As receivers of email ourselves, we’ve all been guilty of this at some stage; immediately pressing ‘delete’ when we see a message we assume is no more than an attempt to gain our attention for some kind of nefarious purpose. Often, those emails are exactly the opposite of spam and sent with the best intentions, but something makes us decide otherwise.
So, the perennial question in email marketing has become: ‘how do I avoid my emails being dismissed as spam?’.
Firstly, we all know what a true spam message looks like. It may do an admirable job at deceiving with attractive design and use of seemingly official logos, but the clues are there. A suspicious-looking sender address, hint of translation or request for personal details are the usual suspects. With that in mind, you’re unlikely to fall foul of such practices, but there are several things you can do to ensure your marketing emails end up where they belong, rather than being diverted to the junk folder.
1. Always ask permission
Let’s get back to basics. If you don’t ask for permission before adding someone to your mailing list, you’re going to sail into choppy waters at some stage. Purchasing lists and the temptation to bulk add a bunch of existing customer email addresses into your email campaign list may seem like a quick win, but both options could have drastically negative consequences.
If people receive your email and question how on earth it has landed in their inbox, they may report you as spam. And that perhaps seems unfair (why don’t they just click unsubscribe?), but you can avoid this scenario entirely by always asking permission before sending.
2. Use the right sender name
Assuming you’ve asked permission to send emails to someone and they’ve duly accepted, you’re liable to throw all that hard work directly down the drain if you fail to announce yourself correctly.
Picking the right sender name is vital. If your email shows up with ‘Info’ or ‘Sales’ in the ‘from’ field (most email clients will simply take the word before the ‘@‘ if nothing else exists), you’ll almost definitely get dismissed as spam.
Always use your company name or the name of the team from which the email originates and include a relevant reply-to address, even if it is ‘noreply’. For example:
3. Use a consistent voice
The text on your website will be written in such a way that it adds a certain character to the business. Whether that be slickly-corporate or irreverent and tongue in cheek, it’s advisable to use the same voice within your email marketing messages.
In doing so, the recipients familiar with your tone of voice will immediately recognise you. If you choose an entirely different digital persona for this form of marketing (and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with doing so if you need to), there’s a chance you’ll make some people question its legitimacy.
4. Check that spelling and grammar!
If there’s one thing that sets junk email apart from the rest, it’s the presence of poorly constructed sentences and glaring errors.
You’ll be doing this anyway – obviously – but ensure you leave no stone unturned when it comes to a full grammar and spell check of your email copy.
5. Be transparent
Don’t play games with email messages – that’s what junk mail does. It attempts to lure you in by being unclear as to what the offer on the table is and never appears to get to the point.
Your message should be transparent and deliver on the promise contained within the subject line immediately, like so:
6. Segment and be relevant
If you can send someone an email that speaks directly to them and appears to have been tailored to answer a very specific question they have, the word ‘spam’ will be far from their minds. That’s why personalisation in emails and the desire to segment databases to better define subscribers is absolutely vital in the modern age.
Everything above takes time – there’s no escaping that fact, but it’s some of the best time you’ll spend. After all, if you send an email campaign out haphazardly and without giving it a proper spam-check, no one will read it, and that means you’ve wasted an inordinate amount of time.