This is a guest post from our friends at 3dcart.
You've worked hard on your email campaign, and the last thing you want is for all that effort to end up being marked as spam. There are two main paths an email can take to this unfortunate destination: the recipient can flag it themselves, or it can be flagged automatically. Here are 4 basic tips to help you avoid both.
Send an immediate opt-in email
When a new reader signs up, send them an email right away so they're less likely to forget who you are. Look, it happens— people join mailing lists and instantly forget. No matter how interested they were at the time, a reader can simply get busy or distracted and then a week later find themselves wondering why this email landed in their inbox. Interact with new signups soon to prevent them from marking your email as spam because they don't recognize it.
Don't buy an email list
We've been over this one before, but it bears repeating. Buying an email list, no matter how tempting it may seem, is never a good investment. You have no guarantee that these emails belong to people who are actually interested in what you have to offer— after all, they signed up with someone else, not with you. A related product isn't the same product, and you are not the same company. Many of these recipients won't recognize your email, marking it as spam immediately.
Avoid spam trigger words
Spam triggers are words that just look spammy or have become associated with spam, and when used in an email headline, they can end up flagged as spam both automatically and manually— filters don't like them, and human readers distrust them, too. Do your best to avoid these words, although that's easier said than done (and you may have a legitimate reason for using one; just make sure the rest of your subject line is as un-spammy as possible). There are more spam trigger words than can be listed here, but they include marketing-oriented words like "free," "access," and "offer," and phrases like "you have been selected," "info you requested," and ironically enough, "this isn't spam." "Do not delete" is also a big one, and not just to an automated filter— most readers will be overwhelmingly tempted to delete it immediately!
Whatever you do, don't try to trick a filter
You've probably received emails before with a subject line that substituted numbers for letters in a common spam trigger word. For example, as mentioned above, the word "free" is a common trigger, so sometimes it's written as "FR3E" or another configuration of 3s for Es in an attempt to slip it through automatic spam filters and into inboxes. "M0ney" frequently gets censored with a zero, and words including a capital I or lowercase l will often have one or more of those letters replaced with a 1. Sometimes this does trick the filter, but the funny thing about this (terrible) tactic is that the harder you try to fool an automatic spam filter, the spammier your email will look to a human reader. Y0u kn0w wh4t I m3an? Don't do it— just rewrite your subject lines to avoid or justify the usage of spammy-sounding words to the best of your ability.
These 4 tips are definitely not all there is to email marketing, but hopefully they will help you avoid some common pitfalls that lead to the dreaded spam filter, and instead get your emails where they belong: into your subscriber's inbox and open in front of their eyes!