You work hard on your email campaigns and newsletters, so you want those emails to reach your audience! However, more often than is ideal, emails end up in your subscriber’s spam folder. In this article, I’ll provide you with 5 ways to avoid the spam folder and reach your audience’s inboxes.
1. Understand how spam filters work
Spam filters are not the enemy; they are a necessary evil. Over 200 billion spam emails are sent per day, and they constitute over 90% of messages sent around the world. Without spam filters, we would never be able to use email as a relevant communication tool. So, now that we know spam filters are a package deal with email marketing, how can we avoid them? The best way is by understanding how they work. For that, I recommend using Mail-tester.
Mail-tester is a tool to analyze your newsletter and see how spam filters might react to it. All you need to do is send a copy of your newsletter to the email address provided by the tool. For example, in the image above, you would send your newsletter to [email protected]. Once you have sent the email, click on “Check your Score”. Mail-tester will give you a report where you can see how likely your email will end up in your subscriber’s inbox rather than in their spam folder.
Mail-tester will also provide you with suggestions to increase your chances of avoiding the spam folder. For example, to modify the ratio of images to text, or to make sure that your DKIM and SPF records are provided by your DNS host.
2. Send newsletters from your own domain
In general, it is not a good idea to send emails in bulk from your @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, or @gmail.com account. You should personalize an email address at your own domain, for example, [email protected], and then verify that email address with your sending host (i.e. Boldermail, Mailchimp). In addition, you should verify your domain (for example, www.boldermail.com) by adding DKIM and SPF records to your DNS host. Once you have started sending emails from a specific email address, or you have verified your domain, you should not make any further changes to the names. Otherwise, you will not avoid the spam folder since the filters won’t recognize the new sender of the emails.
3. Only send emails to users who opted-in to your list
We’ve seen a large number of posts online about buying lists, and then cold emailing them. This is a bad idea! Not only are you spamming these users, but you are also destroying your reputation. Email providers like Yahoo and Gmail keep track of who sends the emails and how many times those emails are marked as spam. Even if you decide to use an organically grown list in the future, the reputation of your email and your domain may be so tainted, you won’t be able to contact those who willingly opted in. The takeaway? Don’t use purchased lists.
4. Let people unsubscribe and show them your contact information
In order to comply with International Spam Laws, you MUST include a visible option to let your readers unsubscribe in every one of your emails. In addition, you should provide them with your contact information so they know who is writing to them. You can discretely include both at the bottom of your emails.
5. Make sure your list is nice and healthy
Keep and eye on the bounce and complaint (marked as spam) rate of your list. The ratio of emails you send per week to the amount of bounces should be under 5%, and the ratio to the amount of marked as spam complaints under 0.1%.
If you are getting a large amount of bounces, check how you are growing your audience. This situation would mean most of the emails you are getting are invalid. If you get a large amount of spam complaints, it’s time to rethink your email marketing strategy to avoid getting complaints from your readers. A good way to avoid spam complaints is to remind your users how they signed up for your list in the first place. You can include this in the footer of your email template.
Avoiding spam filters is not an exact science. Each email hosting provider has their own spam filters, so what may work for one may not work for the other. The steps featured in this article should give a general idea of how to avoid ending up in the dreaded spam folder. For the most part, as long as you are honest, work to organically obtain your subscribers’ emails, and write sincere and useful newsletters to them, you are good to go!