…I can’t help myself when it comes to a Monty Python reference.
Over the past month, there’s been some interesting stuff going by about email deliverability. We’ve even noticed perfectly harmless emails have been going into our Spam folders:
“Deliverability” means the ability of an email to reach people’s inbox, without getting stuck in spam. Email providers are becoming increasingly strict about filtering and security issues, which makes sense in light of cybersecurity and hacking issues over the past couple years. Getting stuck in spam is a nightmare for marketers, and there are a few different reasons why this might happen. Some issues are external, such as the send address or other addresses in your list. Other issues are within the email itself. If you feel like your emails are getting sent to spam, here are a few fixes to consider:
How are you sending emails? Most people use Email Service Providers (such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc) to send newsletters and marketing content. The good thing about this is many of those services recognize the bare minimum compliance requirements and if for some reason your email isn’t adding up, they force you to fix it before sending.
What Email Address are you using? According to this article, some places will consider you spam simply for using a “free” email address (like if you create a free gmail account). Instead, it’s recommended that you use an email address associated with your domain, i.e. “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Have you looked at your subscribers lately? Sometimes, people abandon or deactivate email addresses. But, when you’re still trying to send emails to these accounts (usually they show up as bounced), it reflects poorly on you, and you may get marked as a “bad sender.” To avoid this, check your email campaign reports. If there’s an address that has bounced 2-3 times, remove it from the list. It’s like weeding a garden- the work may seem tedious, but the overall health of the garden/your email marketing will benefit.
How are people added to your list? A general email best practice is letting people opt-in to your emails. Otherwise, they may not remember how they were added to your list, and mark you as spam. An even better method than opt-in: double opt-in. This is where a person enters their email address on your website, and is sent a confirmation link to finish the subscription process. It may feel like an annoying extra step, but it’s a good way to weed out the people who are REALLY interested in hearing from you.
Another way to avoid being marked as spam is making sure it is easy to unsubscribe. Although it may seem counterintuitive, it’s far better for uninterested people to unsubscribe rather than mark you as spam.
Does your message contain any of the following?
- Short Links: In an email newsletter, these can actually cause more harm than good (and some ESPs won’t let you use them at all).
- Extra Code: If you use a different program to lay out and design your newsletter, and copy/paste the code, this often adds a lot of extra code that is considered spam.
- Java or Flash Player
- Certain spam trigger words
If you believe your emails are heading right to the spam folder, these suggestions are a good starting point for troubleshooting. No one wants their hard work to be casually marked as “Junk,” after all!