Whether personal or professional, the chances are that when you send an email, you want it to be read by your intended recipient. The spam folder is a handy tool for filtering out the junk, but it relies on automation. Spam email has certain characteristics and if your messages display one or more of them, then the chances of the email never even being noticed, let alone opened, increase massively.
You may operate a large email list, or you may just as easily contact individuals about all sorts of subjects. The tips below have been designed to ensure that your message lands in the inbox and avoids any of the red flags that could lead to it being overlooked.
1. Personalise your Mailing List
Whether contacting someone individually or sending a mailshot to a wide group of people, there are benefits to ensuring that the recipients have been collected personally. Organically building your contacts is a fantastic way to avoid being labelled as spam, partly because you may have already managed to build a relationship with them outside email. Rented or purchased email lists will shatter your chances, and electronically scraping and collecting email addresses can be even worse.
2. Require Double Opt-Ins when Collecting Subscribers
A large email list is among the most valuable tools in online business, and it is worth going the extra mile to get new subscribers to verify their willingness to appear on such a list. This is usually achieved by getting anyone that adds their email address to your list to click a link in a welcome email to verify their account. This not only protects you legally, but also increases the long-term value of each subscriber. In having given explicit permission to receive your emails, they are more likely to read them and ultimately convert into a client or customer.
3. Authenticate your Emails
Various email services utilise industry standards to verify that an email is not spam. This is particularly handy when sending to the likes of Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo, as the technologies are all in place to check in advance whether an email originates from a genuine sender. The Sender Policy Framework (SPF) compares the sender’s IP address with a list of senders authorised to use the domain and verifies that the sender is who they claim to be. Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) verifies that the email arrives as it was sent, without any changes in between. Finally, Domain-Based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) combines both to strongly authorise the email. To adhere to these protocols, senders should ensure transparency and consistency in their email communications – it does not need to get overly technical on the part of the reader.
4. Curate your Email List
Some recipients that have no interest in your communications will unsubscribe, but others will simply ignore the email and leave it unopened. It can be worth clearing these users off your list over time, as mail service providers will take note when emails from certain senders are routinely ignored, increasing the chances that they will be identified as spam across all users on the service.
5. Make the Effort to Avoid Blacklists
Many companies maintain blacklists, often shared between several organisations, and the worst thing for anyone that relies on email communication is to find themselves on such a list. Even those without malicious intent can find themselves being listed as such but using best practice as advised throughout these tips can keep most senders safe. Delivery rates should be monitored, as a sudden dip may indicate that the source address has been added to a blacklist and the sender will want to take immediate remedial action.
6. Enable Subscribers to Personalise their Settings
When email contact reaches a suitable level of importance to your business, it is worth implementing a preference centre. Here, subscribers can set their own limits, such as how often they wish to receive emails and, for those that email on various subjects, which they are willing to receive. As well as combating spam, this also further engages the recipient, as they are more likely to read emails they have consented to receive.
7. Monitor Metrics
Email marketing is not a case of sending emails and hoping for the best. Monitoring results is just as important as content, and we have already touched on reasons to keep an eye on delivery and opening rates. Naturally, there is more to this than watching, and it is important to be ready to take actions when any issues arise.
8. Make your Content Worth Reading
We have covered how open rates can have an impact on whether emails are classed as spam, but engagement is also valuable. Give your subscribers something that they will want to read, and they are more likely to open the next one. This has an organic impact on open rates and signals to automated systems that your emails are legitimate.
9. Work with Legitimate Service Providers
If you send emails at scale, you are probably not sitting at a computer with Outlook and adding hundreds of addresses to the BCC field. There are numerous options out there for email service management, and it is worth taking the time to understand where they stand in the perception of spam. Some providers even find themselves on blacklists, all but guaranteeing that paying customers will find their emails being ignored regardless of their own efforts.
10. Expand the Relationship Beyond Email
It can easily be argued that email is as important to marketing as ever, but it is far from being the only communication method – or even the most valuable in some areas. Looking at the bigger picture, an email subscriber that is also a Twitter or Instagram follower is exponentially more valuable, and it is worth considering directing traffic between each of your communication platforms.