Around the globe, companies today invest heavily in email marketing as a medium to boost their customer engagement, acquire new customers, and more. Email has, and always will remain an indispensable marketing channel for e-commerce, as it helps skyrocket the growth of an online store’s business goals – thanks to its various benefits like exceptional ROI, easy measurability, and tremendous reach. Savvy e-commerce marketers spend quite a bit of their time in creating beautiful emails which have a compelling copy, consistent branding, and catchy imagery – but all of these efforts go in vain if the email is not delivered in the first place..
With evolving laws around commercial emails and spam filters scrutinizing emails more than ever, it is getting tougher and tougher for email marketers to ensure that their non-spam email is delivered. According to Return Path, worldwide, just 79% of commercial emails lands in the inbox. This means for every five emails sent, one never reaches the intended recipient. Instead, it’s either sent to a spam folder or goes missing—most likely blocked by the mailbox provider.
In this article, we have enlisted ten tips you should definitely keep in mind to avoid spam filters and keep your emails from going to spam:
Always Comply With Legal Requirements
Every country has a certain set of rules and requirements in place to ensure use of email for commercial or marketing purposes may not be violated. In order to avoid spam filters, always comply with the legal requirements. United States follows the CAN-SPAM Act, which is around since 2003 and sets the following requirements for all commercial emails (any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service), violation of these requirements is subject to penalties of up to $40,654 per email sent:
Don’t use false or misleading header information
Don’t use deceptive subject lines
Identify the message as an ad
Tell recipients where you’re located
Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future email from you
Honor opt-out requests promptly
Monitor what others are doing on your behalf
To learn more, visit the FTC website.
Avoid Using Spam Trigger Words And Phrases
One of the most popular ways to avoid spam filters is to steer clear of using certain words and phrases which are associated with spam emails or phishing attacks. These are words which are sure to raise a red flag for spam filters when used in an email. Following is a list of words which you should try to avoid using in your email copy or subject line.
In case you’re looking for more, check out this list of more than 400 common spam-trigger words and phrases.
Ask Your Recipients To Add You As A Contact
You must have received emails from your favorite brands, companies, and blogs asking you to add their email address to your contact list in order to never miss an email from them. Although rarely practiced, this is an easy and foolproof way to ensure delivery from a specific email address and avoid spam filters. It’s a sure shot way to bypass spam filters and getting an email address whitelisted. Here is a typical example of United Airlines asking their subscribers to add United’s ‘from’ email address to their address book:
Regularly Clean Your Email List
Pruning your email list of addresses which are no longer in use, non-existent etc. is highly recommended to keep a check on email deliverability rates. Email addresses which haven’t engaged in a long time can have a negative effect on your complaint rate, as ISPs base complaint rates on active subscribers and not total subscribers.
As explained by Hubspot, suppose your email to 1,000 addresses arrives at 400 inboxes and generates 10 complaints. You might think their complaint rate is only 1% (10 / 1,000); however, an ISP will compute a rate of 2.5% (10 / 400) — a rate that is high enough to get you blocked by certain ISPs.
Hitting spam traps and unknown users will affect your deliverability to quite an extent, so it is essential for you to practice proper email hygiene by taking the necessary steps. Like for starters, cleaning your email list.
Avoid Variations In Font Size & Color
Always avoid using different font sizes and colors as it not just rubs people the wrong way, it is a red flag for spam filters. According to research by Radicati group, over 60% of respondents considered it unacceptable for email marketers to use different font sizes, irregular fonts, and different font colors.
Using white text on a white background is a common trick which spammers use to include offers and hide text in plain view, however, spam filters are now sophisticated enough to catch this as a spam-trigger. What might have worked in 1997 doesn’t seem to work so well now.
Here’s a little something from Yesware which might crack you up:
Don’t Use All-Caps Or Too Many Exclamation Points
Using all-caps in your email’s subject line and body isn’t just the equivalent of shouting at your recipient, it’s also a huge spam-trap as such tactics are usually used by spammers who are trying to deceive users. It is recommended not to use all caps to avoid spam filters. The same goes for too many exclamation points, sure you’re really excited about the new product range you just launched, but it’d be more effective in conveying your feelings with words rather than using a series of exclamation marks together. Not to say, safer as well.
Maintain A Good Image-To-Text Ratio
Stuffing an email with images or using one big image as the whole email is a common trick spammers use since spam filters can’t really see what’s in the image, so such mal practitioners use it to their advantage by including otherwise spam-trigger words to entice the recipients. However, as discussed above, spam filters are evolving day by day, and now most spam filters just assume the worst when you use a single image as the entire email or include a lot of images. It is recommended to maintain a good Image-To-Text Ratio in your emails. As a thumb rule, include two lines of text for every image that you use in your emails to avoid spam filters.
It is also recommended to use alt-text in your emails. Alt text is the alternative text that appears when images aren’t loaded in an email or are blocked by the user/email client.” Here is an example of the same.
Don’t Include Certain File Types As Attachments In Your Emails
If you wish to include a pdf file in your email, a best practice would be to share a link to download the file with your recipients – rather than including the actual file. Have a look at this example where Nimble shares a link to download a case study in their onboarding email:
Offer Both Plain Text And HTML Version Of Your Emails
It’s a good practice to include the plain text version in addition to the HTML version of your emails to avoid spam filters – it indicates your legitimacy to the ISP, and makes your emails more reader friendly in case the email client doesn’t support HTML emails.
Also, spam filters see sloppy HTML code as a red flag and might mark an email spam based on it. So it is highly recommended to have your HTML code top notch, devoid of any broken tags.
Keep A Balanced Links To Text Ratio
It is advised to keep links to a minimal as including too many links might raise some red flags. You should also use descriptive text instead of using link text as spam filters try to block phishing attacks, where attackers encourage readers to click on a well-known text URL that links to a different URL (attacker website). Every link included in this blog post is an example of descriptive text. Here is an example of use of descriptive text in an email:
Email deliverability is something which depends on a lot of other factors relating to your servers, protocols and more. However, following the tips shared in this post will help you enough to ensure that your messages are not being left undelivered because of negligence. One piece of advice that we could provide to avoid spam filters is to use Betaout’s Email Marketing Tool For Ecommerce Marketing and ensure a high level of deliverability. You can also iterate on the tips mentioned above, keep abreast with the changes in spam filter algorithms and timely test your emails to avoid your emails from going to spam.