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Effective Email Content: Avoid Spam Filters

With the flood of emails we all receive at home and work, it is truly a challenge to get your audience to open your message. Once it’s opened, getting them to act by clicking or calling is an even more daunting task. But what if the email doesn’t even make it to their inbox? What if your completely legitimate email falls victim to a spam filter? Your email doesn’t even get the chance to be read by the recipient because his or her computer or ISP determined you were trying to trick them. Hey, we all want less spam, right?

Spam filters are one of the growing hurdles for online marketers. Knowing the appropriate steps to get your message through the filters is what defines the pros. The goal is to separate your messages from the spam by avoiding elements that spam emails most often contain.

Through much testing and research, here are our some of our tried and true methods to modify email content to effectively avoid spam filters:

1. Avoid spam words in your copy. Though this list sounds very limiting at first, avoid the following list of words and decrease your chance of becoming marked as spam: free, click here, money-back, guarantee, 100%, ad, advertisement, cheap, credit, order (today, now, etc), promotion, test, win, limited time, prices, obligation, congratulations, winner, offer, investment, sales, increase. You can see the pattern here—any hard sales verbiage is going to move you further from your audience’s inbox.

2. Ditch salutations like “Dear (name).”
Most unsolicited emails must use salutations to introduce themselves. Since best email marketing practices require that marketers obtain their audience’s permission before contacting them, these salutations are sometimes marked as spam.

3. Refrain from all caps, exclamation points and dollar signs, especially in the email subject. Attract your audience with the message itself, not by SHOUTING IT or adding excessive punctuation marks at the end!!!!!!!! Again, these are cheap tricks used by many spam emails, which we do not want your email to be confused with.

4. Keep from using too many font color/size variations, red text.
Spam filters know that communications from reputable sources have simple type styles, because of brief content (such as email alert opt-ins) or standardized formats (like email newsletters). Emails that are over-styled usually are trying to shout for attention and do not have the recipient’s permission to contact them.

5. Shun witty spellings that include punctuation.
St@y away from *this* – S.P.A.M. filters will kn0w you’re trying to T R I C K them.

6. Don’t send image-only emails.
Some spam filters will think you’re hiding potential spam messaging in a large image, and your email will get flagged immediately.

There are other technical factors to help separate your email from being labeled as spam, but starting here gives you a blueprint for how to give your email content a fighting chance.

Check back for upcoming posts on inbox behaviors, nonspam methods, how to attract your audience’s attention, and your legal CAN-SPAM obligations.

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