For an online marketer, it's vital to ensure that every cold email reaches the recipient's inbox. However, email deliverability remains a serious issue despite the variety of automation tools, and some of your prospects can never see the bulk emails you send.
From this guide, you'll learn how to measure and improve the deliverability of your email marketing campaigns.
Why Did a Spam Filter Deliver Your Email to a Junk Folder?
You may never know the exact reason why your email was considered spam by a spam filter. And, though you haven't sent a single spam email, your message can possess specific criteria that make algorithms move it to the spam folder immediately.
Reasons for Categorizing Your Message as a Spam Email
1. You use spam-like words in the email content or its subject lines.
2. You use shared IP addresses with senders having a poor reputation for spam filters.
3. You send bulk emails without having set up the SPF and DKIM parameters.
4. You send emails to contacts from third-party databases.
5. You send bulk emails without warming up your mailbox.
6. Your sender score is low, and the bounce rate is high.
7. You send bulk emails and don't allow readers to opt-out.
8. You send emails with images, attachments, and links.
Meeting the Spam Filter Requirements
Now when you know the logic of spam filters, let's see how you can help your every email avoid your recipient's spam folder:
1. Preparing Your Sender Address
These three actions will get your mailbox ready for bulk emails.
- Register a separate mailbox for email marketing.
It's good to separate the mailbox for transactional emails and marketing emails. The first ones are messages you send individually after a particular action is triggered. This can be a bank transaction when the buyer makes a purchase. The marketing message is a bulk email that you send to potential clients promoting your offer.
And, since every domain (the website and email addresses) has its own reputation for spam filters, you'd better separate them. For example, you can use the main domain name for confirming account creation, resetting passwords, order confirmations, and similar messages. At the same time, you'll send your email marketing campaigns from the additional address.
- Check your sender reputation.
You can send bulk emails without knowing you send spam, so your sender score can decrease with time. This score is usually a rate from 0 to 100, and it's one of the elements impacting your deliverability. Folderly is one of the tools that measure the overall sender reputation of your email address and shows how spam filters treat your bulk emails.
You can measure the score of the IP addresses you use for sending mass emails or enter the domain name. And, if you can just switch to another IP once its score is low, the domain represents your brand’s name. So, you'll need to grow this rate using these recommendations and top instruments.
- Choose the warmup tool.
If you have only registered a new mailbox, you won't be able to send bulk emails without warming it up first. Otherwise, each message can land in the recipient's spam folder. That's because such behavior is similar to what spammers do, and it'll alert spam filters to block you.
To prove to email service providers that your cold outreach is legitimate, you'll gradually need to grow your daily sending volume. This way, you'll gain the trust of most email clients. And to have reliable results, you'd better use email warmup tools. They'll allow you to send up to 300-500 per day without triggering any spam filter.
2. Keeping Your Contact Lists Healthy
This section will help you ensure your contact list doesn't include any spam traps. That's what you need to do.
- Remove duplicate contacts.
Sending identical emails won't make spam filters move your email to junk, so technically, you'll have no issues.
Deleting duplicate emails is vital for not getting spam complaints from your audience. Even when users agree to receive some newsletters, getting two or three similar emails in your primary inbox can irritate them.
So, make this simple step to keep your subscribers engaged and happy with every bulk email they get from you. Luckily, you don't have to do that manually in 2022. Almost all email marketing tools eliminate those duplicates for you. However, your challenge is to detect different addresses of the same users and leave the preferred one.
- Don't buy contact bases.
No matter how reliable the contact list seller seems to you, never use email lists collected by someone else. That's because they can include inactive email addresses or invalid, temporary, and old emails that will grow your bounce rate. Moreover, incorrectly gathered bases can even contain spam traps. Internet providers create fake emails (traps) on purpose to catch spammers.
Another threat of using third-party contact lists is that users didn't agree to receive your bulk emails. So, each unsolicited email has a high chance to land in the recipient's spam box. Or, maybe that list was sold to your ten competitors, and contacts are furious about every cold email they see on your topic. So, don't be in a hurry and collect your own contact list using the subscription opt-in form. That's the only proven way to send bulk emails without spamming.
- Launch your bulk email campaigns with valid addresses.
Sometimes even the emails gathered through the opt-in form can include wrong addresses. This can happen if you got an email long ago, and its user abandoned or deleted it. But what if the subscriber made a typo? You probably want to learn about this before sending bulk emails.
That's why validating email addresses should become your regular exercise. You can get the list split into three groups: valid, risky, and invalid with free tools. Start your email campaign with 96% correct and only 4% of risky ones to keep your bounce rate under 4% (the percentage of undelivered emails). And immediately delete all the addresses from the third category because they include DNS (Domain Name Service), syntax, or mailbox errors.
- Use the double opt-in method and add honeypots.
There are two ways to prevent fake and incorrect emails from joining your contact list. The first is the double opt-in signup –– when subscribers receive an email and need to finalize their subscription by clicking the link. This method helps avoid addresses with typos and spambots in your mass emails.
Hackers use fake sign-ups to get your emails and change them before others receive them. They can include malicious links or CTAs (Call to Action) for fraud. Or they can learn your address to send their spam emails to you.
And, to prevent you and other recipients from such a threat, use invisible to people additional boxes to tick on your signup forms. Bots will automatically complete all fields, so with this spam trap, you'll be able to identify them.
3. Creating Interesting and Non-Spammy Email Content
This section will share some tips on creating bulk emails without spamming elements.
- Craft catchy subject lines without spam words.
The subject line is the first thing your reader will notice in an email. So, these several words have to be catchy and relevant. Once you pick up the leads that correspond to your ideal customer, you can write subject lines referring to recent trigger events or personalized industry-related keywords.
But to make sure that every bulk email reader sees your email in the primary inbox, you need to make it spam words free. There are many lists with such words and phrases, so read them before writing the copy. And also, avoid spammy punctuation like multiple exclamations or question marks.
- Create engaging email content.
Relevance and personalization are the main features of exciting and involving content. So, if your bulk email with an offer arrives at the wrong time, it may remain unopened. If it lacks personal details or, for example, there's a mistake in the recipient's name; the reader won't respond to your CTA.
Craft your email messages around the value proposition and clearly state the action you want your target audience to take. Create your copy in a conversational tone and address it to a natural person. Still, be brief, add enough white space, and check the content for spelling mistakes from subject lines to email signatures.
- Don't add images.
For most spam filters, an image is a red flag. That's because spammers know that no email service provider can read pictures and hide their messages behind jpeg, png, and other formats. But once spam filters can't read the content of an email with a non-reliable reputation, it'll be marked spam.
This is especially true for image-only emails, so don't be among those who reach out to prospects with such emails. Though bright pictures seem more catchy, B2B leads prefer plain text emails with transparent intent and a clear value proposition. Explaining how your product solves a problem in several sentences works better than any image or fun gif.
- Don't include links or attachments.
These two elements immediately trigger spam filters: attachments and links. Today mail recipients will never follow long or shortened links or open files attached to unknown emails. Even if your message's subject line, sender's address, and text preview look trustworthy to prospects, they'll move it to a spam box if it has an attachment.
So, even if the recipient's server delivers such bulk emails, users will never read the information in suspicious links and attached files. Intelligent users won't even open such an email even though it's sent from the same domain as your website has, and the first and last names of the sender coincide with the name stated in the footer.
- Leave HTML format for the future.
Some email clients, especially corporate ones, don't allow receiving HTML emails for security reasons. But on the other hand, many mailbox providers can automatically generate plain text emails and still deliver these bulk emails. So, from the reader's point of view, there's not much sense in creating complex versions even though your email tool offers some pre-set templates.
But if you consider the plain text version too simple and want to apply the HTML format in your email marketing, stick to the best practices. Use universal fonts, acceptable width, grid-based layers, small-size images, etc. And remember that any errors in the code will make your bulk emails unresponsive, which will affect your email deliverability.
- Compose a trustworthy email signature for your bulk emails.
A legitimate and trustworthy signature in your bulk email campaign is probably as important as its subject line. When you add your logo and a picture, readers can better remember your brand and offer. And if you add the link to your LinkedIn account, readers can find proof of what your company does, check your role in it, and get to know you better.
However, spam filters don't like too intensive colors and assess the brightness of your signature block. In addition, mind the optimized text-to-image ratio of your email footer to avoid the spam folder. It should be somewhere between 4:1 and 3:2. You can use multiple email signature templates and generators for various email campaigns.
- Include an unsubscribe link.
An easily identifiable unsubscribe link is a chance to secure your bulk emails from being moved to spam. Your recipients may wish to stop getting your messages even if they subscribe. And hiding or eliminating this option will only provoke the reader to move your message to the spam box.
Let users opt out of your email campaign in one or two clicks and immediately remove their addresses from your email marketing contact list.
Another reason why you shouldn't send bulk emails without including unsubscribe links is that it's one of the seven requirements of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act.
4. Following the CAN-SPAM Act Requirements
There are seven legal requirements behind the CAN-SPAM Act. Let's take a look at them.
- Make the information in your email header clear.
The email address you state in the "From" line should contain your domain name and your first and last names. Such email addresses gain trust, especially if the names coincide with those stated in the email signature.
This way, you refer to your business name, so make sure that your website is up and running and all subdomains redirect users to your main web page. Also, keep the recipient's and routing data accurate.
- Keep your subject line promises true.
When you send mass emails, keep their subject lines transparent and trustworthy. This means that the message content should be relevant to what you write in a subject line. And once you give any promise there, you'll have to keep it.
For example, if you talk about a 20% discount on your products, don't make readers open your message and get only 5%. And a few minutes later they discover that 20% discount applies only to the third product they buy. After such a trick, recipients can get angry and move your message to the spam folder.
- State that you send an ad.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires every cold email sender to disclose that the email contains an ad. The FTC doesn't specify the exact wording, only stating that there are many ways to inform your recipients about your profits.
For example, in the disclaimer (written statement), you can mention that you get some commission on products you sell or links you publish. Such an approach isn't only law-compliant, but it helps build trust with your potential buyers.
- Share your physical address.
In our digital world, mentioning physical addresses can seem unnecessary. However, the FTC requires you to state the physical location of you or your business. It can be any valid postal address, including private mailboxes that operate in line with the regulations of the US Postal Service.
Your business or private street address or a post office box will make your emails compliant with the official regulations and more trustworthy to your audience. In case your recipients need to find you offline, they'll know where to go.
- Make sure every bulk email is CAN-SPAM Act compliant.
This clause warns you that every cold message sent on your behalf should meet the Federal Trade Commission's requirements. So, you’re still responsible for its content, whether you send bulk emails personally or delegate this task to some agent, assistant, or even automation tool.
This way, even contracting the email marketing function to another company, the legal responsibility won't be contracted.
- Add an unsubscribe button or link.
We've covered the unsubscribe option in the previous section. We discussed that when users decide to opt out of your messages, you'd better give them such a possibility. Otherwise, your email will end up in a spam folder.
The FTC focuses more on the recipients' right to choose what content they want to see and interact with. And, as email recipients, we really appreciate this opportunity, don't we?
- Make sure to remove "unsubscribers" from your contact list.
The actual removal of the recipient from your contact list has no impact on spam filter algorithms. Spam detectors won't be able to see if you keep spamming users after they decide to unsubscribe from your emails.
But what is dangerous in doing so is that each user can consistently move your messages to the spam folder. Your sender reputation will drop with time, and your email domain can be blacklisted.
5. Setting up the Tech Parameters for Your Email Campaign
Each email has DNS settings that can prevent this message from going to spam. So, setting these three essential parameters will help advanced spam filters identify your email as legitimate.
- Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
The SPF record is the text that includes all the server's IP addresses and domain names that can send emails on your behalf. This list contains your email service provider and all the tools that send bulk emails for you. Don’t forget to correct your SPF parameter once you change or add another automation instrument. Otherwise, the recipient's spam filter system will categorize such messages as fraudulent.
The SPF record is vital for preventing phishing attacks. This type of fraud allows hackers access to the sensitive information of your recipients. This happens because users trust your messages and open them without noticing that they are altered.
- DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
DKIM is a security standard that proves to a spam filter that it receives the same email initially sent. So, this email authentication technique helps identify that no one changed the message in transit. The sender signs the email with a cryptographic key, and the receiving server can use the public part of this key to verify if the message is authentic.
Though it's not obligatory to set this parameter to send bulk emails, some mail providers still don't support the DKIM format. That's because this protocol is only optional, but, once set, it'll become another security layer for your email marketing.
- Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)
In the DMARC record, you set the rules for servers' spam filter algorithms. You instruct the ESPs (Email Server Providers) on treating the email failing the SPF and DKIM: move it to a spam folder, put it on quarantine, or reject.
Ensuring high deliverability to your email marketing campaigns includes many elements. They include crafting a catchy subject line, adding an unsubscribe link, creating an engaging email body, and eliminating spam trigger words.
Adding technical setups also helps spam filters categorize your email messages as secure and legitimate. So, with this guide, you can adjust your email marketing strategy and help your every message avoid landing in a spam box.
Do you want to send bulk emails without going to spam? Boost your email deliverability with Folderly!