Email remains one of the most frequently used, most effective, and least difficult to implement digital marketing channels. Its low price, especially when compared to paid advertising efforts, only adds to its popularity among marketers. But, as is the case with any marketing efforts, this channel can only be successful if it's done right.
In the case of email marketing, 'doing it right' can mean many things. But above all, it means making sure that your audience even gets to see your message, which is not the case if it gets caught by spam filters. To avoid that from happening, here are 6 steps you should take to spam-proof your email marketing.
1) Comply with CAN-SPAM
Let's start with the most important part. If your email efforts don't comply with the law, many email clients won't even give them a chance. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 stipulates that to be compliant, marketing emails have to identify themselves as such and avoid deceptive headlines or content at all times.
In addition, the CAN-SPAM Act has become notorious among email marketers because it requires every message to include two things: a physical address, letting your recipients know where you're located, as well as an opportunity to opt out of future messages. Failure to comply can result in fines of up to $16,000 per individual email, and the company on whose behalf the email was sent - even if handled by a third party - will be liable for violations.
2) Avoid Subject Trigger Words
In addition to the above, which applies to any marketer within the United States, most email clients have established a set of trigger words that identifies a message as spam and directs it to the appropriate folder automatically. The exact nature of that list varies based on email service and can be updated at any point.
Regardless, understanding that certain words will automatically redirect your emails from the inbox into the spam folder, as well as learning about common trigger words that will initiate this undesirable action, is an important step of successful email marketing. Words like cash, free, and (ironically) spam in the subject line can diminish the chance that your audience will ever actually see your email.
3) Clean Your Code
Another common trigger for email clients to move your message automatically is so-called 'junked up code' on the backend. Your emails are likely HTML-based, which enables you to include images, graphics, responsiveness, multi-column layouts, and other efforts to help the message stand out. If that code gets unnecessarily complex, clients will flag it as potential spam.
The reason for that is relatively simple. If an email client like Gmail sees code that does not show up in the final layout, or is not usually used for marketing emails, it will suspect that something is going on behind the scenes. Some marketers, for example, try to hide the above-mentioned unsubscribe link behind a wall of code, meaning that it's technically in their emails but invisible to recipients.
Rather than take a chance, the email client will flag it as spam. To avoid it, make sure your emails only use HTML coding that actually contribute to the final design and layout.
4) Ensure Message Relevancy
Don't underestimate the power of your recipients to flag your messages. Even if an email gets past automatic spam filters, it can land in spam folders because you're sending irrelevant, dishonest, or annoying messages to your readers. Once a recipient flags your message once, the probability of future emails going straight past their inbox increases exponentially.
For you, that means sending only emails that your recipients actually signed up for. A blog subscriber, for example, may not appreciate an overt advertisement for a completely irrelevant product. In addition, your subject line should accurately describe the content of your email, and that consistency should carry through from the email link to your website.
5) Tone Down Your Frequency
Sending emails to often, in many cases, results in double jeopardy. Not only will sending two or more emails in short succession of one another increase the risk of email clients automatically flagging your message as spam, but you will also increase the chance of your recipients doing the same thing manually out of simple annoyance.
Studies suggest that the ideal distance between individual marketing emails, whether they be promotional or part of your lead nurturing strategy, should be about once a week. More, and you risk the above negative consequences. Less, and your recipients could forget about you and turn to competitors instead.
6) Keep Your List Clean
Finally, don't underestimate the importance of a clean list for successful email marketing. Too many bounce backs due to outdated email addresses, and email providers will add you to their black list for spam. Too many irrelevant messages, and the amount of individual recipients marking your message as spam will lead to the same result.
Fortunately, you can take a number of steps to ensure that your list will remain clean. Including the unsubscribe link is an important first step, enabling your readers to ensure increased relevance in the future while avoiding the alternative: marking your email as spam. In addition, growing your list organically, through leads and subscribers from your website, will result in more accurate information and increased congruity compared to purchased or rented lists.
Take these 6 steps, and you will significantly increase the chance that your emails make an impact for your brand and digital marketing goals. Keeping your emails out of spam folders is a crucial part of succeeding digitally; fortunately, it's in your hands.
To learn more about email marketing for your business, give us a call or send us a note today at Small Dog Creative 661-702-1310!