Whether you’re new or experienced in the world of email marketing, this is probably something that has caused you a lot of headaches at one point or another.
It’s getting more and more difficult to get into people’s inboxes – nearly a quarter of commercial emails never even make it to the inbox, either being tossed into the spam folder or blocked altogether.
We’re innocent victims of the never-ending battle between spammers and Internet service providers. Totally caught in the crossfire.
Somehow, even if we have opt-in email lists of supposedly willing recipients, the swipes we send out can still trigger the radar of spam filters.
So what can you do to improve your odds of reaching your customers and prospects?
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Be relevant and wanted
Everyone keeps telling you this, I’m sure. Even I’ve mentioned it before in previous posts.
“Provide relevant content.”
What you should be hearing here is: Don’t upset your list recipients.
Stay on topic, and keep your content relevant and valuable. You can sell, but don’t overdo it.
If you’re wondering why you should care – remember that it only takes one inappropriate message to make someone decide to unsubscribe from your list… or worse, to report your emails as spam and block you entirely.
If someone has entrusted you with his or her email address, they’re giving you permission to enter their inbox for a specific reason. Don’t abuse that trust.
2. Have a good reputation
Spam filters used to look at email content, and if the message seemed in the least bit spammy – BAM! Banished to the spam folder.
But now, what’s more important is the reputation of the sender.
If you have a bad sender score for your domain name or IP addresses, that can keep your emails out of inboxes.
Most ISPs use a number of tools to determine sender reputation, like the number of user complaints – you know, when people click on the ‘Report as Spam’ button for your emails.
If your emails receive more than 1000 complaints, your messages will be blocked altogether, which isn’t cool.
Once you’re in the spam folder, it’s not as easy to get out as you might think. People have to report that you’re not spam.
If you want to find out how liked or disliked you are, you can try some online tools, like senderscore.org.
3. Use clean lists.
Be careful when buying lists. Some might include spam traps, or addresses of people who never asked to receive marketing messages.
It might be time-consuming, but better for you in the long run if you have your own list of customers and prospects who want to receive email from you, and work to build a good relationship with them.
You might want to consider asking your list to specify the type of content they want to receive from you.
Some might agree to receive a newsletter, but not marketing messages. If so, you could consider segmenting your list by type of customer in order to send out relevant content.
Also, make sure to weed through your list and regularly get rid of addresses that bounce or opt-out.
Think quality, not necessarily quantity.
4. Watch your content
Spam filters are designed to look for specific content in order to protect email recipients.
If your message has too many of certain flagged words, exclamation marks or even too many images and not much actual content… well, that might be why they keep getting sent to the junk mailbox.
You want to keep your content honest and to the point, to avoid being tagged as a spammer.
Target your messages, clearly identify yourself in the ‘From’ address, craft a relevant and engaging subject line and make sure your messages appear correctly on both PCs and mobile devices.