Avoiding the Spam Folder

3 out of 5 emails in your inbox are spam — make sure your messages don’t suffer the same fate

Though it may seem a little antiquated in this age of social networking, email marketing is still one of the most effective tools in a well-intentioned marketer’s toolbox. When it comes to reinforcing key messages and driving website traffic, a solid email campaign is a winning strategy. But an email campaign lives and dies on the back of the campaign’s open rate, which can suffer greatly if deliverability is poor.

In January, cybersecurity firm Trustwave reported that 57 percent of inbound emails were spam, and as a result, spam filters worldwide were pushed into overdrive to make sure users were receiving safe, solicited content.

The key to a successful email marketing campaign relies on knowing what triggers these spam filters, ensuring that their message doesn’t get shunted into the forgotten corner of a user’s spam folder.

Here are four practical tips to consider when crafting your company’s next email marketing campaign:

Provide quality content

One of the best ways to avoid the spam folder is to make sure you’re providing content that’s actually valuable to the user. Avoid tactics like excessive linking, sloppy HTML and skewed image-to-text ratio to prevent your message from being flagged as spam. Create engaging, relevant copy, and couch it in quality formatting and design to ensure deliverability.

Be careful with subject lines

Stay away from subject lines that ask users to “buy now,” “sign up” or to claim a “free” offer. Plus, one clear indicator of spam has historically been an overuse of capital letters or punctuation marks. Stick with a straightforward subject line that grabs attention—that, paired with the email being sent from a professional email address that represents the brand, will help boost your open rate.

Prune your list

Make sure you monitor your non-open and bounce rates—it may sound obvious, but users who repeatedly ignore your content likely are no longer interested, and users who aren’t aware of the option to “opt-out” of your email campaigns may even report your messages as spam. Make sure you’re targeting your intended audience by combing through your list and removing inactive users. If you prominently display your “unsubscribe” link, you may even get some help by users self-selecting themselves out of the campaign.

Secure permission

Perhaps the most important element of avoiding the spam folder is to make sure you are targeting users who are willing to receive it. Make sure you secure permission from every recipient and that you manage expectations about how often they’ll hear from you and what kind of content they’ll receive. Making sure you have the user’s permission will go a long way toward increasing your open rate, as well as helping internet service providers identify your message as trustworthy and deliverable.

Matthew Jonas is the President of TopFire Media, an award winning integrated public relations and digital marketing agency specializing in franchise marketing and consumer branding. Together with the leaders of iFranchise Group and Franchise Dynamics, Matthew established TopFire Media to provide a strategic and synchronized method for digital marketing in the franchise industry.

As a digital marketing strategist with over a decade of in-depth experience in SEO & PPC, social media publishing, conversion based marketing, inbound marketing, sales management, and online lead generation, Matthew has built a career dedicated to delivering an integrated marketing approach that achieves client success and long-term relationships.


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