Email marketing is still running strong, which should be great news in itself, but… There’s always a but!
The more people reach out to customers, the more unwanted emails people will receive. Naturally, this means that they’ll be all the more eager to mark messages from unknown senders as spam.
Spam messages are one of the worst plagues of our times but sometimes even if you do all you can, your emails won’t get the treatment they deserve.
Let’s try to address this troublesome practice here and see which alternatives businesses have.
How Does a Message Get Marked as Spam?
This first, crucial question is obviously the most important one. Unfortunately, there are so many factors that affect the answer that sometimes it’s truly impossible to deal with all eventualities.
Filtering and blacklisting are stronger than ever and sometimes these strategies affect businesses that haven’t done anything wrong. It’s a headache, really.
Nevertheless, we’ll hereby list a couple of factors likely to affect the status of your emails so that you can address them habitually:
- The quantity of emails a business sends
- The rates of emails being sent
- The sender's address
- The number of recipient addresses
- The bounce-back rate
- The number of recipients marking the sender’s emails as spam/junk
- The words used in the subject line
- The options an email features, notably opt-out and opt-in
It’s never a good idea to send too many emails or — even worse — too many unwanted emails. It goes without saying that businesses should pick only reliable email service providers. Additional advice would be to use blind copy (you’d be surprised how many self-proclaimed professional businesses don’t use this simple practice).
Needless to say, businesses that fail to communicate timely and efficiently will inevitably keep losing customers, so this is a rather pressing issue.
The best option is to use trusted email marketing campaign tools, of which there are many readily available for free and more professional and customizable options available for paying clients.
Which tools a business will choose is at their own discretion but remember to go all out!
The Big Three of Spam Emails
In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are three major factors affecting emails. These are: spam filters, anti-spam laws and spam complaints.
Spam filters are basically algorithms detecting unwanted emails. Their primary purpose is to redirect such messages to recipients’ spam folders. As we’ve seen too many times, algorithms are not the most reliable of methods. Spam filters check the sender’s IP address, domain, unsubscribe rates, campaign engagement rates and a couple of other more complex factors.
Anti-spam laws vary from country to country and can be especially tricky for businesses aiming at a larger international audience. The U.S. has America's Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing (CAN-SPAM), Europe — Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and The Spam Act 2003, Canada — Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), and so on. All of these laws regulate how email senders can collect, manage, and use consumer data, so make sure to familiarize yourself with prospective laws.
Spam complaints are a system (“Report Spam” or similar) enabled by email service providers that enable recipients to report unwanted emails. A high complaint rate can easily doom a business, so be careful what you send!
Some 45% of recipients tend to ignore, delete, or mark as spam emails sent from unknown addresses. Basically, make sure to not buy email lists!
Rather, look for a permission to send emails, which can be done in various ways, notably through subscription services.
Update Emailing List
It is essential to continually update your emailing list and check the spamlist!
The longer your list gets, the higher the probability that something will go wrong if left unchecked. This has been said many times but we’ll reiterate it all the same: people’s interests change over time. Sometimes, a one-time customer is just that! Make sure to remove the email addresses of people who don’t engage with your business.
Specifically, check for invalid email IDs and email IDs with typos. The presence of any of these will negatively affect your email deliverability and start a chain reaction ending in your emails being marked as spam.
Personalize Your Emails
Make sure that every email you send is personalized. This isn’t a difficult task, so don’t skip this step!
If you keep sending random emails promoting random campaigns, recipients will keep unsubscribing or marking your emails as spam. In the long run, this can ruin your marketing efforts!
Triple-Check Your IP Address
Your IP address may be blacklisted as spam even if you haven’t done anything spammy. Alas, if someone else within your business is sending too many emails to too many different people, the practice will trigger blacklisting.
To prevent this from happening, make sure to enable SMTP authentication, set up a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record, and configure a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.
Keep an eye on your IP address at all times so that you can detect any potential issues before they escalate!
Do Branding Properly
Sometimes, even if all of the factors mentioned above are being monitored, recipients may fail to recognize your brand.
This shows two major issues: that your business is unrecognizable and, as such, doesn’t stand out from the competition, and that the emails you send are inconsistent in tone, message, and vision.
Brainstorm your email marketing campaigns so that they stand out in a crowded inbox and also pay attention to certain technical aspects, including responsive HTML emailers and HTML standards.
As you can see, there’s always something new to learn about email marketing, even if your business has been around for a while.
Basically, avoid stereotypes and don’t rely on permanence. There isn’t any. People come and go and so do businesses. Continual vigilance is what makes email marketing campaigns successful both short-term and long-term.
Keep communication alive! Send follow-up emails on a regular basis and build reputation and trust over time!