Avoid Having Your Email Being Marked As Spam

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April 9th, 2010

One major step in a successful email marketing campaign is to actually get your emails delivered so they can be read. Here’s a handy list of several things to ensure your emails won’t be sent to the spam folder by email services (like Yahoo and Gmail).

Spam Complaints

Email services (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) are getting more spam-adverse every day. If the people you send emails to mark your message as spam, the email services will take notice.

Email services put up with a certain level of users being spam-button-happy. But if they get too many spam complaints from your email recipients, then they’re not only going to stop sending your emails through to those people–they’ll stop delivering your emails to everyone.

Furthermore, you won’t just get your email address flagged as spam, but they will reject anything coming from your IP address. All the major servers will do this: Yahoo, Gmail, MSN/Hotmail, etc.

Email Content No-No’s

It all starts with the content of your email. Some words and phrases will potentially get your email rejected, regardless of whether it’s actually spam or not. Things to avoid in the subject line and content of your email:

1. FREE. The word “free”, especially in all caps, is a BIG RED FLAG. That’s one reason you see emails break up the word “FREE” into F*R*E*E and FR-EE. Email providers have caught on to this trick. The word “free” isn’t necessarily bad, but phrases like “free membership,” “free money” and “financial freedom” are BIG RED FLAGS as well.

2. Punctuation. More than two !! in a row is going to get you marked as a spammer.

3. ALL CAPS. Sometimes you want to put a little emphasis in your message. Occasionally using ALL

4. CAPITAL LETTERS is not bad. Just don’t leave the “caps lock” key engaged all the time. Take a step back, and then type your message using lower-case letters just like you would do in any other normal communication.

5. MLM. It’s unfortunate, but mentioning “MLM,” “multi-level marketing,” “network marketing” or “business opportunity” will get you marked as spam.

6. Flagged Terms. Terms like “make money,” “make millions,” and multiple “$$$” are all red flags. Any mention of cheap medication, erectile drugs and other common spam fodder will definitely get you thrown into the spam category.

7. Images. If a significant portion of your message is built from images, then providers are going to assume you are trying to slip something past them; spammers often try to hide the content of their message using words in an image.

Pick the Right Email Provider

Often, users will sign up with what looks to be a perfectly legitimate email provider, only to find out that all their messages go straight to spam. Is this because the user is a spammer? No. It’s because they use an email provider that has been flagged as producing a lot of spam. For example, if you manage your email list through a paid service that sends a lot of spam (somebody else’s spam), there is a high degree of likelihood that everything coming from that provider will be marked as spam (including your emails).

1. Make sure your email marketing manager or partner requires (or at least highly encourages) double opt-ins. This will cut down on spam significantly.

2. Ask how they deal with too many spam complaints. For example, the strategic partners used by Richter7 are all very good about keeping spammers out of their systems. They will actually call somebody if they get more than .1% spam complaints over several emails.

3. Ask what is being done to keep in good graces with email services like Yahoo and Gmail. For example, one of Richter7’s main partners actively maintains a good relationship with all the email services to keep any emails sent through them “whitelisted”. Because of this relationship, our clients get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to accepting or rejecting emails.

It’s Easy to Get Your Email Delivered

This may all seem like a lot, but the main thing to remember is to write valuable, relevant emails, send them to people who want to hear from you and use a reputable partner.

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