Let's be honest – we've all been there – spending hours crafting a perfect email, only to have it disappear into the abyss of the spam folder. Mass emailing is tricky, with 15.8% of all emails going missing or being caught by spam filters.
Such a challenging reality makes dedicated marketers think hard about how to send bulk emails without spamming users' inboxes and profit from those campaigns at the same time. After all, you can earn around $36 from every $1 invested in a smart mass emailing campaign.
We won't try and sell you a magical recipe to transform every marketing venture into a successful event. There would be no such recipe, even if we wanted to.
Still, there is nothing you can't achieve with the right strategies. According to the study by McKinsey & Company, businesses that possess a well-defined strategy outperform their competitors in areas such as revenue growth, profitability, and value creation for their shareholders.
Folderly experts are thrilled to reveal the essential steps to conquer spam filters and ensure the success of your mass email campaigns.
Let's get right to the point!
➡️ How to ensure smart email list clean-up and maintenance (5 Tips)
➡️ How (and why) to comply with email regulations
➡️ How to take care of technical settings (7 Tips)
➡️ How to optimize time and frequency (2 Tips)
➡️ How to ensure high-quality content and design (6 Tips)
➡️ Consumer's perspective on mass email marketing (insightful statistics)
➡️ Checklist with questions to double-check before hitting send button
Ensure Smart Email List Clean-Up & Maintenance
The notion of email lists comes up when you start to brood about how to send mass emails without being marked as spam. There is more to a well-composed and properly cleaned mailing list than some marketers realize. Thus, we suggest you (regularly) update your email lists by following the next steps:
Using double opt-in and adding “honeypot”
There are two ways to prevent fake and incorrect emails from joining your contact list. The first way 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. Besides, 43% of individuals still tend to flag or mark promotional emails as spam after a single opt-in.
FYI: 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.
Expert tip from Folderly: To prevent you and other recipients from such a threat, use invisible 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. In addition to cybersecurity, you improve the engagement rate with double opt-in.
Validating email addresses
In the average mailing list, from 5% up to 30% of emails will be invalid. You should be confident that you made the right decision. Those emails were never going to be delivered anyway.
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%. And immediately delete all the addresses from the third category because they include DNS (Domain Name Service), syntax, or mailbox errors.
Building your list organically
No matter how reliable the contact list seller seems to you, never use email lists collected by someone else. Incorrectly gathered bases can even contain spam traps. Internet providers create fake emails (traps) on purpose to catch spammers. Besides, you are destined to harm your email deliverability and IP reputation.
Collect your own contact list using proven ways:
- The subscription opt-in form
- Registration forms for webinars
- PDF files and other materials (give a free cookie before you sell)
Here’s a great example:
Expert tip from Folderly: Note that once a user registers for a webinar or includes an email to get a free pdf, it doesn’t mean you automatically get the right to send daily commercial emails. It’s required to send a double opt-in or ask about user preferences before you start sending lots of emails according to GDPR Email Compliance.
Segmenting your prospects
The research proves that segmented lists bring 51.64% higher engagement than non-segmented campaigns.
Getting an email from a source you barely recognize instantly raises suspicion. That's why you must target the right audience when sending mass emails. Otherwise, it will seem like bulk mailing for the sake of it, neither more nor less.
Pre-segmenting your email list is undoubtedly a time and effort-involving process. Still, the outcome will help you target your subscribers smartly, depending upon their position in the sales funnel and their present needs.
It is possible and often advised to group your contacts based on such criteria as:
- Purchase history
- Interests (clicks in the emails segmented by interests are 74.53% higher than non-segmented campaigns)
- Buyer's profile, and so on.
You can also segment based on the level of engagement and user preferences of how many emails one wants to receive.
The number of options to come up with is unlimited. Be a segmentation artist.
Removing 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 makes them likely to flag your message as spam.
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. Many email marketing tools eliminate those duplicates for you.
Comply with Email Regulations
Penalties can be really serious. And it’s not just about being blacklisted. For instance, using false and misleading headers that were against CAN-SPAM Act led to a $2.5 million fine for a pharmaceutical manufacturer.
There are seven legal requirements behind the CAN-SPAM Act. Let's take a look at them. Here’s a checklist with questions for you to ask before sending every email:
Is the information in the email subject line clear and 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 the subject line. And once you give any promise there, you'll have to keep it.
🚫 If you talk about a 20% discount on your products, don't make readers open your message and get only 5%. Never.
Do I use my real name in the “From” line?
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.
Did you add your business or your personal address?
You need 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.
Did you include an unsubscribe link/button?
You must provide a clear and conspicuous way for the recipient to opt out of future emails, usually in the footer of your email.
Did you remove all unsubscribed contacts?
The actual removal of the recipient from your contact list has no impact on spam filter algorithms. Yes, 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.
Expert tip from Folderly: 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.
Take Care of Technical Settings
There's a lot to do on the technical side of email marketing, too. In case you don't know where to start, this section will point you precisely in the right direction!
Choose safe bulk ESP
With all the authentication records rocking the email marketing community, it's effortless to let the notion of a trustworthy Email Service Provider (ESP) escape your mind. As the number of available options grows, it becomes more and more challenging to pick the suitable one. However, a whopping 88.57% of the total email client market share still belongs to Gmail and Apple.
Most of the popular ESPs are focused on the following features:
- Extensive and customizable template library
- Practical email segmentation tools
- Reliable database and effective API integration
- Various email automation features
- Detailed email analytics tools and algorithms
To put it simply, if the ESP covers it all, you may rush and call it a deal. However, from a user's perspective, there are some more down-to-earth criteria to brood upon:
- The cost – not all the providers enlist free services and free trials. If it is a start-up you run, you may want to center your attention on the ESPs that enlist some helpful freebies rather than dive headfirst and invest in the most expensive provider on the market (remember that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can enjoy an average return of $40).
- Deliverability standards – a reliable ESP complies with all the known standards, and there is a reason you should take the notion seriously. Most providers found online present either shared or dedicated IP addresses. While the latter option is usually a more expensive one, it guarantees that your emails are less likely to get blocked.
- API integration – in the process of thinking of how to send mass emails without being marked as spam, it is vital to remember to keep an open space for any third-party app. ESPs that support API integration are the best to cooperate with since you can handle most functions from a single interface.
- Scalability – even if you start with a mailing list of 2K of active subscribers, you must consider it expanding to 10K over time. Thus, when signing up with an ESP, you have to weigh whether the service can provide for a systematically growing list and incoming demand.
- Client support – the better the customer support policy of an ESP is, the better your chance of smooth and effective interaction is.
- Ease of migration – at times, the need to switch from one ESP to another arises, and it's best if your current provider allows it to export all the data effortlessly and without any obstruction.
- Anti-spam compliance – a reliable ESP should comply well with all the industry rules and guidelines, including but not limited to CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CCPA.
Register a separate mailbox for email marketing
It's good to separate the mailbox for transactional emails and marketing emails, with the first having twice higher open rate. 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.
DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail)
After you land with a dedicated ESP and have your mailbox registered, it is time to consider those authentication criteria.
We're not going to dwell on the in-depth technicality of the DKIM records, just outline the essential points why you need those when working on how to send bulk emails without spamming.
The primary goal of the record is to assure the recipient that the email is sent from the domain owner. The goal is achieved through a digital signature attached to the message. Once a valid DKIM signature is located, the email is allowed to hit the primary inbox.
SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
Another highly effective authentication technique is setting up an SPF record. The primary aim of the record is to define the list of IP addresses allowed to send messages on your behalf so that no phishing attempts or email spoofing are possible. You can do it manually or save time and resources with AI tools.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance)
Last but not least, the DMARC record tells the receiving servers what to do with emails that seem to be sent on your behalf but don't pass all the authentication checks. 80% of all ESP subject to inbound email are subjected to DMARC inspections. Usually, the system investigates whether the email domain of the sending email address and the domain that the message actually is sent through are a match. If the two coincide, the email gets into the intended inbox. In case they don't – the message goes either to the spam folder or is blocked altogether without being delivered.
Run spam tests before sending
Spam testing belongs to the category of technical matters as well. The process's primary aim is to outline your messages' final destination before you initiate an actual campaign. While it is possible to do this manually, it will take a lot of time and effort. Online spam testing features like the one in Folderly can make your life easier while carrying out the necessary tasks and presenting the most reliable results.
With the spam testing features offered by Folderly, you can check your messages for spam triggers, sender reputation stats, and potential email folder placement. The tests are quick and 100% reliable. Last but not least, the Folderly client support policy is close to being outstanding. Thus, if you have any questions related to the spam tests or any other feature or function, you can reach out and have your questions answered within short notice.
Optimize Frequency and Time
Even the best emails get ignored. Why? Two reasons that are often overlooked are too many emails or bad timing. Too many emails or bad timing. It's essential to carefully evaluate the frequency and timing of your messages to ensure they're well-received and avoid being disregarded.
Mass email frequency advice
32% of marketers connect with their clients only 2-3 times a month, 19% 4-6 times, 17% once, and 16% more than 6 times. But it depends on your particular audience and product. Usually, a fair share of A/B dedicated testing is required.
- Inform the recipients — while the study shows that 61% of subscribers would like to get promotional emails every week, the best way to learn is to ask them. A simple quiz or questionnaire sent out to your active mailing list is a great idea. Besides, it's recommended to give them a choice to opt for a desired frequency in the every letter you send.
- Consistency is the key — regularly getting in touch with your existing clients is a good strategy. 28% of subscribers say they’d like to get promo offers twice or even three times a week.
- Automation is critical – depending upon the chosen software, you can pre-set the desired frequency and let the system do your job while you take on some more pressing matters.
- Divide and conquer — it often turns out that the same frequency does not suit all the users on the list. Half of all marketers believe that there isn't an ideal time to send email campaigns because each person and business is distinct.
- Warm up the list – some businesses bombard their potential clients with all they have at the same time. Don't go that way. Gradually increasing your presence in the user's inbox is the route you should take instead. Warming up their emails and making them a pleasant routine brings results.
FYI: When you send 500 emails from a newly-registered account, they'll end up in a spam folder. This will happen because that's exactly what spammers do – register email addresses and bombard users with junk.
- Change seasonal sending strategies — The highest email traffic occurs during the fall and winter months, particularly on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and December 23rd. Mind that to not annoy your subscribers.
Mass email sending time advice
Once again, there isn't a magical timetable to stick to so that your campaign generates the best results. The timing depends upon your target audience. If you target stay-at-home moms, you can't expect them to interact with your emails during business hours, Monday through Friday. They are most likely to check their inboxes on the weekend. At the same time, a corporate manager will most likely open your email on Tuesday at 10 am. That's why the most optimal days for emails are Tuesday and Thursday.
However, a few things to consider before initiating that mass email session you have worked so hard for.
- Start with the data – after you gather the most data you can on your potential clientele, you will have a precise idea of their lifestyles.
- Look up the open rates – statistics never lie. If you run a quick test on the most common time your emails are opened, you will have an idea of when to send them. For instance, the worst open and click-through rates is believed to be during weekends.
- Refer to the competitors – should you be new in the industry, it is never a waste to monitor the sending timing of your successful competitors.
Give Priority to High-Quality Content and Design
If it looks like spam, feels like spam – it is most likely spam. That's the general motto that present-day email readers stick to. Personalized emails, for instance, increase click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by nearly 10%.
Thus, it takes time and effort, not to mention a fair share of resources, to craft a content copy that brings a desired action.
'From' or 'reply-to' address
Whenever finishing up the campaign, you have the choice to fill out the 'From' and 'Reply-to' address fields with something like firstname.lastname@example.org. Yet, most marketers don't expect such simple things to trigger the inevitable fall down the spam hole. If your clients can't reach you with whatever question, idea, or suggestion and hit a stone wall, you won't notice it, but the spam filters will. As those unreceived responses pile up, your reputation will spiral down, which is the outcome we want to rule out.
Besides, just FYI, “From” spoofing is common among spames who are faking the “From” line, adding address on an email to make it look like it came from you.
Thus, providing legitimate 'From' and 'Reply-to' addresses is critical.
Compose a trustworthy email signature
A legitimate and trustworthy signature in your bulk email campaign is probably as important as its subject line. Correct email signature not only enhances your professional image and associates it with your brand, but also increases trustworthiness among clients. Some insider’s tips from Folderly on your signature:
- Make it minimalist. Spam filters don't like too intensive colors and assess the brightness of your signature block.
- 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.
- Never use images or logo for cold emails. Less is more in this case.
Add personalization to mass outreach
Did you know that personalized emails increase transaction rates up to 6 times? The CTR is also as high as 75% in personalized emails. Mass email personalization is vital. There's a list of simple yet effective personalization practices to rely on when creating your perfect email templates.
- Segment your user list – using an ESP allows you to divide the used list based on chosen criteria. Be it an age group, location, gender, or devices in use, a separate category should be approached, aka personalized, differently.
- Polish the subject line – personalized subject lines are said to increase the opening rate by 26% (reaching 82% in some cases). It may be a trigger word or the recipient's name that acts as a catalyst.
- Explore dynamic content – with the help of dynamic content. You can personalize different sections of the campaign according to the segment it is intended to cover. Such an approach allows it to spread different texts and images based on the client's segment.
- Personalized journey – while focusing on how to send bulk emails without spamming, you can gain some helpful insight into your clientele. The notion of a personalized journey implies you help the user feel that they are cared for, and their needs are the number 1 priority. For instance, when covering a new subscriber base, you can send them welcome messages with mere yet heart-warming greetings from the team or take things further and inquire about the reader. You can ask the recipient what type of content they like, how often they would like to hear from you, and whatnot – the sky's the limit. Remember ,list segmentation is the number one email marketing tactic, and more than half of marketers benefit from it.
Keep the design simple & professional
You want your emails to draw attention and stand out from the rest. Yet, it is utterly easy to take things a little too far with an overwhelming message design and scare the user off. Thus, you must make your email look as professional and trustworthy as possible.
- Don't shout – ALL capitals in the subject line, or worse – the email body – are a straight way to the spam folder. Those who wrote an email with ALL UPPER CASE subject received a reply 30% less often. Your subscribers don't want to feel like they are being yelled. Keep that in mind.
- Consider colors and fonts – while unusual fonts and colors may attract users' attention, they will also alert spam filters, which isn't something you aim at. For instance, red body text (or green) can be a flag for some spam filters. The safest way out is to stick to classy colors and fonts, focusing on the meaning that the message written in those carries.
- Mind the language – approximately 80% of those surveyed acknowledge that email etiquette has an influence on whether they will respond to an email from an unfamiliar sender. You shouldn't take things over the border and sound overly familiar or pressing.
- Monitor the errors – we may sound like a broken record, but revision is the key to success. Thus, you should spell-check and double-spell your message before pressing that send button.
Watch out for spam triggers
Another simple yet widely underestimated way to send bulk emails without spamming the users' inbox is to eliminate all potential spam triggers from your messages. It may be slightly challenging to do it manually, with all the new spam words hitting the surface daily. However, you can simplify things tremendously together with Folderly.
Not only do we have a dedicated article with all the spam words listed there for you to access, but also, our free spam checker is available for you to test existing templates and get rid of potential spam triggers in no time!
Use media, attachments, and links only when they are really essential
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.
FYI: 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.
Also, these two elements immediately trigger spam filters: attachments and links. Even if your message's subject line, sender's address, and text preview look trustworthy to prospects, prospects are likely to move it to a spam box if it has an attachment.
Consumer's Perspective on Mass Email Marketing: Avoiding Most Common Mistakes
While some sources claim that mass email marketing is doomed – we beg to differ. Unlike others, we have bare facts to rely on, and numbers barely lie. So, what are your potential clients' thoughts on bulk email marketing?
- Around 60% of Millennials prefer to get emails from present-day businesses.
- National and local businesses have the highest chance to effectively reach a location-bound audience.
- Teens are the most interested in the promotional emails category.
- Emails with discounts convert best.
- Only 43% of users provide their active addresses when signing up for website access.
- Emails centered on selling the company's product rather than solving the reader's needs go to spam.
- Almost 70% of people use their mobile devices to read emails, and messages not tuned to fit the mobile mode are often sent to spam.
- A clear and well-written CTA encourages readers to act.
- People welcome evening emails as long as they don't come later than 9-10 pm.
- 47% of recipients open emails based on the subject line. The more attractive and appealing it is, the higher your chances at conversion are.
Checklist with Questions to Double-Check before Hitting Send Button
It's been an informative and interesting journey we've taken together, but it's never a waste to sum up and check if you've got all the points correctly. Use this checklist right in front of you every time you are about the initiate the mass emailing session:
☐ Is the double opt-in enabled?
☐ Have you validated your mailing list?
☐ Is your list organic?
☐ Have you segmented the client base?
☐ Have you checked for duplicates? Are they eliminated?
☐ Did you verify your emails with an online verifier?
☐ Is your header easy to understand?
☐ Did you add an unsubscribe link to the email? Is it easy to spot?
☐ Did you include your physical address?
☐ Did you remove all the unsubscribers from the list?
☐ Can you truly rely on your current ESP?
☐ Do you have a separate mailbox dedicated to email marketing?
☐ Are your authentication settings intact? Check for SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records.
☐ Have you run a spam test?
☐ Have you tuned up the frequency and sending time for all segments?
☐ Are your 'From' and 'Reply-to' addresses intact?
☐ Have you added an email signature to the campaign?
☐ Are your emails properly personalized?
☐ Have you tested the subject line?
☐ Have you eliminated all the spam triggers?
☐ Haven't you gone rogue with media content and attachments?
After you check all the boxes, the chances are that your mass email campaign is safe to be launched.
Wrap-Up: Keep an Open Eye for New Changes
If you belong to 89% of businesses that use email as the primary channel for generating leads, you need to mind all the discussed tips to send bulk emails without getting blacklisted. However, no matter how effective and useful the mentioned above criteria are, you must remember that marketing does not stand in one place. As the industry undergoes specific changes, so should your email marketing strategy. Keep an open eye for new changes to hit the stage, and always test and modify your approach to outshine competitors.
One more thing – if you need a reliable partner in bulk email marketing, you know where to find us. Folderly experts are just a call away!