Use Email Marketing Without Being Blocked by Spam Filters
In a world dominated by smartphones, social media campaigns and Wi-Fi hotspots, email has become the number one tool for the majority of modern enterprises. However, as businesses have developed increasingly efficient ways to get their content into customer inboxes, those same customers have invested in innovative ways to keep them out.
The relationship between business and consumer has changed dramatically over the last twenty years. Whilst shoppers are as desperate as ever to get their hands on the best deals, they want the online experience to be tailored. They want to control their virtual worlds, by personalising everything from Facebook pages to apps, magazines, videos, and more.
This has led to an arms race between consumer and enterprise, with shoppers now choosing to delete large amounts of marketing material without engaging with it first. And if it cannot get onto the radar of its target market, a company is likely to flounder. There is nothing more important than making sure that your brand gets noticed, so mastering the ability to carry out email marketing without being blocked by spam filters is essential.
What is Spam?
There is no single definition of the term ‘spam,’ because what may be considered junk to one consumer may be thought of as valuable by another. As such, there is no rigid set of rules. A general definition identifies spam as being any email material sent without invitation.
The problem is that spam filters are designed to highlight low quality material, and separate it from the rest of the inbox. Once material from a specific email address has been highlighted as spam, the likelihood is that it will always be filed as such – unless you can learn to fool the filters.
In order to demonstrate how easy it is to land on the scrapheap, here are a few common mistakes.
- BODY: Message only has text/html MIME parts – this means that the sender has failed to include both a HTML and a plain text version of the email. A lot of spam filters are programmed to look for this as an indication of low quality content.
- BODY: HTML has a low ratio of text to image area – here, the balance of text to images has been deemed suspicious. It is common for spam to be filled with large images, and because the filters cannot read them, they know if this is the case.
- Subject is all capitals – this indicates that all or part of the message has been typed in capital letters. This is deemed inappropriate, and not likely to be well received.
The fight to be acknowledged can seem like a battle at times, and it is true that honest marketers do get burned. This is why it is important to learn about both sides of the process. If you can understand how filters work, you can learn to outwit them.
What Should I Avoid?
Spam Trigger Words
This can be tricky, because there are hundreds of words that spam filters are programmed to dislike. The majority, however, are related to the sale of products. It is assumed that companies which the recipient is likely to be interested in buying from would not need to be told what the product is within the subject line. It is important to avoid words like apply now, 100% free, bargain, limited time offer, cash bonus, free trial, free membership, and anything else which indicates a suspiciously needy desire to attract attention.
Shouting For Attention
It is a bad idea to fill your messages with content that seems to be trying too hard. This includes too much brightly coloured text, capital letters, exclamation signs, excessive symbols, and loud call-to-action prompts such as, CLICK HERE or APPLY NOW. You should do your best to avoid promising something which you cannot deliver, otherwise your reputation may suffer.
Tricks And Scams
Just because you’re trying to outwit the filters, doesn’t mean you can do the same for the human being on the other end. A lot of spam incorporates RE or FWD into the subject line, in a bid to fool recipients into opening the message, thinking that it is a reply to one of their own. If you try this, and your email address is not on their list of approved contacts, your message will be placed in the junk file.
What Should I Encourage?
Most filters disregard emails without listed senders, so include a forwarding address. You are advised to make this address sound as legitimate as possible, so avoid things like firstname.lastname@example.org and 7r594pk75W5s@yourdomain.com. It will also boost your spam score, if you include a postal address and a telephone number.
While it might sound counter-intuitive to invite recipients to opt out, marketing what you are doing is showing them that you respect their autonomy. The spam filters love these links, and as long as they are active within at least 30 days of the send date, they will boost your score.
A Unified Theme
You want the design of your emails to match that of your brand, website or product. The more professional your communications appear, the less likely they are to be disregarded as low quality. It is a good to include a logo on the upper left corner of an email template, and to take the time to personalise messages with colours that relate to your site.
For modern enterprises, carrying out email marketing without being blocked by spam filters isn’t always easy. However, it is something which needs to be learned, if a business is to thrive and prosper in our tech-addicted, internet-centric society.
The main thing to remember is your motivation for trying to fool the spam filters. Is it because you’re trying to get useful information to people who may not be aware of its value, or is it because you know that your content lacks value? If the latter is true, it could be time to go back to the drawing board.