Avoid the email spam box

Avoid the spam box and get your emails opened with these top tips from Ryan Harris, Compliance Manager at SendGrid.

spam email

Most marketers would agree that email is an essential part of a successful marketing campaign. According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, email remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined. But in order for email campaigns to be successful, marketing emails must first reach the inbox. The fact is that 20% of all legitimate emails never reach the inbox and Forrester predicts that in 2014, $144M will be spent on marketing emails that never get delivered.

Ensuring email makes it into to the inbox is directly dependent on companies sending the right message, with the right content, at the right time, with the right frequency.

This mantra helps marketers send wanted mail. Ultimately the key to the inbox and getting your ROI via email, is sending mail that your consumers want to receive. This is the essence of email deliverability. Companies and digital marketing professionals should follow these email deliverability general guidelines and work with a trusted email delivery service to ensure that emails are not being erroneously filed as spam.

There are several extra steps for marketers to keep in mind when building and formatting marketing email campaigns to avoid the spam box.

It is best to avoid common phishing phrases. In general, phishing emails are designed to steal the recipient’s identity by encouraging them to click on a fraudulent link, normally disguised as part of a trusted service, such as a bank or favourite website. Phrases common in such phishing attacks include “please verify your account” and “dear valued customer”.

The format of an email campaign can affect its deliverability. For example, it is recommended that marketers include a plain text version when sending HTML newsletters. This is not only because HTML emails with no plain text risk ending up in the spam folder, but also because the plain text ensures that all recipients can access the content. Use well-formatted HTML that will display properly, no matter which type of device the recipient is using to view the message. In addition, responsive template design is becoming increasingly important for businesses. As we move into an age where the adoption of smart phones and tablets is increasing, businesses need to send email which can be dynamically change its format to render appropriately on different devices.

It is also good practice to send an email with a sensible balance between text and images. In general, it is preferable to send image-free emails. However, where images are unavoidable, remember that image-only emails risk being classified as spam. For every image used, it is best to include at least two lines of text.

Be sure to consistently be doing AB testing. Changing text, or where an image is placed can greatly increase the engagement an email will receive. By baking in testing in your email process, you will be able to maximize how effective your emails are for your recipients.

Pay attention to feedback
Listen to your consumers and pay attention to when clients are marking your emails as spam or when they unsubscribe. This can point out issues in your system or problems you may be having when recipients are opting in to receive your mail.

Beware attachments
Finally, take care when including attachments in marketing emails. Large attachments in particular should be avoided, as should certain file types. Attachments such as .jpg, .gif, .png and.pdf are all considered safe to send. However, executable attachments, such as .exe, .zip, and .swf, should be avoided entirely. For larger attachments, or attachments that would usually be classified as spam, it is often better to use a service such as Dropbox or Box.

These steps should be followed in conjunction with targeted, relevant content that the recipient chooses to receive. Marketers who don’t follow these rules will see their email hit the spam box and for companies implementing email marketing campaigns, this translates into lost customers, lost opportunities and lost revenue. Pay attention to the wording, format and attachment types in marketing campaigns to improve email deliverability rates and boost customer engagement.

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