Even the best email marketing campaign will turn out to be a complete disaster if all of your hand-perfected emails end up in the user's spam folder. Email automation platforms like Mailchimp have gained immense popularity over the past decade by offering the most effective solutions to stay out of the danger zone.
Mailchimp cares deeply for its reputation, so there are many tricks and obstacles to deal with on the way to ensuring your absolute email deliverability score. Folderly experts have researched most of the featured Mailchimp mailing practices to round out 13 practical tips to ensure your place in the user's primary inbox!
The Article Walkthrough:
- Mailchimp Anti-Spam Policies and Spam Filters
- 13 Proven Tips To Get Your Emails to the Inbox Using Mailchimp
- Set up custom email domain authentication
- Ask your recipients to mark your emails as not Spam
- Make sure you get explicit permission from your contacts
- Ask contacts to add you to their safe sender list
- Use merge tags to personalize the "To" field
- Add an unsubscribe link to your campaigns and permission reminder
- Use Mailchimp's Campaign Builder to design a clean email campaign
- Use descriptive text links and try disabling link tracking
- Ensure you use a basic text editor for HTML emails
- Test and preview your email thoroughly before you send
- Ensure your email has no affiliate contact
- Make sure your contact list has none of the prohibited Role-Based Addresses
- Ask These Questions to Define the Potential Reason for Landing in Spam
- Conclusion: Spam as a Great Opportunity
Mailchimp Anti-Spam Policies and Spam Filters
One of the main reasons why Mailchimp sticks to strict anti-spam policies is because it is committed to helping others reach their email marketing dreams and goals. Aside from such sophisticated reasons, there are more practical ones to discuss:
- Legal compliances: Mailchimp is a marketing service that takes anti-spam laws like the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR exceptionally seriously.
- Mail list quality: Mailchimp encourages all users to pay increased attention to their sending lists so that their messages enter the inboxes of those subscribers who've given their permission for them (and ensuring there’s no spam sign ups).
- Content guidelines: All Mailchimp users must abide by strict content laws so that their emails don't get flagged as spam based on low-content quality and being over-spammed with spam triggers.
- Individual servers: All the marketing campaigns go through Mailchimp's dedicated servers, which comply with their Anti-Spam requirements to the letter.
Here are the Terms users agree when registering with Mailchimp (yeah, only a few people usually look there!):
Let's not forget about Mailchimp's Omnivore protection system. This abuse-prevention system is designed to check and deal effectively with any new email addresses that haven't been sent to before.
Omnivore checks new addresses for spam traps, hard bounces, and complaints. Suppose any potential spam threats are detected. In that case, the system keeps the data but puts those addresses in the archive (you can archive contacts manually, too) so that it does not affect your email deliverability and spam rate.
The simplest way to solve the matter whenever Omnivore notifications come up would be to reconfirm the imported or newly acquired addresses.
Although your email marketing efforts are dispatched via Mailchimp's specialized servers, the servers of the recipients hold considerable influence over email delivery vs deliverability. Certain recipient servers implement excessively stringent anti-spam protocols, which could potentially cause delays or even change the final delivery status of the emails. Unfortunately, Mailchimp doesn't have the ability to control or impact the path from the recipient server to the recipient's inbox.
Now, without further ado, let’s move to the point!
13 Proven Tips To Get Your Emails to the Inbox Using Mailchimp
How to prevent Mailchimp from going to spam? We wish there was a simple, one-word answer to this complex question. However, you can take some practical steps to solve the matter effectively.
Set up custom email domain authentication
If you buy a dedicated domain directly from Mailchimp, you may skip this step since authentication will be set automatically. However, if you already own a domain, or just acquired one, domain authentication will help you prove your legitimacy, skyrocket delivery rates, improve sender reputation, and make your campaign look professional.
Note! Authentication can only be added to domains your business owns and controls. Email addresses at public email services like Gmail, Yahoo, and others cannot be authenticated through Mailchimp.
To set up a custom domain, you'll have to play around with the DNS record configurations for a while, but those changes will result in the following:
- Deletion of default Mailchimp authentication info from your 'From' name. This concerns most email clients, but exceptions like Outlook happen.
- Primary inbox placement instead of the junk folder.
- Ideal compliance with Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC), and Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) records with a direct impact on your effective deliverability rates.
Setting up a custom domain manually isn't an easy task to carry out since it is pretty high-tech. Still, Mailchimp presents a variety of tools and handy tutorials on how to do it effortlessly.
Ask your recipients to mark your emails as not Spam
The minute you suspect there's something off with your marketing campaign stats, we suggest you consult the Abuse Complaints chapter. Despite how user-oriented, well-targeted, and informative your messages are, they can be accidentally marked as spam.
The simplest way to solve the matter is to communicate with your client base and ask that they kindly locate your messages in the Spam folder and mark them as Not Spam/Junk. Most email clients have a safe sender or allowlist for trusted contacts in the address book.
Make sure you get explicit permission from your contacts
Important! Mailchimp does not tolerate purchased email lists! (check handy email scrubbing software)
- Secure express permission: include a separate checkbox for 'I'd like to receive newsletters/marketing offers from COMPANY NAME.'
- Get a written or achieved permission: with the Mailchimp sign-up form in use, the system will record precise submission details so that you'll have verified permission at hand.
- Don't assume you just have the permission: whenever in doubt—reconfirm.
Also, we recommend checking out these Examples of Compliant and Non-Compliant Lists from Mailchimp:
Ask contacts to add you to their safe sender list
As email clients get more elaborate with their filtering approaches, for the greater good, of course, some of the legitimate senders may end up on the wrong end of the inbox. The way out is simpler than you think–all you have to do is talk to your target audience.
You can use the "Add us to your address book" link for the subscribers to add you to their safe sender list or whitelist in every marketing email you send. Mailchimp provides a dedicated merge tag you can implement into either your header or footer, which will be replaced with a specific URL teaching your users how to add your email to their address book.
Practical tip: Simply add this merge tag to every marketing email you send, either in a footer or a header, and Mailchimp will replace it with a unique URL:
Or, you can directly inquire that your users introduce you to their address book. Every email client has a dedicated allow list, so chosen senders are untouched by suspicious spam filters.
Volumes have been written on the quality of email marketing content since those messages that even remotely resemble spam end up in the junk folder. However, Mailchimp has a stronger content policy than most.
Emails that include content that:
- Indicates threats of physical harm, including but not limited to images, advertisements, or statements.
- Promotes hatred and harassment or is hateful and discriminative in any way.
- Relates to public organizations as well as individual people that proclaim and stick to hateful goals and acknowledge physical violence objectives…
…will be blocked, and the account/membership will be terminated immediately.
Surely, most of Mailchimp's users abide by the mentioned terms, yet running a quick spam words checker session is another great routine to keep up with the ever-changing anti-spam rules. Spam trigger words are added to the list daily. Make sure that you can detect them all.
Use merge tags to personalize the "To" field
We've briefly mentioned the notion of merge tags already, but aside from being handy when it comes to a safe sender list, a 'To' merge tag can also prevent Mailchimp emails from going to spam.
Merge tags are designed for an improved personal touch of your emails. As you gather specific data on each potential subscriber through the sign-up form, the merge tags will help you implement this dynamic information into every campaign with as many as a few clicks.
For instance, you can personalize the 'To' field with either a first name, a last name, or both the first and the last name tags. So, every time you reach out to the client, it will feel like there's a friendly bond between you, which will put spam filters at bay and potentially prevent readers from marking your emails as spam.
Also, check our article on email marketing personalization for 14 more ways to customise your marketing efforts.
Add an unsubscribe link to your campaigns and permission reminder
As we've already mentioned, Mailchimp is a law-abiding mailing platform. Thus, adding an unsubscribe link to your emails isn't a friendly request but a mandatory requirement. Users who find it difficult to unsubscribe usually mark such messages as spam, and a growing spam rate will affect all service users.
Helping the users recognize you for a legitimate business is a practical way of preventing Mailchimp email from going to spam.
Practical tip: You can’t use your own unsubscribe link because the Mailchimp system doesn’t recognize it. Here’re the merge tags from Mailchimp for copying and pasting:
Insert in custom code: <a href="*|UNSUB|*">Unsubscribe from this list.</a>
Insert in plain-text campaign: Unsubscribe from this list: *|UNSUB|*
Use Mailchimp's Campaign Builder to design a clean email campaign
One more way to prevent Mailchimp emails from going to spam is to create a neat and user-oriented campaign. You don't have to use any third-party source to succeed with the task, since Mailchimp's Campaign Builder offers all the means you require.
You can import all your contacts into the 'To' section with as little as a click of a button. Aside from that, the service allows it to create appealing subject lines and valuable and good-looking content, not to mention high-end personalization through available merge tags.
The full list of personalized merge tags can be found in this helpful article.
Use descriptive text links and try disabling link tracking
Most present-day spam filters are programmed to double-check each and every link embedded into an email – and for a good reason. Almost 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent out daily. So, one of the most effective ways to keep Mailchimp from going to spam is to use highly descriptive text links.
Descriptive links are incredibly user-friendly and give the user a clear idea of where they will be taken as they click the link. At the same time, it is best to disable link tracking to keep spam filter suspicion to a bare minimum. Many email clients view link tracking as spammy behavior up to this day.
Ensure you use a basic text editor for HTML emails
As you strive to make your emails look as fancy and unique as possible, it may occur to you that coding your own HTML email template is an excellent idea. However, it’s very tricky, and in most cases, the opposite happens (check the detailed guide on plain text vs. HTML).
If you choose to code your template in any other way than just sticking to a basic text editor for HTML, you will introduce extra code into your message. Modern spam filters are tuned to detect and tag those extra codes as suspicious, directing them to the spam folder instead of the primary inbox.
So, we recommend using basic HTML editor and templates available in Mailchimp.
Also, make sure to check this Mailchimp article for common HTML mistakes.
Test and preview your email thoroughly before you send
One of the most critical factors to forget about when working on your email campaign is that your target audience will use different devices to view your message. Thus, to get past spam filters and right into the primary inbox, Mailchimp suggests that you preview your template in all available modes and programs.
Moreover, sending a test email to yourself and sharing it with colleagues will give you a great insight into what may be off before you initiate an actual campaign. Spam filters are there to detect your errors and mistakes.
Ensure your email has no affiliate contact
Why are my Mailchimp emails going to junk? The answer to that usually lies closer to the surface than you assume. For instance, Mailchimp strictly prohibits affiliate marketing as an industry. However, affiliate links that lead to third-party sources but don't advertise them directly are allowed.
Make sure your contact list has none of the prohibited Role-Based Addresses
Role-based addresses are used by bigger enterprises to define a job/position rather than an individual team member behind it. Moreover, usually more than a single person manages such addresses. The main reason why you should keep your list clean of those addresses is that they usually become inactive over time.
As you try to reach those emails, your bounce rates will start to grow, along with the spam complaint, which both lead to increased spam rates. When you use Mailchimp to import your list, the system detects those addresses and blocks them automatically.
Ask These Questions to Define the Potential Reason for Landing in Spam
When you sit down and think: 'My MailChimp emails are going to spam–what may be the reason?', we suggest you run through these simple questions and answer them truthfully. You'll likely find the underlying cause sooner than you expect.
Quick tip! Check the Report Page regularly to track and monitor your campaign stats. Detailed statistics will provide you with clear insight into potential weak spots.
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Conclusion: Spam as a Great Opportunity
At the end of the day, some of your handcrafted and nurtured emails will end up in the spam folder. However, instead of breaking up about it, you can use this as your golden chance to find the root of the problem and deal with it effectively to stop Mailchimp emails going to spam (either alone or with dedicated email deliverability solutions).
Think about it this way – when a trusted and loyal client of yours can't find your messages in the primary inbox, they will go to great lengths to browse through their Spam folders and whitelisting you. Such deeds result in stronger customer loyalty and higher engagement rates, which are benefits not to be acquired effortlessly.
Finally, with the best email outreach tools available in the market, you are not the only one left with these problems. Suppose you keep struggling with determining the reason why your emails keep going to junk. In that case, you can always rely on professional assistance and schedule professional email deliverability consulting.