You have spent a whole bunch of time writing and designing your emails and once you have sent them, what do you see? They are trapped in your recipients’ junk folder. OUCH!! That hurts! So the underlying statement still remains, no matter how good your email marketing strategy is, if nobody can SEE your emails, its a total waste of time, energy and money. Hence, getting your recipients to read your emails begins with good email deliverability, that is to get an email into the intended recipient’s inbox. So, how do you ensure your emails do not hit the SPAM box?

How do you ensure Email Deliverability?

I. Avoid ‘Spammy’ words

There are over active filters working to check your emails for ‘spam’ words. The first thing that it checks is, the words in the subject line. If it finds any word which is ‘spammy’, it will immediately mark it as spam and the recipient will NEVER even see the email. So, how do you ensure, your words hit the nail on the head?

Avoid SPAM wordsI can chant this mantra all day long. By all means, avoid spam words like FREE, Act now, Limited period, Open Immediately, Click Here!, $$$, 100% free, Double Your Income, Earn $ etc
Avoid expletivesUsing foul language in the subject line…absolute no no!
Do not use too many punctuation marksDo not!!! go overboard with punctuation marks!!!!! See what I mean?
Do not use all capsUsing ALL CAPS (especially in the subject line) can be a real turn off.

However, the above mentioned guidelines are not just for the email subject line, they apply to the message body as well.

II. Be compliant with CAN-SPAM act

1. As a marketer, you sure must be well aware of the CAN-SPAM Act. Here are a few things that you need to abide by when formulating an email:

2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. Here is an example: Open this email for FREE $$$! Stay honest and to the point.

3. If your email is an advertisement, disclose it in the subject line that is an advertisement. An example of this is: Send gifts home in time for Mother’s Day!

4. Honor opt-out requests promptly. However, if you are using an Email Marketing Software, it will take care of this.

5. Monitor third parties that are sending emails on your behalf.

III. Have Opt-out/Opt-in Option in Emails and Honor Them

Email messages sent to recipients should have an ‘Unsubscribe’ or opt-out link. This will allow respondents to remove themselves from email lists. So, when a recipient opts out of your email campaigns, adhere by it and restrain from sending them emails in the future.

Also include an opt-in link to add new recipients as and when they want to get emails from you.

IV. Include a Text version of your Email along with the HTML version

The text message in an email has always been very important, despite the fact being that most marketers use the HTML email version – with glossy images, colors, fonts, embedded links and a lot more. This is where I say, “You are making a MAJOR MISTAKE.” Its good to use text, as several times, SPAM filters, filter out full HTML emails. Plus it also saves your face in instances where a few mobile devices and tablets cannot render HTML.

V. Use ‘Permission Marketing’

“Permission marketing is marketing without interruptions.”

– Seth Godin, Entrepreneur, Marketer and Public Speaker

Like Seth puts it, permission marketing is the privilege (not right) of delivering personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. Today, when there is such an overload of information, permission marketing is extremely relevant, don’t you think? Opt-in e-mail is a good example of this form of marketing.

a. Internet users themselves sign up in advance to receive information/newsletters.
b. Since they have signed up themselves, they are more receptive to the message/email that you send. Moreover, you can ask your recipients to mark you as a ‘Safe Centre’ to prevent your emails from getting into SPAM.

Have a double opt-in option: You can also have a double opt-in link inside the email. This ways a recipient completes a form on your website and then in turn receives an email to confirm that their email address is valid. This practice is one of the best ways to stay away from SPAM and it also verifies validity of not only the email address, but also your company.

NEVER run email campaigns with purchased lists: Yes, it’s true, marketers do buy email lists. However, we strongly recommend that you desist from this practice.

VI. Use SPAM checkers before sending emails

Its always advisable to check your emails for SPAM before sending them out to your recipients. A spam checker filters the email content and in turn helps you increase email delivery rates.

VII. Get off Blacklist

Blacklists are a collection of IPs ((Internet Protocol) addresses, URLs and email addresses that are flagged as spammers which may harm computers or websites. Hence, getting into an e-mail blacklist is surely not what you want, right? Just make sure that you have access to your server’s IP address. This will let you monitor blacklists.

Here are a few free services that you can try to check if your IP address or domain name is included in a blacklist:

VIII. Maintain a good Text to Image ratio

A picture is definitely worth a thousand words, but only if some one sees it, right?

A Spam Assassin’s thumb rule is – minimum 3 images in a page (if there are any images), at least 400 characters text. Anything other than this can be considered spam.

a. Include ALT tags with every image/graphic.
b. Have a healthy ratio of text to image in your emails.
c.Test your emails in computers where images don’t show. Is your message still clear?
d. NEVER send an email with images only.
e. Have at least a few words for every image.

IX. Avoid SPAM traps

A spam trap is like a honey jar which attracts SPAM mails towards itself. They are email address that do not belong to real recipients, are not actively used but are very actively monitored to catch spam. So, if you get caught in a SPAM trap, your IP address or in worst case scenario your “from domain” may be blocked.

There are several people who participate in forums with fake email IDs. Vendors who sell email lists collect such fraudulent email IDs and sell them to marketers. These email IDs get trapped in SPAM traps and this can damage your email deliverability reputation.

As a marketers, here’s how you avoid SPAM traps:

NEVER purchase email lists, because you do not know the source of the list…it’s not safe.
Insert opt-in / double opt-ins to check if the address is valid and active.
Do not use addresses which are mistyped.
Send welcome / confirmation messages to see if the email address is active and correct.
Use multiple captchas will keep check that an email id user is a real human being.
Make it simple for email recipients to unsubscribe from your emails.

X. Avoid large attachments

In general, .jpg, .gif, .png and .pdf attachments are safe to send and are easy to open, BUT files as .exe, .zip, .swf, etc. should be completely avoided. You may send large attachments, but send them to people who may be expecting them.

XI. Ensure that Your DKIM & SPF are Setup Properly

This is one of the easiest and most proficient ways to keep your emails from hitting the spam box. You will find SPF and DKIM in your domain name system (DNS) settings.

SPF is Sender Policy Framework: This indicates which mail servers are authorized to send email for a particular domain. If email servers find that emails are coming from an unauthorized mail server, they are automatically marked as spam.

DKIM is Domain Keys Identified Mail: This adds a digital signature to emails that you send. Email servers perform a check. If the signature matches a signature registered on their servers, it is from a legitimate domain name.

XII. Use Reputed Email delivery services

All this mentioned above can be a real daunting process…that’s absolutely why we are here. There are several open servers that send email campaigns, but email deliverability cannot be assured. Always use a reputed email delivery service like LeadSquared.

You can send email campaigns with better delivery and tracking capabilities. There are a dozens of ready to use email templates to choose from for newsletters, product promotions, offers and much more. Our DIY HTML editor will let you create professional templates in a jiffy. You can also keep track of your leads which are engaging with your email campaigns.

Got any suggestions? I would love to hear them. Please leave me a comment. :)

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