Don’t Be An Accidental Spammer

Whether you’re new or experienced to the world of email marketing, there’s one question you need to ask yourself: Are you being an accidental spammer?

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It’s getting more and more difficult as it is to get into people’s inboxes – are your marketing emails being tossed into the spam folder by the email provider’s spam filtering service?

Nearly a quarter of commercial emails never even make it to most people’s inboxes now because of those damn spam filters. Instead, they get tossed into the spam folder or blocked altogether.

We’re innocent victims of the never-ending war between spammers and Internet service providers here, caught in the crossfire.

And somehow, even with our long opt-in lists of supposedly willing recipients, the swipes we send out can still “accidentally” trigger the radar of spam filters, which is not good news.

In fact, it’s downright frustrating.

So what can you do to improve your odds here? How do you make sure your emails actually reach the inboxes of the people on your email list?

Well, you could try these little tips:

1. Be relevant.

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You’ve definitely heard this a million times before, but even if you’re tired of hearing it, it doesn’t make it any less true.

Provide relevant content.

Don’t spam.

“Don’t upset your list recipients” is what you should be hearing here.

Stay on topic, and keep your content relevant and valuable. It’s fine for you to sell, but don’t overdo it.

Remember that it takes just one irrelevant message to make someone decide to unsubscribe from your list altogether – or worse, to report your emails as spam and get you blocked altogether.

The people on your list have entrusted you with their email address and given you permission to enter their inboxes. Don’t abuse that trust.

2. Have a good reputation.

It used to be that spam filters would look at email content, and banish any messages that looked the least bit spammy to the spam folder.

Now, they look at the reputation of the sender instead.

Having a bad sender score for your domain name or IP addresses can keep your emails out of inboxes.

Most ISPs look at things like the number of user complaints to determine sender reputation – if a lot of people report your emails as spam, then you’ll have a poor sender reputation.

More than 1000 complaints on your emails, and your messages will get blocked altogether, which just isn’t cool.

You can use online tools like senderscore.org to find out just how liked or disliked you are.

And remember, once in the spam folder, it’s not as easy to get out as you might think. You have to get people to report that you’re not spam.

3. Be careful what’s in your content.

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Spam filters are programmed to look for specific content in order to protect email recipients.

If your message has too many of certain flagged keywords in it, too many exclamation marks or even too many images and not much in the way of actual content, that might explain why your emails keep ending up in people’s junk folder.

Keep your content clean, honest and to the point so that you don’t get tagged as spam.

Target your messages, clearly identify yourself in the address line, craft a relevant and engaging subject line and make sure your messages appear correctly whether viewed on PCs or mobile devices.

4. Use clean lists.

I don’t buy lists, but if you do, be careful.

Some might include spam traps, or addresses of people who never asked to receive marketing messages.

It might be time-consuming, but in the long run it’s probably a better idea for you to build your own list of customers, and work to build a good relationship with them.

You might also want to consider asking your list to specify the type of content they want to receive from you. For example some might want to receive a newsletter, but not marketing messages.

You can also segment your list by type so that you can be sure that you’re sending out relevant content.

Also, make sure to weed your list every now and again. Get rid of addresses that bounce of opt-out. You want quality, not necessarily quantity.

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