1. Avoid Purchased Lists
Purchased lists are ticking time bombs, waiting to devastate your reputation as a sender. Overwhelmed with dead emails and spam traps, they quickly inform mailbox providers that you break the rules by sending unsolicited emails.
At best, your messages may end up in junk folders. At worst, you may be branded as a spammer.
2. Watch What You Say
Spam filters analyze your content. There are no magic keywords to enhance deliverability, but limiting the use of risky words—such as free, buy, promo, etc.—reduces the likelihood of your emails landing in the spam folder.
- Link only to legitimate sites with reputable domains.
- Avoid large email size.
- Balance the image-to-text ratio.
- Host your images at credible services only.
3. Team Up With A Reliable ESP
Email Service Providers (ESP) are evaluated as senders based on the reputation of the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and domains of their clients.
Unfortunately, ESPs with low scores on the IP addresses of their senders are destined for spam folder delivery. Eventually, they will be blocked by the providers like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Hotmail.
4. Get Certified
If you are on a dedicated IP space, you should definitely look at the certification provided by a company called Return Path. Once they audit your mailing practices, you can get a Sender Score Certified status which will guarantee that you inbox at most of the major ISPs out there.
5. Avoid Dirty Tricks
Avoid doing the below actions:
- Hashbusting: Inserting random characters in the subject line or content to fool spam filters, e.g. “F.ree. p.r!z.e”
- Deceptive Subject Lines: Starting the subject line with “Re:” or “Fwd:” to suggest an ongoing communication with the sender.
- Misleading Claims: Subject line stating that the recipient has won a prize, while the copy lists conditions that have to be met in order to claim it.
- Image Text: Concealing a text message in an image to fool spam filters.
6. Email Whitelist
Your Email Marketing Service (EMS) asks mailbox providers, such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail, to whitelist your domain or Internet Protocol (IP) address. That is why it’s important to send marketing emails through a reputable EMS, rather then sending emails from your own email server or email account.
When confirming your new subscribers (e.g. via a welcome email), ask them to add your “From” address to their address books. It is a foolproof way to release all future emails from the constraints of the spam filters.
7. It Matters Where You’re “From”
Mailbox providers evaluate more than just the sender’s IP, domain and content. Yahoo! Mail, in particular, pays close attention to your From field addresses.
- Avoid frequent changes of From field names
- Avoid obscure From field names, such as: “[email protected]”, “[email protected]”
- Use clear, trustworthy From field names, such as: “[email protected]”, “[email protected]”, “[email protected]”, [email protected]”
8. No Risk, No Problem
Your email campaigns may contain risky elements that are detrimental to the deliverability of your messages. Here’s a brief checklist to go through before you hit the “Send” button:
- Be careful with words associated with the language of sales. If overused, they may trigger spam filters and route your emails to junk folders. Risky words include: “prize”, “free”, “bonus”, “buy, “purchase”, “order” etc.
- Common sense will tell you that one exclamation mark per sentence is enough. Never shout at your subscribers, (e.g. “Buy my e-book now!!!”). Exclamation marks are especially risky in email subject lines.
- Never overdo the use of “ALL CAPS.” When emphasis is needed, use a maximum of one word per sentence in all capitals, never a whole sentence.
9. Monitor Your Deliverability
Want an easy way to monitor deliverability that costs you nothing? Add a “seeded” list of email addresses using ISPs that your customers use most often, such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL, and Hotmail.
Set up approximately 5 mailboxes at each provider then include the seed email addresses in your mailing list. After each newsletter is deployed, log in to each seed account and verify whether the email was delivered successfully by that provider.
10. Stay In Touch
Sending emails once every two or three months can be more detrimental than sending multiple emails daily.
If subscribers fail to recognize the From field, they may delete your message.
There are lots of good reasons for maintaining a steady flow of communication, rather than relying on infrequent, massive “blasts.”