Email marketing is one of the best online marketing channels your business can employ but it is also fraught with problems. Firstly, you need to generate a list of willing subscribers, find a way to deliver your marketing content and then hope they will read the content you send. However, the chances of your emails being read are low if they are going into the receivers’ junk folders. In this virtual bin, your name will be synonymous with junk; you want to avoid it at all costs so here are nine tips to avoid the junk folder: #1. Establish Your Presence on White Lists Gmail and Yahoo! have lists of approved senders. Other email client servers also have lists of companies they know to be legitimate. If you can provide enough evidence that your content is all above board, there is little chance your email will be sent to the junk folder. However, spammy email will do the opposite and get you blacklisted. Instead of going to the junk box, your email messages will hard bounce. Lessons: Don’t get blacklisted. #2. Use Batch Sending Sending your email copy to your entire list may seem a good idea as it will save time and you can ensure all your customers will receive the marketing message at the best time, but it is actually not good practice. Check why you are sending a message to everyone on the list in the first place. You should be segregating your email marketing list so you can achieve better results with fewer emails. Secondly, spam detectors look for companies sending out mass emails. Lessons: Batch your emails when sending more than 2,000. Segregate your email marketing lists. #3. Maintain Your Email Marketing List If you are sending emails to bad accounts (i.e. those that don’t exist or have been closed), mail servers will mark your account down as being particularly spammy. Some estimates state that US consumers will change their email account every six months. This can be difficult to keep up with, but if you don’t maintain your list, nobody may receive your content. Lessons: Maintain your email marketing list by removing users no longer reading content or not receiving your emails. #4. Include A Clear Unsubscribe Link Giving your subscribers a clear opportunity to unsubscribe from your email marketing list is not just best practice to reduce the risk of being labelled spam – it is a legal requirement. You can be fined for not providing this and your business could suffer. Therefore, provide the link – losing a few subscribers is nothing compared to losing your business. Lesson: Provide an unsubscribe link. #5. Become A Valued Contact If you really want to always land in the inbox of your contacts, ensure that you are included on the contact lists of your subscribers. This can easily be done by requesting it on every email you send out. If they value the content you send they will include you. Lesson: Get included on the receivers’ approved contacts list. #6. Have A Great Design A poorly designed email message will not be well received by either the email client server or your audience. Not only will people not click through to buy products / services, they may also report your email address as being spammy. Using an email client like Fluttermail or Mailchimp can support you here. You should also test your email on different devices and email clients. Your email may look different when displayed on the various email clients and some clients may send your content to the junk folder while others won’t. Luckily, MailChimp allows you to test this with just a few simple clicks. Lesson: Use an email marketing provider to create your email templates. If creating your email template yourself: check the HTML code. Test your emails to ensure that they are consistently displayed on different devices and email software programs. Check that no email clients deliver your emails into a junk folder. #7. Optimise Your Image Embedding images into your email marketing copy is great. Not only does it make them more interesting, it also increases the likelihood of interactions with your content and the success of any campaigns. However, avoid using one single big image as it may look impressive but it will use up significant memory, delaying the amount of time it takes for the reader to see the message. Secondly, spam filters are actively looking for emails like this. Unless it is from a big brand, it is unlikely to get past the filter. Lesson: Small images are good for converting readers into website visitors. Image only emails are likely to get your content sent to the junk folder. #8. Avoid Certain Language When you look through spam folders there seems to be a heavy bias towards certain types of emails. Some of the most common seem to be about medicines and competition winners. Avoid using words like these on your email copy, and in the headline, if you don’t want your emails to flood junk folders. Ensure your email subject lines aren’t ALL IN CAPITALS and use no more than one exclamation mark at the end. At the same time, the body of the message should not have too many uses of the word ‘free’ or coloured fonts. This is when looking at spam messages you receive can be good. You can see patterns of what your email client server is blocking and use this as a basis of what to avoid on your content. Lessons: Certain words are filtered out by email server clients. Avoiding these words is a must. You can use spam emails you receive to reach conclusions on what words and styles are being blocked by email client servers. #9. Don’t Buy An Email Marketing List Buying an email marketing list is not strictly illegal; however, sending a promotional email to an individual you’ve had no contact with is illegal according to many digital laws. Therefore, buying an email marketing list is never a good option. If you do decide to buy one, remember that if any of those on the list report your message as spam; you’ll gain a black mark with the mail server. Too many of these and you’ll automatically be considered spam and sent to the junk folder or alternatively your messages will be hard bounced. Lesson: Don’t buy email marketing lists. Conclusion Research has consistently placed email marketing as one of the best digital marketing performers. However, to get the best results you must avoid the junk folder and this requires strict following of email marketing laws, best practices and etiquette. Use the tips above to ensure that you are following them. Images: ”Distributing information in a digital world concept – bubble radiating mail envelopes/Shutterstock.com“ ______________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. 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