The Holidays are over. In most parts of the world, the winter doldrums have set in. People go to work daydreaming of warmth and vacations. The weather seems to be a tossup of sunny and cold or dreary and cold with no change in sight. Snowstorm predictions this time of year is as common as email marking. Did I say Common? Is your email as common as snowstorms in the month of February?
February, normally cold, not much to do, you would think everyone has more time to read your marketing emails. But the truth is, Email, like Snowflakes, are falling into our mail boxes in record numbers, so much is being sent all the time, including tons of SPAM; so, how do you make sure your subscribers continue to open and click on your messages and not shovel them away with the rest of the unwanted emails? There’s a lot of blocking going on out there, reaching your goal of getting your messages to the inbox and bypassing all those attempts to block it, may be hindered by something as common as a Spam Filter.
Why should you be concerned about Spam Filters? Because they are being used everywhere, and can affect your success as an email marketer. For example, when a list subscriber for whatever reason, stops opening your emails, their (non) action may signify to the Spam Filter, that this subscriber is not interested in what you have to say. Their (non) action effects your subscriber engagement percentage. As you probably know subscriber engagement, (the measurement of email recipients that are engaged with your email), is a significant measurement for email marketers. If your subscriber engagement is low compared to the number of subscribers you email, your deliverability rate may suffer. It’s all connected – and worse yet – low subscriber engagement may be your own fault.
Low subscriber engagement may be a symptom of “Identity Crises Syndrome” or ICS. You can find indications of ICS in the sporadic email marketer. When your mailings are infrequent, therefore unexpected, your subscriber may genuinely have forgot they signed up for your list. They have no idea who you are, therefore, in their eyes you could be a spammer and filtered as such. (if they don’t unsubscribe) To overcome ICS, mail regularly, on a schedule and give your recipients the opportunity to tell you how often they would like to hear from you with a preference page. Your goal is to always keep your subscribers engaged on some level.
Not a sporadic emailer and still find yourself fighting Spam Filters and Spam complaints, plus paying for email that’s never read, then, be proactive; prune your list of inactive addresses.
Pruning your list comes with benefits. It will save money on list hosting fees, you will have a rise in subscriber engagements (more opens using an engaged list) which in turn will improve your deliverability with the ISPs who, by the way, monitor for positive subscriber engagement. As stated, its all connected.
Positive signs of engagement maybe:
- Clicking links
- Whitelist your address
- Downloading images
- Reading the message
- Opening the message and scrolling though it
- Flagging the message
- Move the message from Spam box to your inbox
- Forwarding the message
Signs of Negative engagement maybe:
- Reporting you as spammer
- Deleting your email
- Trashing your email
- Not engaging with multiple messages over long periods of time
Always review your email campaigns to identify your inactive subscribers, analyze them and decide who to delete and who you think you can keep (based on whatever criteria you are using). You do this by creating a re-engagement campaign that is simple, with the purpose of regaining your recipients interest in your emails. Monitor your response rate and activity in each mailing. Based on those results, you can permanently delete them from your list or identify them as a fully re-engaged subscriber.
In the meantime no re-engagement action means more Spam Filtering.
Even using a fully engaged list you will find that Spam Filters are not perfect. They can trap good emails just by the way they are configured. For example, most Spam Filters work on a number system or point system, where a value is assigned to certain factors in an email header. Phrases and words that are considered “spammy,” such as “Free or “Free Only Today” or content that appears with subjects like a mortgage pitch or get rich quick email, will be assigned higher numbers or points. If your emails or your total campaigns exceed a certain point threshold – your email doesn’t get to the inbox.
By the way, Spam Filters are used universally, configured by the individual, company or organization who use them. There isn’t a standard list of “spammy”criteria because it’s frequently growing and adapting, based on, what people identify as spam. Consider this: when your inactive email subscriber receives (your) unwanted email, with a click of their mouse they mark your message as spam” or Junk Mail , your now on the Spam Filter list. And strange as it may seem these innocuous filters synchronize with one another and share what they learn.
You may avoid the SPAM FILTER:
- Avoid the cliché of the spammy subject lines
- Keep punctuation @#*^$@_$*@_() out of your subject
- Use both lower and UPPERCASE letters, not just UPPERCASE in the Subject Line
- Create readable content
- Careful with that HTML – code correctly, and if you use Microsoft Office and Dundee List hosting , follow the steps we outlined
- Do not send email to your inactive lists – avoid ICS
- Verify your links, make sure they are active and link only to legitimate trustworthy websites
- Ask your recipient to add your email address to their ‘safe’ list
What are some Indicators your Email is being routed to a SPAM FILTER?
- Decrease open rates
- Higher bounce rates
So the bottom line – do some Spring Cleaning – Prune your list, keep it up to date, do re-engagement campaigns, and you may not get trapped in the Spam Filter.