Email is one of the most effective ways to send out your marketing messages to current and prospective clients or customers and is one we regularly employ here at Red Star Digital. We get a lot of questions from our customers regarding email marketing and how to use it effectively, their biggest concerns revolving around getting their permissive email campaigns delivered while coping with spam filters, blacklists and bouncing. We thought we’d put together a quick guide as ensuring that your marketing messages actually meet the inbox of your recipients can be dramatically improved by following a few simple tips:

Avoid spam-like words: There are certain words that can trigger spam filters and will ensure your email never sees the light of your customer’s inbox. Spam filters use a series of rules to identify potentially unwanted emails based on certain words and word combinations; try to avoid anything that may trip those filters, such as free, guarantee, special offer or credit card, that can stop your email from being received. Spam filters also look for multiple exclamation marks and caps lock abuse, avoiding over punctuation can help increase your marketing message’s chance of being delivered. Maintaining consistently clear and easy to recognise subject lines can also encourage recipients against hitting the spam button further down the line.

Add unsubscribe links and instructions: There are always going to be customers who don’t remember that they’ve signed up for your marketing messages, to avoid being reported for spam make sure that there are clear unsubscribe links and instructions included in every message you send out, and monitor your reply-to email address for requests to be unsubscribed as some clients may be wary about clicking links from potential spam sources. Including a brief message, such as ‘You are receiving this email because …’ at the very top of each message reiterating why you have sent it can also help reduce misunderstandings.

Inactive subscribers: Monitor your click throughs for inactive readers, any customers who fail to respond in any way to your messages are unlikely to be reading your emails and may end up reporting you for spam. Treat your email database as you would any contact list your company is dependent on and clean it regularly. Weed out inactive subscribers by sending them a reminder email after a period of inactivity asking them if they would like to continue receiving your emails, and then unsubscribe them if no response is received back. Give soft bounces several chances to clear their inbox or come back from holiday before removing them completely from your database, but always remove hard bounces immediately as the error stopping them from being delivered is permanent.

Add your address: Encouraging recipients to add your email address to their address book will notify spam filters that you are a trusted source and ensure your newsletters or marketing messages are delivered to the correct email box. Some email clients or service providers don’t display images unless the sender is an approved address saved to the recipients contact list, thereby undoing all your beautiful html gloriousness until the ‘show all images’ button is clicked. In addition, using the same from email address to send your messages out will also help readers recognise your emails, making them less likely to report your for spam.

Avoid blacklisting: Blacklisting is used to shut down servers and IP addresses in an effort to reduce spam, harmful websites or communications and help keep the internet a nicer place for all users. Ensure you don’t end up on a blacklist for spam by requiring a double opt-in for email communications that triggers a confirmation email your new customer has to click to confirm that, yes, they do want to receive your marketing communications.

By following these five tips you can help ensure more of your recipients not only receive your mailings but also engage and communicate with you in ways that will help you grow your business.