Posted to Volacci's blog on August 23rd, 2013

Making Sure Your Email Newsletter or Marketing Aren’t SPAM

It is a marketer’s worst nightmare - you work really hard to set up an email marketing program and finally send it out only to get no response. Confused and agitated, you contact some recipients only to discover that your message has been cast off to the spam folder, forever lost in email marketing’s equivalent of Siberia. How did this happen, and what can you do to prevent it from happening again? Following are the four best tips for keeping your emails out of the spam folder and getting them into the inboxes of your leads and customers. 

1. Federal CAN-SPAM Act compliance

The federal CAN-SPAM Act is the government’s main method of regulating spam-style Internet communication, and applies to any email being used for commercial purposes. The act applies to all commercial email activities, not just large bulk emails, so it likely applies to your business’ newsletter. Violations of the CAN-SPAM act can be subject to fines as high as $16,000 per email.

Noteworthy provisions of the CAN-SPAM act include:

  • Accurately identify originating domain name and email address of sender.

  • Subject lines may not be deceptive as to email content.

  • Identify any ads “clearly and conspicuously.”

  • List a valid physical postal address.

  • Clearly defined opt out process.

  • Honor all opt out requests within 10 business days.

2. Avoid “Spammy” Sounding Subject Lines

Avoiding certain “spammy” sounding words is one of the most important ways to help your newsletter, or any form of email marketing, avoid being sent to the spam folder. Obvious expressions include, “free”, “limited time only,” “money back”, or anything else you might associate with a cash4gold-style offer. You can search the Internet for a more exhaustive list, but email providers have gotten so good at separating such messages, that there aren’t really any tricks. The best principle is to use your sense of decency to know if a subject line sounds spammy or not.

3. Keep a clean list

The quality of your email list can affect how the emails associated with that list are treated. Be sure that you regularly scrub any addresses that no longer accept your emails. The vast majority of email addresses are limited to only a few select providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.), and being labeled as a spammer by one or more of those providers can be detrimental to a marketing campaign.

4. Write naturally

Generally speaking, you just want to write naturally. Email providers, and the people who eventually get your emails, have gotten pretty good at sniffing out bad content. Be sure that you use proper grammar, have decent spelling and don’t repeat yourself too often. While this may seem like the most basic piece of advice to give a marketer, it is also the most important to ensuring your content isn’t labeled as spam.

Good email marketing requires proper writing, clean lists and the basic necessities for a good user experience, such as opt out lists, non-spammy headlines and clear information about the sender. Following these suggestions will help you keep your emails and newsletters in front of your audience, no matter how big your bulk email list eventually becomes.

For more information about email newsletter best practices, check out Volacci’s eBook - Newsletter Best Practices 2013: An Email Marketing eBook. The book is full of tips and strategies to make your newsletter marketing as effective as possible.