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Avoiding the Dreaded Spam Tag

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Email marketing provides another way to get your clients’ attention, but you can’t get their attention if they can’t see your email. Avoiding the dreaded spam tag is the key to getting through. Here are a few tips on staying on the right side of the filters.

Grow Your List In-House
First and foremost, don’t buy lists. No matter how well targeted, most people on purchased lists don’t want to hear from you. They don’t know you, they don’t trust you, and they aren’t buying what you’re selling.

Opt-In, Not Opt-Out
Even with an internal, organically grown list, you run the risk of having messages reported as spam if recipients we added to your subscriber list via opt-out. They’re much less likely to report abuse if they’ve opted in to your list.

Don’t Send to Distribution Addresses
Remove from your list any general mailboxes – like info@, marketing@, etc. – as they frequently are forwarded to a larger group of addresses. (All of the marketing folks at a firm, for example.) Most of those end users aren’t going to have any idea why they’re getting your email. That makes them more likely to report it as spam. I have to admit, I don’t love this one. I’ve set up some general mailboxes to help track incoming specific kinds of email – incoming e-billing notifications. Recently, I’ve been unsubscribed from a few lists. Makes you wonder what a guy with a name like, oh, William Smith might do. If his email address is bills@ … he’s not getting on too many lists.

Don’t Overdo It
Here’s where analytics are helpful. If you see open rates and click-through rates dropping, you may want to dial back your frequency. We’ve seen clients move from quarterly newsletters to monthly only to find they lose some large chunk of their subscriber participation. For every audience, there’s a sweet spot. Experiment until you find it.

No, not that voodoo mind-reading stuff. Email Service Provider. Not only do they make it easy to administer your email campaign issue after issue, but they also have higher deliverability rates than you’ll likely be able to generate because of their great relationships with ISPs. (internet service providers.) They’ll also keep you from making mistakes that inadvertently put you at odds with the CAN-SPAM act and other regulations. They take their deliverability rates pretty seriously.They also provide great analytics tools, so you can track your campaign’s performance, do A/B testing, and test new ideas easily.

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