10 things to do to get out of spam

Spam has become a daily issue for the internet user. Botnets, networks of virus-infected computers, are used to send high volumes of spam and uninformed marketers buy lists and send messages without any permission from recipients.

And this way each user receives every day unsolicited e-mail, so every message sent is suspicious to be spam. The immediate consequence is that the big Internet Service Providers (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc) are trying to protect their users by setting up very exigent spam-filters.

Don’t be a victim of spam filters: take care of your e-mail

Spam-filters are more and more specialized in order to cope with the dimension of junk e-mailing. To be sure that your e-mail gets to your customer you have to know how spam filters work and adjust your email campaigns to their criteria.

1. Your reputation is crucial for your e-mails.

Yes, the ISP’s like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail use filters based on reputation.

Your reputation is a score associated with your IP and your domain. The score is calculated based on the bounce rate, open rate, report-spam rate and other actions of your user (clicks in the message, replies, clicks on “not spam” , etc ).

2. Unsubscribe option is mandatory.

The e-mail must have an unsubscribe link which users can use when they want to stop receiving your e-mails. If you have this link and it’s visible, you are trustworthy is the eyes of your subscribers.

You have to make the unsubscribe process easy, so your subscribers won’t choose to go to report-spam button.

3. Customize your message.

You can use the name of your subscribe in the subject or the body of the e-mail.

Also use other personal data provided by the users.

It’s recommended to use this data to send relevant messages to every subscriber.

4. Be careful with the frequency of your e-mails.

If you send too often this may be disturbing and it may determine the subscriber to report them as spam.

Too rare messages may make your subscriber forget why she once subscribed to your newsletter or even forget she subscribed.

5. Use “Double opt-in” subscription.

This way your subscriber has to double check when he subscribes to your newsletter: the subscribtion request is followed by a confirmation. He will only start to receive your newsletters after he confirms by clicking the confirmation link.

This is important for the authentication, because people can put the wrong e-mail address, or use another person’s identity.

6. Encourage your subscribers to add you in their Address Book.

This can be done through various methods: on the subscribtion page, on the page they get after sending the form, in the confirmation e-mail or in every other e-mail they receive after subscribing.

7. Use the right words

Good content is one of the spam filters criteria.

The simplest way to avoid getting stuck in the Junk Mail by using certain words is to test. You can send to some email addresses test messages, if they enter the Junk folder you know you have to make some changes.

Key words are an important factor but if you have a good reputation you might get away with some bad keywords.

8. Always monitor the list

The bounce rate (messages rejected by the server because the addresses are no longer valid) of your messages is a very important indicator for your reputation.

If the bounce rate is big your IP or domain can be blocked. To avoid a big bounce rate you need to keep your list up-to-date. Monitor the openings of your messages and remove the addresses that are not active.

9. The formatting of the email is important.

A simple one will keep you far from the spam filters. Don’t use to many colors, font types, images, etc. If you send messages in HTML format, include a text alternative and check if your html is valid. For validation you can use validator.w3.org.

10. Get interactive with your subscribers.

From time to time send an email that looks more personal and try to get an answer to it.

For example you can send a message with a question for your subscribers and offer a prize to encourage many answers. This will help you activate some of those inactive addresses and at the same time it might add up to your reputation score.

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