Email deliverability. It is a common problem, you start sending business emails, doing some email marketing and using your business email. Suddenly, someone tells you that your emails are going to the junk folder or are being labeled as spam by their email software (Outlook, Thunderbird or whichever the person happens to use). Your business depends on being able to communicate with its customers, so you go into crisis mode. Start calling your hosting company, your web developer, and start asking everyone you know about it. Congratulations, you now have an “email deliverability” problem.
The big question, how to avoid your emails landing on the Junk Folder? (and become a trusted sender)
Due to the nature of firewalls, blacklists and other spam blocking services and tools, it is possible that your emails end up in the junk folder through no fault of your own. And once your emails start being marked as “spam”, things get progressively more difficult. This is one of the most difficult parts of email marketing and where most campaigns fail.
The following tips will help you avoid spam lists and in some cases may even take you out of the spam filters and help get your emails delivered. Keep in mind that the best solutions are very expensive and require a higher level of expertise, these tips are simply some general recommendations to help improve your deliverability before you go invest in something more complicated.
It is important test before you send
A good test is to send emails to a gmail, hotmail/outlook, yahoo and a regular office email accounts (viewed in an outlook client). Send the test email(s) using the exact same server and information that you’ll use with your main list. If your email is flagged as spam in any of those cases, it means it is very likely your email messages will end in people’s junk or spam folders. This test allows you to test different subject lines and content which may also land you on the wrong place.
Ask and you shall receive: Become a Trusted Contact
It is users’ behaviour in large part what determines if your emails will be flagged as spam or not. Being on people’s contact list, address book or friend list ensures your emails land always in their inbox. Also, this is another way to tell spam filters your domain or IP is not a junk email sender. Whenever possible, encourage your contacts to add you to their safe senders list.
Think White Lists
It is simple in principle, but harder than it looks, but if you get into Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! lists of approved senders, that takes you a long distance. Once you’re on those lists, you’ll almost always go into the inbox. However, a particularly spammy email can remove you from the lists. Its a frustrating process, however its well worth it if your business needs a safe email address.
Careful what you type
It is basic. Watch what you write, this is true in search engine optimization, it is true in email marketing. What you write is the main reason why your emails may end up in the wrong folder. Remember these pointers below:
- Don’t overuse the word “free”. If used to often it is a strong spam signal.
- ALL CAPS means screaming. Use them wisely if you must.
- Colored fonts not only hurt your eyes, they tend to be used by spammers to attract attention.
- Avoid exaggerated punctuation. Over use of exclamation marks is not a good idea.
- Words like Viagra, drugs, porn, guaranteed winner are a sure fire way to get you flagged.
The Big Picture
Embedding images in an email is always attractive, however, avoid using one large image instead of content. Spam filters tend to dislike and mistrust emails with a large image, mainly because it is not possible to parse the content to figure out if it is spam or ham. Large images can be used to hide spammy messages and is a cheap way of avoiding detection by spam filters, hence, filters flag it as a possible spam email. If a spam filter can’t read your email, the program assumes its spam… why else would you hide your content?
Get a dedicated IP address (for your email, not your website)
A lot of the times the issues is not your domain, but the server your emails are hosted in. Your server may be shared and have bad websites that are flagged as spam and as a consequence, the IP is flagged. Most hosting companies work to avoid this, but inevitably, people make mistakes and you get affected. Having a dedicated IP address ensures a clean record (as in no record at all) and it is yours to do good or bad.
It is not a perfect easy solution though. This begins to get into the expert solution side as there are several considerations in getting a brand new dedicated IP. First, if you plan on sending mass email, we recommend against it, always recommend a third party service for this situation. Second, new means no reputation. And while it is neutral, misuse or mistakes can just as easily turn your reputation negative as much as it can be made into positive.
Still need help?
At SearchEngineOp we can help you get your emails delivered. Contact us and get an expert diagnosis of your situation.