The biggest hurdle faced in bulk email marketing is deliverability ratio. Deliverability ratio is the number of emails that make to the inbox of users’, to the total number of emails you actually send. It is affected when most of your emails are classified as Spam and sent to the spam folder by automated algorithms put into place by mailbox providers like Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail to filter spam content. When an email lands in Spam, it is not considered as delivered because it never actually reaches to the intended user. Here are a few practices to avoid if you don’t want your emails to be considered Spam:
Messing with the CAN-SPAM Act
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 became law on January 1, 2004. The FTC has set a fine of up to $11,000 for each offense (i.e. this can mean $11,000 for each email address you send an illegal email to). Aided by this Act, ISPs around the world continue earning a lot by suing spammers. A good bulk email service make sure all emails accord with the Act and its key points are listed here:
· Avoid using deceptive headers, names, reply-to addresses and subject lines
· An unsubscribe link should be present in all emails
· The said unsubscribe link must have a validity period of at least 30 days
· A physical mailing address must be included
· Your business’s exact location should be mentioned in all emails
· Unsubscribe requests should be tended to immediately
· If the email is an advertisement, it must have this mentioned on it
Using Trigger Words
Algorithms designed by mailbox providers serve only one purpose: filtering emails to display only relevant content in users’ inbox, and throwing the rest in to the Spam folder. There are certain words, which when used in emails can trigger these filters into pushing your email into Spam. Most commonly known trigger words should be used very rarely or avoided altogether in all promotional emails.
A recent phenomenon, Phishing emails, also pose threat to legitimate bulk email marketing service providers, with their attempts at stealing users’ identity. Disguised as a service frequented by any particular user, these phishing emails ask them to click on fraudulent links, and once they do that, their personal information is pushed to the sender. Most phishing emails frequently use certain phrases which modern-day spam filters pick up. If your email has any of these phrases in it, it’ll probably end up in Spam.
Dispatching Highly “Picturesque” Emails
While it is recommended to omit images altogether, sometimes the message can’t be delivered as effectively without supplementary images. If that’s the case, you should try and restrict the number of images to one or two. Sending image-only emails is a big no-no. Also, for each picture you add to your email, the explanatory text should be there. Try and optimize images before including them in your email, so their file size can be reduced without compromising the quality. The key is to keep your emails simple.
Including Large Attachments
Large attachments often trigger both spam filters and virus scanners on mailbox providers. If you continue to send large attachments to users who aren’t expecting them, you’ll get blacklisted by the ISP and none of your emails will reach to your target users in future. The most “evil” attachments are executable files, like .exe and .zip format files. On the other hand, .jpg and .png file formats are among the safest ones.
If you have to send a large attachment to a particular user, upload it on Dropbox and provide user the link in your email, instead of attaching the actual file to it.
“Ranting” as a term is widely familiar. In the marketing world, Ranting means, a bulk email marketing Company keeps sending you enthusiastic promotional emails full of exclamation points and dramatic catch phrases to grab your attention, without even asking for a subscription. Ranting must be avoided at all costs; because of its ethical and practical implications. Not only does it put users off, but also almost exclusively gets emails filtered into Spam.
An idea first presented by Seth Godin, Permission Marketing takes into account the customers’ willingness to receive emails from you. The idea is to get permission from a user, in the form of a subscription, before you add them to your recipient list. Not only does this simple gesture gain you respect, but it also adds a personal touch to all your emails, which inherently makes them virtually spam-proof. This, combined with the tips we mention here, can work wonders for your emails’ deliverability.