According to a 2015 Deliverability Benchmark Report by Return Path, one in five emails sent never makes its way to an inbox, likely trapped or blocked by spam filters.
You’ve labored over crafting the perfect content to reach the widest audience. Your eyes are set on the highest CTR prize. You’ve optimized the content for cross-device access. Now, you just need to avoid that virtual version of the circular file—the spam folder, where content goes to die.
Wording wins (or loses) the inbox.
As in every other aspect of content marketing, phrasing matters when it comes to conversions. Although there isn’t a list of keywords that are sure to get your email sent to the dreaded junk folder, limiting the use of risky words like “promo” and “free” maximizes your chances of making it into that inbox.
Shorter is usually better, too. Experts suggest limiting the email’s size to 30kb or so. Marketers can do so by balancing the ratio of text to images, linking to reputable sites and hosting content through credible sources and services.
Ditch the idea of purchasing lists.
The lure of quickly growing a list by purchasing thousands of leads for a few dollars may seem like a good option. However, buying or renting email lists is a risky maneuver that can end badly, with carefully curated content sent to spam folders and a solid reputation as a sender compromised. If you don’t want to be labeled as a spammer, skip the dangling carrot of a purchased email list in favor of compiling your contacts the old-fashioned way.
Take excitement down a notch or two.
Keeping an eye on punctuation can mean the difference between email campaign success or failure. Using exclamation points, especially in the subject line, may put readers off with over-excitement and come across as too sales-y. Similarly, using all caps in the online world is equivalent of yelling at your audience and is a surefire way to make them cringe before they even consider opening your message.
Aim for authenticity in subject lines.
In the past, tricky tactics may have increased deliverability, but today, those same ploys can damage your deliverability ratios. Avoid misleading claims in subject lines, such as telling the recipient that they’ve won a prize. Other unacceptable tricks include using random characters in the subject or adding “Re” or “Fwd” to make it appear as though the message is part of ongoing communication.
Keep your addresses clear and concise.
It’s important that a company clearly represents themselves in their email addresses and other available information. Choose a few recognizable “From” names and build a solid reputation around those handles by sending solicited emails. It’s also a good idea to avoid frequently changing the “From” names and work on building your status for something memorable.
Track bouncers for future campaigns.
It’s inevitable that marketers will encounter recipients who bounce back. Invalid, non-existent and closed email addresses trigger hard bounces and aren’t easy to catch in the early stages of an email campaign. To avoid accumulating too many bounces and getting hit with that spammer label, make a note of addresses that fail and look for company-specific patterns, then do some research to see if you can swap them out for newer contacts.
Ask for permission with opt-in forms.
Never assume that your clients and customers automatically want to receive email communication. Sending promotional messages without permission can confuse and annoy recipients, causing them to mark your content as spam without a second thought. Instead, give your audience the opportunity to sign up or opt-in through a form, tempting them with perks and incentives that you can actually deliver later on.
Goodbye spam, hello audience. While many of the above tactics require some strategy both before and during a campaign, they just might pay off with higher CTRs, loyal subscribers and invaluable data.