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How to avoid the spam filter in 8 easy steps

Don't land yourself in spam
Avoiding the Spam box when sending out your email marketing is a tricky subject that comes up regularly with mmunic’s clients. Unfortunately there isn’t a black and white answer for this as avoiding the Spam box is no exact science. Triggers change daily and the rules are different for every individual inbox. What went into your inbox yesterday may get flagged as Spam today. You might get marketing emails directly to your inbox but your recipient may have applied settings so that he never sees any marketing content.

So what’s the point in spending time writing and creating beautiful emails to deliver your company’s message if you never know whether it’s going to see the light of day or not? Fortunately there are several extra steps for marketers to keep in mind when building and formatting marketing email campaigns to avoid the Spam box. Ground control at mmunic can help you avoid Spam triggers with our email marketing best practices and list of Spam words to avoid. The below points are what we regularly share with our clients to keep you one step ahead of the dreaded Spam box.

1. Design your email carefully

The format of an email campaign can affect its deliverability. Make sure you have 80% text and 20% image as an all text email will almost certainly land in Spam, as will an email that is made up of one large image. In addition, responsive template design is becoming increasingly important for businesses. As we move into an age where the adoption of smart phones and tablets is increasing, businesses need to send email which can be dynamically change its format to render appropriately on different devices.

2. Include a plain text version

Plain text versions of your email are very important and play a significant role in your email marketing strategy. We recommend that you always include a plain text version when sending HTML emails to not only to keep you out of Spam boxes but some recipient’s email clients may not support or render HTML properly also some recipients may just prefer to receive text only messages. So a plain text backup of your email is always a good idea as it ensures that all recipients can access the content.

3. Don’t overuse exclamation marks or CAPITAL LETTERS!!!!

There’s no need to SHOUT at people! Where possible exclamation marks should be avoided all together. Too much focus on urgency can land you in Spam. Instead look at writing copy with better emphasis on your message or use a CTA button if you want something to stand out more. Much like with exclamation marks, writing in all caps to create emphasis will get your emails flagged as Spam. Well written content and subject lines get better open rates, and decrease your chances of landing in the depths of a Spam box.

4. Give your images relevant alt tags

Every email browser and account is different, so there’s a good chance you’re sending an email to someone who won’t be able to see images when they first open it. How will they know what information your images are providing? Using alt text provides a text alternative in the instance your images aren’t there, which is especially useful if you’re providing a link too. Not hiding information in images boosts your chances of hitting an inbox and contributes to text/image ratio.

There are many things that can alert spam triggers

5. Regularly cleanse your lists

Good list hygiene helps to look after your domain reputation. If you keep sending to subscribers who have bounced or haven’t opened an email in months, your domain will eventually be recognised as Spammy because people aren’t opening your messages. mmunic mail clients can enjoy our solution’s auto-cleanse system that automatically unsubscribes hard bounces, recognises when a soft bounce becomes a hard bounce, and has easy-to-use segmenting tools.

6. Avoid Spammy words and phrases

Words such as “free” and “income” are obvious Spam words, but there are others that are not so obvious. For example, did you know putting “Dear” as an email greeting is considered Spammy too? If you’re having trouble getting an email out of Spam it’s worth revising your content for trigger words.

7. Test, test and test again!

When you send out your email to your entire database you are sending out an email to many different email clients on many different operating systems which can all render email marketing differently, so checking that you are satisfied with how the email looks in your editor may not be enough. You can manually test your emails across several different clients however we recommend that you use an email testing tool which allows you test every email across countless devices. mmunic mail integrates with Litmus and enables you to preview your email in 70+ environments with one click, as well as scan for potential Spam issues, broken links, images, and more.

8. It’s never a good idea to buy email lists

Expanding your business takes time and is very hard work so it’s understandable that people are tempted to make shortcuts. Purchasing an email list might seem like an ideal shortcut at the time but can land you in some serious hot water with your email marketing as they can be littered with out-dated email addresses honeypots and spam traps.

In short if you are sending out an email to any recipient they should have given you explicit permission to do so and it's great to have a list of 50,000 names – but you need to put this into its right context. If those people aren’t interested in what you have to say, then how much are they really worth to you? Don’t ruin your sending reputation by being repeatedly marked as spam by recipients who don’t know who you are and may not be interested in your business. Remember the golden rule: always target the right users, with the right messaging, at the right time.

Originally featured as a guest article by Lisa Winter at Conversion Uplift.

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