Damn spam! What it takes to not be one of those email marketers

We all know what spam is. Those unsolicited, mass-marketed emails that aren't relevant. At least a dozen or so land in our inbox every day, unless you are one of those religious email delete-and-unsubscribe types (a rare breed!).

On the other end of those emails is a marketer convinced that you need to hear their message. They know they can help you. If only you would listen!

This article is dedicated to those marketers. The ones that are sure they are doing everything right and still, somehow, getting completely ignored. We're going to talk you through the email journey, and how to overcome the spam brick wall in your path.

First, you need to survive cyber space

Before you even contemplate landing in the inbox, you must remember the single biggest hurdle is the first. Getting your email delivered. Did you know that 10-12% of the emails you send will disappear into cyberspace? Yup, there's robust, automated technologies in place out there to ensure your email doesn't get to the end zone.

So, first, you must tackle the challenge of deliverability.

There are five essential areas to perfect if you want to get past the email deliverability police. These include:

  • Building a respectable reputation
  • Securing your infrastructure
  • Authenticating your email streams
  • Monitoring the emails you send
  • Sending great content.

If you've got no idea where to start when it comes to this, you might want to consider downloading our whitepaper, which covers these steps in depth. Or we have a webinar you can watch.
For those of you who know your deliverability challenges, it's time to look at the next step.

Our second challenge is the spam filter

Clever little things, spam filters. Did you know they talk to each other? Oh yes, they get together in cyberspace and compare notes. Who is overusing the word 'free'? What common phrases are you using in time with seasonal promotions? (You have no idea how many emails don't get delivered on Black Friday!) How often are businesses sending emails?

As well as synching up together, spam filters adapt to email and user behaviour. Words that were considered spam five years ago may no longer be, but the use of emoji's certainly might become spam if we overuse them. Like search engines, spam filters are made to adapt as we change our tactics. That means, there is every likelihood that you are going to get trapped in a spam filter one day and have no idea why.

Simple mistakes to avoid when it comes to spam filters

It doesn't matter if you think your marketing message is on point. If you're making multiple silly little mistakes, it can cost you a tremendously high spam score. Over a certain limit and - WHABAM - you run headfirst into that spam wall.

So, what are these silly little mistakes and how can you avoid them?

Truth be told, the silly little spam mistakes are always evolving but here are some firm favourites we've noted over the years:

  • Using all caps
  • Using too many exclamation or question marks
  • Using 'Dear' at the start of an email (try Hi instead or Good Morning/Afternoon)
  • Using bright red in your email design
  • Not sending a plain text version with your HTML email.

Ok, I think I've caught all the silly little mistakes, WHY am I still being labelled spam?

With spam filters constantly conversing in tech speak, adapting and updating, there is no way to tell if you've definitely caught all the little mistakes in your email message. However, there are tools you can use to help you.

That's right, for one tech tool, there is always another to help you.

Many email marketing platforms have worked hard to create inbox checker tools and email forensic tools that can advise on what is affecting your spam score. From your sending domain to your subject line to your footer!

Yes, that's right, even the legal requirements that are required in your email footer can affect your spam score. In fact, because EVERYONE is including the legal details, these are costing you high spam points! But more about that later...

Our advice is to look at your email marketing platform and see if it is offering you the tools you need to combat the spam filter. Whether they do an inbox check before you send your campaign, or they offer an analysis of what phrases might be caught out. IF they don't offer either, it might be time to look for another provider who can.

It's not just about sending the right message at the right time to the right person. Yes, that is best practice and should be your priority. But if you're not getting into the inbox at all, all your best practice and hard work will be for nothing. You need to know your spam score, and how to combat it if you don't want to be seen as one of those marketers.

Use the tools at your disposal.  

If you'd like to learn more about Email Marketing courses the IDM offer a large portfolio.

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