You're having a great sale, offer, or product launch. You have an amazingly engaged email subscriber list. This should mean that you can easily reach them and have them respond to your news, right?
Not if your email doesn't follow the rules for email deliverability. The following traits of an email message could mean that your message will end up in the spam folder. How many apply to your last message?
1. You use too many images (or only images.) Some email services, such as Outlook and Gmail, won't display images by default. That means that messages that use only images, logos, or photos will possibly wind up in spam, or worse yet -- won't be able to be read. Be sure to use plenty of text and keep images to the bare minimum.
2. Your sender properties aren't verified. Email services want to be sure that you own the domains that your email "sent by" addresses are coming from. Making sure your domain or hosting provider lets you verify will help your emails deliver better. Note that some domain providers don't offer this (GoDaddy is one that we use, for example.)
3. You use "bad" words. Certain words in a message can be a signal for spam. While a few words here and there won't hurt, avoid buzz words like "earn cash" "limited-time offer" and other words that put pressure on readers to take action.
4. Messages are stuffed with affiliate links. We love using affiliate offers in our emails, but too many could keep your message from getting where it needs to be. Some popular link shorteners can also cause links to be "blacklisted" (bit.ly comes to mind.) Some email provider do not not even allow affiliate links to be used at all in messages sent from their servers.
5. You don't deliver what you promised. If you promised your email subscribers a daily deal newsletter, and then proceed to send them your opinions on politics, be prepared to have users flag you for spam and unsubscribe.
6. You don't follow up quickly. If you have a weekly or even monthly newsletter, be certain that you send at least one communication to new subscribers to make an introduction and get them familiar with receiving emails from you. If too much time passes between when they sign up and when you send out that first message, they could become confused or forget what they signed up for, causing your usubscribe (or worse yet, spam flag) rates to go sky-high.
7. You use budget email message providers. Free providers such as MadMimi or MailChimp are fun to use and provide beautiful interfaces for all kinds of emails. Because they cost less than other providers, however, it makes them a popular choice for spammers and scammers, resulting in higher-than-average complaint rates for their emails -- even from legitimate users. Stick with a paid provider that's been around for awhile, such as iContact, ActiveCampaign, AWeber, or Infusionsoft. Better yet, let us help you find the right provider for your very unique business needs -- we've used them all!
It's important to let you know that no email is perfect. All of them will have at least one error or issue that could give it less than a 100% spam-free rating. The important point is to try to minimize as many as you can and only have offending traits if absolutely necessary. Keeping in a much-needed affiliate link could be overlooked if you score well on the rest, for example.
Does all of this give you a headache? Don't stress! We would be happy to help you navigate the tricky world of email newsletters. We can even design your templates, write your copy, or manage your lead lists. Our newsletter subscription services start at $100 a month, and include an analysis of the "spam score" for every message you send out!