As a marketing professional, your main objective behind creating and sending an email campaign is to reach straight into the respective inbox without getting into any spam traps. However, spam filters and ISPs are working toward minimizing inbox irrelevance, so it’s highly important for all email marketers to understand how spam filters and firewalls work. So here are a few tips to avoid being marked as spam mail.

In email marketing, the term “spam” means an unsolicited or irrelevant email message, which is sent in bulk to purchased, rented or owned email lists. For instance, if you’ve purchased an email database, you would send those prospects an email with a relevant business offer or information via an email. However, these people didn’t specifically give you permission to send them email; and thus, it may be considered spam.

  • CAN-Spam include clauses such as:
  • Never use deceptive headers/sender names/reply-to address/subject line
  • Always provide an unsubscribe link
  • Ensure that the unsubscribe link is working for at least for 30 days
  • Include a physical address.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is similar to CAN-Spam, but includes all electronic communication — not only email messages.

Aside from CAN-Spam or CASL, there are many country-specific and regional anti-spam laws.

How Do Spam Filters Work?

Spam filters have a long list of criteria for scrutinizing spam in an email message. Generally, they will measure each and every element of an email and then rate them with a spam score, which further helps to determine whether an email will pass through the spam filter or not. If an email message exceeds the spam score limit, your email will be immediately flagged as spam or will go straight to the junk or trash folder. Each spam filter operates in a different way, and has a different way to pass an email or score on the spam scale depending on each individual administration server. In other words, an email message can easily pass through Spam Filter A, and the same email gets flagged by Spam Filter B.

How Email Marketers Can Avoid Being Flagged as Spam

There’s no magic mantra to pass these spam filters easily, and thus no spam filters have ever revealed their filtering criteria or parameters. But you can follow the below-mentioned few guidelines to avoid being trapped by a spam filter or landing in the junk folder.

  • Campaign Metadata:Spam filters always ensure that you’re acquainted with the person receiving the email. It’s highly recommended that marketers use merge tags and personalize the “To:” field of the email message, sending via verified domains and requesting the recipients add your email address to their contact book.
  • IP Address of Email Sender:All spam filters will mark your email campaign as spam if anyone with the same IP address has ever sent spammy mails.
  • Avoid Coding in Campaigns:Spam filters may mark your email message as spam if it’s sloppy code or has extra tags. It’s always a great idea to use popular email templates or hire a designer.
  • Message Contents:Spam filters will flag emails with message contents that have specific text or images. The exact triggers are unclear in the unrevealed algorithms. Though there’s no set of best practices or rules to follow, you can be saved from the spam trap by having a clear email template that creates engagement. Also, ensure that your subscribers have opted in to receiving your emails.
  • Be Consistent:Never deviate from the main purpose of your content and design. Stick to sending email messages that your email recipients can relate to easily in all platforms.
  • Testing:By using either A/B or multiple variant testing you can easily learn the correlation between the type of content and its effects on delivery and engagement.

Abuse Reports and Accidental Abuse Reports

In most cases, when any email user receives an email and thinks it’s spam, eventually that recipient will tag you that way. Once the consumer flags that particular email message as spam, an “Abuse Report” is generated and sent to the recipient’s ISP. If these spam reports are generated continuously, an automated warning message will be sent to the email sender.

For every ISP, it’s important to reduce unwanted (spam) email for the users. And so when you receive an abuse report, it’s unnegotiable; it’s like you are considered guilty until proved innocent.

So make sure your email database has been collected legally, in case you’re questioned or receive any spam complaint. You can prove that it’s a simple mistake. But if your spam complainer has enough evidence to question your email list collection and email practices, without a doubt your account will be disabled, temporarily shut down or permanently deleted.

For any ESP, it’s necessary to enforce strict spam laws. That not only keeps it legal, but also saves your email sender reputation.  Knowing or unknowingly, sending an email to recipients who haven’t given permission or subscribed to the newsletter results in minimum deliverability, response and increased bounce rates. All of the above-mentioned pointers will keep your email address and your IP reputation protected from spam traps.

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