It can be very disheartening to find out that your sales emails are ending up as spam, especially when you’ve taken the time to craft catchy subject lines and opening sentences. Email spammers keep getting smarter and as a result, the spam filters keep being improved. The good news is that if you follow the rules and build a good quality email programme, you’re likely to avoid being flagged as spam. This means you have to spend time and effort to ensure your emails are inbox ready.

The first rule is to abide by the laws. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 became law at the start of 2004, and states that your promotional, or sales, emails must:

  • Include your physical mailing address
  • Provide an unsubscribe link
  • Must not use deceptive subject lines, names or reply-to addresses

The next is to learn all you can about the different email providers. Specific spam parameters vary between email providers, with the filters being regularly tweaked and updated. In general, email service provider spam filters will look at:

  • Are you on a blacklist?

Email service providers keep a blacklist of domains and companies that are automatically filtered out of the inbox. If you are on a blacklist, you need to start your email marketing from scratch. Usually, only serious spam offenders end up on blacklists.

  • Are you on a white list?

Opposite to the black type, whitelists are automatically approved domain names or senders, that are not subjected to spam filter reviews. If you can get on a whitelist, your email deliverability will improve enormously.

  • Sender reputation

This is a number or score assigned to your sending IP or source. If you are using a third party email marketing platform, ensure they have a high sender reputation.

  • Domain reputation

Email service providers have started tracking domain reputation as well. There is software now that identifies the domain associated with the email and assigns a spam score based on that domain’s email history. Consistently switching servers and IP addresses when sending mails to avoid the spam folder no longer works.

  • Previous spam complaints

Emails that have been previously flagged by your subscribers can lead to you being removed from a whitelist.

  • Content of your email

This can be a significant factor, so image use, content and subject lines all have to be carefully written and designed.

Other rules include not sending your emails in bulk – rather send them out in stages. Ask to be added as a contact – these requests are often most effective if requested in preliminary or set-up emails. Avoid using spammy language, like ‘free’, or multiple exclamation points and writing in all caps. Provide value – the best way to stay out of spam filters is to provide value in every email – share tips, expertise and information.

Like any aspect of digital marketing, avoiding being labelled as spam requires hard work. Contact us if you’d like to chat to us about your email marketing.