Ever wondered how email messages get flagged as spam? For every email campaign you create, there is a possibility that up to 20% of the emails you send will wind up flagged as spam. The responsibility can be shared by indiscriminate spam filters and poorly constructed newsletters, but the bottom line for businesses is determining what factors will doom your email campaign to the spam folder and how you can prevent it from happening.

Even legitimately requested confirmation emails can be tagged as spam if they make these mistakes:

1.     Include too many references to typical spam topics.

Spammers love to entice readers with free stuff, making lots of money, mortgage pitches, urgent information and money back guarantees. When a spam filter detects this wording in an email, it assigns point values for each reference. If you must refer to these topics, use them sparingly in order to stay under the “This is spam” limit.

2.     Incorporate spammy wording or formatting.

Phrases such as “free gift,” “once in a lifetime,” or “click here” all receive spam points, especially when written in all caps or accompanied by lots of exclamation points. Test your email for effectiveness using eConnect Email’s inbox previews tools to evaluate each message for spammy red flags.

3.     Fail to use recipient’s full name.

Most mail servers will give you a free pass out of the spam folder if you have been added to the user’s address book, if they have emailed you, or if you use their full name in your email. By requiring recipients to provide both first and last names when they sign up for your newsletter, you can ensure that your messages reach their inbox.

4.     Purchase an email list.

This is the cardinal sin of email marketing. Not only is it unethical business practice, but it will also result in lots of bounces and spam complaints. Instead, collect your emails using double opt-in procedures to ensure that the majority of your customers will be expecting your newsletter. At eConnect Email, we take your email list seriously, and we’ve provided a variety of tools that will keep it up to date and targeted, including custom fields and demographics, individual contact histories, suppression lists, and effective list cleansing.

5.     Fail to include an unsubscribe link

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 requires businesses to include a working unsubscribe link in every email. The link also benefits you by helping target your email list toward those customers most likely to read and remember your messages.

Takeaway

Spam filters hold the power of life and death for your email marketing campaign, but you can stay on their good side by acting upon the five suggestions above when putting together your next email campaign.

About James Trumbly:
Director of Business Development for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. James enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling in his free time. Follow him on twitter @eConnectEmail