No matter what kind of reputation your business has established or how much respect you’ve gained, your newsletters can still end up lodged in that unfortunate region. Most items that end up in spam folders are never read, if even seen; they are typically erased without so much as a glance. That’s a deeply unfitting fate for your newsletter, into which you’ve presumably poured a good deal of thought and effort. Fortunately, there are ways of all but securing the safe passage of your email newsletter into the main mailbox of your subscribers. Here are a few helpful tips to ensure that your emails are read, or at least acknowledged, by the people they’re intended for:
- Don’t Get Email Addresses From Purchased Lists: It’ll likely take a decent amount of time for your business, and therefore any items related to your business, to catch on. When you start your email newsletter you may only have a handful of subscribers. At such times, forums offering long lists of email addresses can be a tempting prospect. However, using these lists is a very bad idea. Yes, your newsletter may be seen by more people this way, but it’s not all about quantity. Remember, most of the people on a random list of email addresses will likely have no use for your business or the service you offer, and in time you’ll gain an undesirable reputation as a company which sends unsolicited and unwanted emails. This can lower your appeal in the eyes of potential consumers, which is bad enough, but it can also make you an ideal target for the spam folder.
- Word Your Emails Carefully: There are certain words that are virtually guaranteed to send your newsletter straight to the spam folder. Some spam filters target messages containing these words, as they’re frequently associated with email-related scams. Be sure not to include the word “forward,” as filters will likely use it to identify your email as a chain letter. You can use an alternatively phrased call to action, like “share” or “send,” but the fact of the matter is that you, not your customers, should be responsible for making sure your newsletter reaches the right people. There are many more words and phrases to avoid, too many to name here. Most of these are obvious sales-related words, things like “prize,” “free” and “buy”. These words can, of course, be used from time to time, but their usage should be carefully considered. Be sure to avoid as many of them as possible as often as you can.
- Be Honest and Straightforward: A great deal of spam is deceptive. For example, many spam messages will have subjects claiming that the recipient has won some sort of prize or has qualified for a special deal, only to bombard them with unwanted advertising. Other spammers will put “Fwd:” or “Re:” in the subject line to make users believe that the email is part of an ongoing dialogue. Others will include phrases commonly targeted by spam filters, only altered in some way. Putting these words within images can keep them from setting off red flags, as can filling them with unnecessary punctuation. The fact is that these techniques will not endear you in the eyes of potential consumers. In fact, they’ll likely build resentment. Be honest with your clients. Be transparent about the contents of your message and make its benefits clear. This will gain you respect and trust.
- Keep a Regular Schedule: The more often clients engage with your emails the less likely you’ll end up in their spam folder. By maintaining a regular schedule you’ll build a strong routine, one which will be recognized and appreciated not only by the recipient but by their spam filter as well. If customers forget that they signed up for your newsletter, or don’t even remember engaging with you in the first place, they may manually place your message in the spam folder themselves, or perhaps delete it completely. Stay in their thoughts by engaging them regularly and they’ll keep your emails where they belong.
- Alert Your Customers to the Problem (or Don’t): This one really is a judgment call. Of course, an easy way to keep your emails out of spam folders is to warn your customers that they might end up there. Telling them to check both folders for your email and mark it as not being spam when it arrives can be an effective way of making sure your messages get seen. On the other hand, the word “spam” carries a negative connotation, and simply associating it with your emails might make your business look less reputable, whether that’s fair or not. In the end, it’s your decision. That being said, following the other suggestions listed will give you better odds of keeping your newsletter in the inbox.