The email marketing blog
  • You’ve done all your research, sourced a good contact list and seem to have put together a tight campaign. But the last thing you want is your emails landing straight into the junk folder.

    In an industry like email marketing, where everything is driven by whether the recipient opens the email, it is vitally important that the recipient at least sees the email.

    So, to help you out, we have put together 10 tips to avoid the junk folder and have your emails flying straight into your recipients’’ inbox.

    1. Check that you are not on any blacklists – Check public blacklists of known sources of spam to make sure you are not on them.

    2. Send confirmation email after subscription – The first thing to do when new people sign up to receive your emails or newsletter is to send them a message confirming that they want to be signed up,, to ensure they weren’t enrolled by someone else. My mother taught me to have good manners – doesn’t that include welcoming people on board when you meet them to introduce yourself?!

    3. Encourage your customers to add you as a friend or contact – Once you have been added to the contact list, address book etc, you will always end up in their inbox. People tend to engage with 10 – 20 newsletters, make sure you’re poised to capitalise on anyone who slips off the list.

    4. Break larger lists into smaller ones – one of the many reasons to do this is because this will mean the spam complaints you will receive (even from loyal subscribers) won’t be in one mass. The more spam complaints you receive, the more likely email providers will add you to the blacklist.

    5. Provide a clear “unsubscribe” link at the top – The hope is that this link won’t be used too often, but a clear link means that if for any reason recipients no longer want to receive your emails, they would be less likely to get frustrated and mark you as spam/junk. The damage potential of this is enormous, and people don’t realise the impact it can have – encourage them to use this link instead, and everybody wins.

    6. Avoid using image-based emails – One of the many reasons why doing this could be bad for business is that spammers often use image-based emails to bypass filters designed to pick out emails with any blacklisted words (you know what I mean). So when a spam reader cannot read any real text and only sees an image, it assumes the worst.

    7. Where possible, get yourself on the whitelist – almost all email and Internet service providers have a whitelist, or places you can submit your company’s name. You can also ask subscribers to add your domain name to the whitelists set up on the mail servers and through security companies.

    8. If you can, make sure you “throttle” your emails – Most email providers look to see how many emails you are sending at a time. If you are sending to a large list, have the server “drip” the message out slowly. You really don’t want thousands of emails hitting any one email provider within a short period of time. Make sure you use an email provider that allows them to tweak speed of send. If you need to throttle to make sure you can handle incoming enquiries then make sure you address the business issue as well.

    9. Avoid “spam-like” text – While there’s no one word that will get you blocked, you need to be sensible. It’s always about the bigger picture – you can use ‘spammy’ ” seeming words if all other deliverability issues are fine. The most important thing is to look at it like a reader – when you go through the copy, does it look like spam? Are you using the same kind of language? Limit as many signals as possible that may increase this risk.

    10. Get to know the key deliverability issues – It’s a complex thing, but doesn’t actually shift as much as you might think. Keep checking in and we’ll be expanding on the fuller details of these soon.

    It’s worth mentioning that even if you follow all these steps with religious (almost fundamentalist) fervour that doesn’t mean your email won’t end up in the spam folder. It just means your emails will reach the promise land of the inbox more often than not.

    There are so many things about spam filters that you have no control over but it is important to cover as many bases as you can because once the email provider thinks your email is spam, it is very hard to get back into the inbox.

     

  • http://www.forbesbaxter.co.uk Steve Baxter

    Hi Tink
    Another great post, thanks.
    One question about blacklists though. I notice that all dotMailer's Custom From Domains share the same IP address. I didn't know that before today! With that in mind, is there actually anything we can do to to prevent ourselves ending up on a blacklist? Or is it out of our hands?
    Steve

  • dotMailer

    Indeed all custom from domains resolve to the same IP. However there’s no issue with this and you wouldn’t expect to set it up any other way .

    Note you are either blacklist by domain (not IP) or rather the actual SMTP IP that delivered an email, this is one of the advantages of having your own sending domain rather than using a generic one and being at risk of activities of other users sharing the generic domain.

    This is not to be confused with the sending IP address, which can be blacklisted. For this reason we have many tools that let us monitor all our sending IPs for presence on any blacklists, and have a good relationship with many major blacklists to ensure we have no problems.

    It is also worthy of note that if you simply email in a support ticket the team can we can set up your custom from domain to forward the WWW part of the DNS record to a page of your choice.