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Email Deliverability

Email newsletters will only get harder to deliver due to the increasing sophistication of spam filtering technology. A 2004 report by Return Path indicated that on average 22 percent of legitimate opt-in commerical email did not make it to subscriber’s inboxes.

I see mistakes every day that could be the difference between inbox or junk mail folder. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to help improve the chance your email will make it through spam filters.

Here are five things you should be aware of:

  1. Be aware of spam filter trip words. Some trip words are given more weight than others by spam filters; the higher the points allotted, the more likely they’ll trip a spam filter. Some spam trigger words are entirely avoidable (the word "spam" is itself a trigger word, which is why many people spell it with the @ symbol in their emails). "Click" and "Click Here" needn’t be used because the presence of a hyperlink implies that people can click on it. The words "here" and "now" are triggers that are often throw-away words that are not needed or redundant in a sentence. Don’t use them if you don’t have to. There are many other trip words. Take a good look at your copy and try and spot potential trip words and rewrite accordingly.
  2. ALL CAPS TRIP SPAM FILTERS so try to avoid them as much as possible. That means using Title Case For Section Headlines and trying to spell stuff out as much as possible rather than using acronyms. All caps in your subject will practically ensure your email gets filtered.
  3. Ask Subscribers to add you to their whitelist and/or email contacts. If your email address is in your subscriber’s contacts, it’s more likely spam filters will consider you a known sender and let your correspondence through. Likewise, many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) block mail before it ever gets to their customer’s inboxes. In such cases, it is important for subscribers to add you to their whitelists. You should ask subscribers to add you to their whitelists/contacts during the signup process to help insure that they get your email from the outset.
  4. Avoid Personalizing your subject line. If you’re email marketing software has a personalization feature, avoid putting recipient’s name in the subject line because it is a tactic that spammers have adopted and spam filter software knows this and acts accordingly.
  5. Don’t be so enthusiastic!!!!! Keep the punctuation in your subject line to a minimum; they usually don’t need much, if any, punctuation, anyway. The use of exclamation points make it very likely your email will get filtered.

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About David Erickson

David Erickson is principal of e-Strategy Media, a digital marketing consultancy based in Minnesota. David has extensive experience in digital marketing and is often used as an expert source by media and asked to speak on the topic before organizations and to sit on panel discussions.

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