No! Not the spam folder! Unfortunately, even legitimate emailers like you can find yourself facing a sudden drop in opens that means your messages have been detoured.
Watch out for these 10 mistakes that can derail even your finest mailings:
- Spammy subject lines
Spammy language is particularly risky in subject lines. Avoid these:
- All caps
- Too much punctuation!!
- Adding a phony Fw: or Re:
- Deceptive content (potentially illegal as well)
- Faulty permission
If you didn’t get compliant permission or didn’t get permission to send what you are sending, you’re in trouble.
- Purchased list
- Email append
- High complaint rates
- Sending irrelevant content
- Obscure From field
If your From field says noreply@… or 4396@… you might be a spammer. Frequent changes to your From address are also a red flag.
TIP: Asking new subscribers to add you to their address book goes a long way, too. (And it’s easy to do.)
- Mail too often/not enough
Low engagement is an indicator of unwanted mail. Sending to a long-inactive list could get you flagged. Interestingly, people can lose interest if you message them too frequently OR not enough.
TIP: Ask your subscribers for their frequency preferences.
- Didn’t test
A no-brainer. If you don’t have an email service provider who tests your messages against spam filters, you will need to do this yourself using an online tool.
- Bad links
Presumably you don’t want to send your readers links that don’t work or links to questionable sites. Test them.
Also, if you include an affiliate link to a blacklisted URL, you will be blocked.
- Spammy text
Of course subject lines aren’t the only text you have to watch. In the body of your message, avoid a lot of all-caps words, bright red or green fonts, and large fonts.
You are also spam-folder-bound if you talk a lot about money, mortgages, buy now, or a money-back guarantee. (And other things I don’t want to talk about.)
TIP: You can find out if it is your content that triggered the spam filters by testing a text-only version.
- Missing one of these:
- Unsubscribe link
- Mailing address
- Plain text option
- Large file size
Filters will snag messages over 100 KB. (Huge files are a pain for your mobile readers anyway.)
TIP: Images can hide spammy text, so an all-image message won’t make it. Be sure you have at least 500 characters of text(that’s not much) and use alt tags.
- Sloppy code
The cleaner the code the better. Streamline and simplify your code, and properly close all tags/tables. Spam triggers include:
- Using Microsoft Word to design in html
- Using bit.ly, goo.gl, t.com, hrefshare.com or other public URL shorteners in email
- Using a URL in the HTML readable text that does not match the URL in the HTML code itself
- Leaving comments in code. Spam filters can view comments as adding more text to fool Bayesian filtering.
Finally, don’t use a sketchy email service provider. ESPs that accept non-permission-based clients will eventually get all their senders blocked. Remember, if you are reported, your domain name and company name are on the list.
Fear not: If you have proper permission, clean code, and are sending relevant content, you’re well on your way to steering clear of the dreaded spam folder.