Email is arguably the most popular means of professional communication today. And at some point, you may have to send an email to people that don’t know you or have your email address in their contacts list. In this case, there is a high probability of having your mail end up in the recipients’ spam folder. This is especially true if you’re in sales and marketing. Here are a few tips to help you prevent this or reduce it to the barest minimum:
1. Use simple formatting
Don’t attempt to impress your recipients with background colours, unusual font size, multiple font styles and font colours. Avoid excessive use of underlining, bolding and italicising. These elements make your email look like a sales letter thus increasing the probability of being marked as spam. The goal is to make your communication clear by making the content easy to read. Stick to one font and maintain the same size and colour throughout the email.
2. Limit the use of graphics
Your message is likely to end up in spam folder when it contains several graphics. This is because many spam filters cannot discriminate between graphics and adult content. You really don’t need to have more than one or two elements of graphics in your message. Even if it doesn’t get caught by spam filters, the recipients may not find it easy to read especially if they are accessing their mail on a mobile device.
3. Be creative with your subject title
Try to customise your email subject as much as possible. This will reduce the likelihood of using a ‘spammy’ title. For instance, you could include your company name or a name that is not strange to the recipient(s).
In your e-mail header, include something unique to the recipient and therefore unlikely to be identified as spam. Examples could include your company name, the name of one of your recipient’s competitors, or the name of a person the recipient is already familiar with.
4. Mind your words
Some words are especially likely to trigger spam filters. Such words include cash, cheap, congratulations, credit, discount, free, price, subscribe, trading, win, winner and many others. You get the idea? Most of these words have to do with selling stuff, lottery etc. Avoid such words in the subject and body of your mail; otherwise your message may get trapped in the spam folder. In fact, some bulk SMS platforms will not even allow you to send a message that includes any of those words. The “send” option will be unavailable until you remove the ‘salesy’ word(s).
5. Be discreet with hyperlinks
In some cases, especially when sending marketing mails or carrying out prospecting activities, you may need to include links in your mails. This increases the chances of triggering spam filters because junk mails are often ridden with links. Consequently, if you’re going to use links at all, use them sparingly and ensure that you have ample text such that the volume of text far outweighs the hyperlinks. More importantly, never link to known spammers; otherwise you can be sure that spam filters will associate you with them and their reputation will rub off on you.
6. Use spam checking tools
One other way to increase your chances of having your mail enter recipients’ inbox rather than spam folder is to use tools like Mailing Check and Contactology. If you’re sending mails with services like Mailchimp take advantage of their inbuilt spam grading tools to check the possibility of having your mails fire spam triggers.
Just in case you’re wondering what the big deal is, you need to know that having your emails marked as spam on a frequent basis will damage your reputation. You can be reported for abuse and have your email address blocked by global spam filters. In some cases, your email will even be disabled altogether. I’ve seen this happen to a friend. While you cannot be certain that any of the aforementioned precautions will grant your email access to the recipients’ inbox, you can be sure that following the guidelines will greatly increase your chances.