love to hear from you.
Chintan is Head of Operations at InboxArmy LLC. He has been into email marketing domain from last 7 years. Chintan is connected to InboxArmy, a professional email marketing agency that specializes in providing targeted email marketing services from email production to deployment. Chintan’s track record of email marketing success covers building email programs from scratch and using data-driven strategies to turn around under performing accounts.