Inbox filled with spam

Is your email campaign in the junk folder?

While major advances have been made in social media, search, and mobile marketing, Email Marketing remains a highly effective tool for the modern marketer. Opt-in email marketing campaigns allow direct, informative communication with clients and prospects. But often legitimate communications get blocked by spam filters, preventing users from seeing the newsletters, announcements, and deals they have requested. Deliverability hurdles can hurt honest marketing communications.

To ensure your ideas reach as many inboxes as possible, it’s essential to follow email marketing best practices. Here are some tips for maximizing the deliverability of your email campaigns.

Write Naturally – Don’t Sound Like Spam

This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to unintentionally make mistakes in the title and content of an email message. Excessive uses of caps or odd spellings can trigger spam filters. Additionally phrases like “free!” or “limited-time offer!” may increase your spam score. If these are important ideas to communicate to the receiver, provide a link to your website where this content won’t be penalized.

Use Clean HTML Code

Spam filters look for irregularities in HTML code to find spammers. Sloppy code with poor formatting and empty tags (i.e. <p></p>) are warning flags that could get your email sent to the junk folder. Write your code in a trusted editor and check it over before sending. Caution: copying material from MS Word is almost a surefire way to have errors in your code, as it contains all sorts of hidden formatting. Instead try copying code from a simple text editor like Text Wrangler or Microsoft Notepad.

Include a Plain Text Version

While rich HTML emails can provide a great user experience and opportunity for branding, some receivers will prefer plain text emails. Also, many spammers will skip this step, making this an opportunity to assert your authenticity. Make sure the plain text version matches the text in the HTML email as much as possible. Your email service provider (ESP) bundles these two versions together and the receiver can display the version of her preference.

Manage Image Size

Overly large images are major warning signs to spam filters. Spammers commonly display information in large images instead of text because the filter programs cannot “read” the content. Additionally, large images can make the email bulky. A common rule of thumb is to use 3 smaller images or 2 medium sized images in one email. The general recommendation for an email size is 10-60kb.

Maintain Your Reputation

Every email marketing message you send contributes to your IP address’ “reputation” as a sender. Internet service providers track email performance over time to tell if a source is reputable. Spam complaints, high message volume, high bounce rate, and repeated sending to invalid email addresses can lower your reputation over time. It’s important to monitor email bounce and engagement rates and maintain your list of addresses.

It’s impossible to guarantee that email marketing messages will reach everyone on the list, even if the receivers opt-in. Spam filters are constantly adapting to new techniques and false-positives are inevitable. However, following the best practices for email deliverability is essential for an effective email marketing campaign.

Have any other general tips to help with email campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

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