Email Marketing

The Be Bold Email Marketing Guide | Part 4: spam

Effective email marketing isn’t about how many emails you send, it’s about how effective they are. In this last – but certainly not least – part of our Be Bold Email Marketing Guide, we zoom in a little bit closer on spam.

Did you miss the previous parts of our Be Bold Email Marketing Guide? Part 1 was fully dedicated to the settings of your email. In the second part, you learned everything about the design. And in part 3, we discussed some practical and technical aspects of email marketing. All tremendously important, but today it’s all about spam. And – more specifically – about how you avoid your emails ending up in that dreaded spam folder. Read on!

Spam, what’s in a name?

Let’s take a teeny step back, do we even have to explain what spam is? We are convinced that everyone – yes, everyone – already dealt with spam in one way or another. Oftentimes your inbox recognises these useless messages and sends them straight to the spam folder. But why are certain emails labelled as ‘spam’ and others are not? And how do you bypass spam filters in email marketing?

Before an email ends up in the spam folder, it receives a score. The more points, the higher the spam score. How do you maintain the lowest possible spam score, you ask? By following the rule of thumb: act human.

By the way, you can estimate your spam score way before sending out your emails. We use this Mail Tester tool.

Optimise your email content

Many different factors will make the spam filter’s feelers pop up. No worries, though! You can prevent this by optimising, for example, your email content. By this, we mean everything that has to do with the content of your email.

1. Spam words: in addition to the classic spam words, there are plenty of other words that could potentially trigger the spam filter. Check your email using a spam checker tool like this one by Mailshake.

2. Enthusiastic punctuation: you may think you sound positive, but you just look like an aggressive and insanely direct salesperson.

3. CAPITAL LETTERS: using too many capital letters in your subject line or your email not only looks very pushy, but it’s also an instant trigger for the spam filter.

4. Text/image ratio: balance out the ratio between your text and your images. Too much text is detrimental to your score.

5. Links: don’t use links that are too long, but most certainly don’t use links that simply do not work.

6. Alt text behind images: always add alt text (alternative text) to your images and photos. The alt text describes the visual and improves your score.

7. Reply-to email address: when sending an email, make sure your reply address is valid.

8. Video: avoid video in your email. If you really want to share a video, use a still image and link the video behind it leading your reader to a landing page, YouTube or wherever you uploaded your content. Oh, and also forget about Flash or JavaScript in your email.

9. Spellchecker: no need to paint you a picture, amiright? 😉

Don’t do this: you want to catch the reader’s eye. That’s why your email needs to POP. 🎇 Capital letters, exclamation marks, conspicuous spam words? Bring it on!

Remember the “DON’T MISS OUT!! SAVE €€€ on OUR *NEW* COLLECTION!!!” from the first part of our Be Bold Email Marketing Guide? Yeah, so that’s exactly what we don’t want.

Do this:  act normal, act human. Your recipient’s inbox is often overwhelming enough.

Optimise your contact list

Next up is your contact list. It’s key to include only active email addresses in your email marketing. Still sending emails to inactive email addresses? Well, an Internet service provider might detect this as spam.

Furthermore, only send newsletters to contacts with an opt-in. This way you are 100% sure this specific contact signed up and wants to receive your newsletter and emails.

To keep your contact list squeaky clean, add an additional filter that automatically removes all hardbounces and unsubscribes. A softbounce, on the other hand, we treat as a contact that can transform into an active email address. However, after four soft bounces, your filter will classify the contact as a hard bounce. ❌

Oh, by the way, that unsubscribe link? You better give that one a front-row seat in your email. Why? Because if readers don’t get the chance to unsubscribe and leave, they will definitely mark you as spam. Look at it this way: it’s sad to see them go, but luckily you dodged the spam bullet.

Don’t do this: bounces, unsubscribes? Who cares! Ain’t nobody got time to keep their contact list up to date.

Do this: clean up your lists and filter out any inactive email addresses on a regular basis.  

Optimise your segments

Optimising your segments is a win-win situation for both you and your reader. By segmenting your lists, you’ll only send emails with relevant topics to relevant segments. Meaning, your readers receive information that they actually want to read and are interested in. Which makes them open your emails faster and click through on your CTA more often. And, most importantly, the chances of them unsubscribing are quite slim. Winner winner chicken dinner!

Let’s be honest, if an email isn’t interesting to you, you would hit that unsubscribe button faster than the speed of light. Make sure you keep the promise you gave you reader when they signed up for your newsletters.

Don’t do this: send out a newsletter about collecting stamps to dog moms and dads. There’s got to be someone who’s interested in that as well, right?

Do this: send out an interesting newsletter about the latest innovation in dog food to the dog parents in your contact list.

And there you have it, you’re a real email marketing spam expert now. Or well, at least you know how to bypass the spam filter. FYI, this blog marks the last part of our Be Bold Email Marketing Guide! Haven’t checked out the other parts? Check out part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 over here.

In need of some more tips and tricks about spam filters in email marketing? Or would you like some support and backup while developing your email strategy? Let’s grab a (virtual) coffee and take a quick look at the possibilities together.