Avoiding the spam folder

28th May 2012 By Sam Burrows in Deliverability

There’s nothing more frustrating that spending hours crafting a beautiful email template and carefully cultivating an organic data list to have your email land in the spam box. So how can you avoid it? Check out our blog post to discover what type of spam filters exist and how to maximise the deliverability of your email campaigns.

Spam tin

Most of our customers use email marketing to drive traffic to their websites so that they can make a purchase, cross sell services or encourage visitors to book onto an event, or similar.
However, before your email even gets in front of the recipient in the inbox, there are a few hurdles to cross.

Your email needs to be robust enough to withstand three levels of spam filtering:

  1. ISP: the internet service provider that you recipient accesses the web with, such as Yahoo,  will have a level of spam filtering in place
  2. Company:  the firm that the recipient works for (if B2B) may have an additional filter
  3. Email client: Whatever email client your recipient is using to send and receive emails, such as Yahoo Mail, will also be on alert for spam
If your email finally manages to reach the inbox, it will then encounter the HUMAN spam filter. If you subject line is poor or vague, the top part of your email filled with a giant header image that can’t be downloaded or the person didn’t opt-in in the first place, it will more than likely be deleted or be reported as spam.

So, what can you do to ensure your emails avoid the spam box?

  • Use good content and data in the first place
  • Use pre-send spam and deliverability tests provided by your ESP
  • Send preview emails & set up a test list
  • Remove hard bounces (good ESPs will do this for you and place them into a Do Not Mail folder after a finite number of send attempts)
  • Add an unsubscribe mechanism; if people want to go do not enrage them but making it a difficult process so that they flag your email as spam
  • Review your delivery stats – if you are getting a regular amount of unsubscribes and complaints, have a chat to your ESP to see where your campaigns could be improved

Things to avoid:

  • Repeats – it’s OK to use the word ‘free’ in an email but just not 20 times in the body text
  • Exclamation marks!!!!!! I know your business is exciting! But overuse could relegate your emails into spam!!
  • Using messy web links and URLs instead of neat little buttons as your call to actions
  • Using bright and garish coloured fonts such as bright red or green 
  • Sloppy HTML coding
  • Using one big image, with little or no text
  • Using a noreply@ email address

What do you think? Have you had problems with deliverability in the past? How have you rectified them?

Sam Burrows
About the Author

Sam Burrows

Sam is the lead designer for little green plane. A key driving force within the design team, he ensures any email templates and landing pages designed for you are fresh and engaging, whilst adhering to best practice guidelines and your existing brand collateral.