Email marketing – how to keep emails away from the spam folder?
29.08.2017 by Anna Samarüütel
On our blog, we have talked a lot about how to make email marketing more effective. We have shared some tips to increase the open-rate and the click-rate. Also, we have given ideas how your email should look like to be attractive and easily readable for the reader. It’s essential to keep in mind that email marketing is a continuous activity that helps to develop a relationship with the reader.
Still, there’s one important aspect you should pay attention to – email marketing doesn’t work if your emails are counted as spam. So, this time I share some tips how to minimize the risk that your emails end up in the spam folder. But first, we have to understand, what is spam and why sometimes the emails (even for your existing clients) land on the spam folder.
What is SPAM?
An email is considered as spam when two conditions are met at the same time:
- the email you’re sending is a mass email;
- the receiver hasn’t given the approval to get such emails.
Email marketing is sometimes used for malicious purposes. As a result, spam filters have become more and more aggressive. So, every marketer’s goal should be not to get to the spam blacklist. Keep in mind that an IP address from where the mass email is sent, a domain or a certain email address could end up on the spam blacklist.
Why is the engagement of the recipients important?
With the help of spam filters, the receiver’s mail server uses data to understand if the email is valuable or spam. In addition, more and more attention is paid to how the recipients respond to the emails from specific IP or email address. The following engagement metrics are taken into account:
- email opens;
- clicks on the links;
- how many people marked the email as spam;
- how many people deleted the email;
- how long do the recipients keep the email open;
- email forwards.
Together with spam metrics, engagement metrics define if your mass emails are counted as spam or not. For example, if only a few people open your emails and click on the links or if a lot of the recipients delete your email and mark them as spam, it’s quite clear for the spam filters that your email may be spam or not desired. Vice versa, when the open-rate and the click-rate are high, the reputation of your IP address or domain rises. If your reputation is constantly high, there’s no need to worry your emails end up in the spam folder.
How to minimize the risk that your emails end up in the spam folder?
1) Take care of your mailing list’s quality
Experienced marketers know that a clean and up-to-date mailing list (contact list) increases the conversion rate. The reaction to your emails is better (more people open your email and click on the links) because you send your emails to the people who wish to get emails like that. As a result, you keep the reputation of your domain and IP high.
Some tips to increase the quality of your mailing list:
- If you use a contact form on your website, let your subscribers know what kind of information they’re going to receive. The goal should be that only these people sign up who are truly interested in your info.
- Use double opt-in when you collect contacts by forms. Double opt-in means that a person has to confirm the subscription through the link which is sent to his email. This way you can be sure that the person is interested in communicating with you. Also, double opt-in helps to understand if the email is submitted correctly.
- According to HubSpot’s data, mailing lists decay at a rate of 23% per year. The email addresses expire or people may lose interest in your info. To keep your list up-to-date, keep an eye on the hard bounce. Delete the hard bounce contacts from your database. That way they don’t have a negative effect on your email statistics.
- Make it easy to unsubscribe from your mailing list. There’s no point of sending letters to contacts that are not interested. This has a positive effect on your engagement. Also, the reputation of your domain and IP improves.
- Use A/B testing to test the heading, content, and timing of your email. A/B testing helps to understand what brings the best results. Using the knowledge you get from A/B testing, again, improves the engagement of your email marketing.
- A lot of marketers have used special landing pages to renew the mailing list. On these special landing pages, existing contacts have to renew their contact information or even add new information.
2) Use your own domain
For email marketing, I recommend you to use an email address with your own domain. Definitely don’t use free email services, like hotmail.com. The email address with your own company’s domain is certainly more trustworthy.
3) Assure that your domain is real and sender authentic (DKIM and SPF)
If you use an email address with your own domain, you have to verify that your domain and email is real. A lot of spam filters don’t let emails without DKIM verification through. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is an email authentication method designed to detect email spoofing. A lot of email marketing platforms allow to easily verify DKIM. For example, we use SharpSpring marketing automation platform, which has a professional email marketing option. If we verify the emails with our clients’ domains, we ensure that we have the right to send out emails from these domains.
In addition, the receiver’s mail server controls the sender’s authenticity. By configuring the SPF (Sender Policy Framework) you can determine which IP addresses can send out emails from your domain. By using SPF you can make sure that no one is using an email with your domain maliciously.
If you need help with the verification of DKIM or SPF, contact us! WSI’s team is happy to help!
4) Use the spam controller
When you still hesitate, if everything is done correctly, you can always test the quality of your email with spam controller. A spam controller gives you an overview of your email spam metrics and recommends what you should change to minimize the risk of spammyness of your emails.
Even if your email meets all the anti-spam standards, there’s no guarantee that your email lands successfully in the recipient’s inbox and not in the spam folder. Still, if you follow the suggestions I shared in this blog, you can maximize the probability that your newsletters will reach your contacts.