What is Spam Mail
Before we go into how you can avoid spam filters and improve your email deliverability, let’s look into what is spam and how spam filters work so that we’re all on the same page.
There are obvious examples of spam, such as those ever-exciting emails telling you that you’ve won the lottery or asking you to save a Nigerian princess. And then there are the less obvious ones, such as the e-newsletter you signed up for months ago and forgot about.
Spam is basically unsolicited mass emails asking you to buy / donate / invest in something sent by someone you don’t know or whom you did not give permission to contact you.
How Spam Filters Work
Each spam filter has its own way of detecting spam, but most of them use a point-based system to calculate a ‘Spam Score’. If your campaign’s total spam score exceeds a certain threshold, your email is sent to the junk folder.For example, SpamAssasin uses a scale of 1 to 10 and messages with a score higher than 5 will typically face email deliverability problems.
The number of factors used to calculate this score can range from 5 to 50, and triggering just one of these alarms can cause your email message to be marked as spam.
An email is more likely to be treated as spam if:
- You have already self-marked the email as spam
- Many other people have marked the same message as spam
- Your email contains malicious links
- You are sending bulk emails to recipients who you have never sent emails to before
- Your mail server or IP address has been blacklisted
- It uses words that are commonly used in spam
How To Know If You Have A Spam Filter Problem
One way to find out if you’re having a spam filter problem is to check your open rates to see if they’ve dropped below the average open rates for that particular list. If it drops for a particular campaign, you’ll need to figure out how to better avoid spam filters. If you’re not that experienced in email marketing, then 20-30% is a rough benchmark.
7 Ways to Avoid Spam Filters
1) Avoid Using Words that Will Trigger Spam Filters
Some words have been so widely used by spammers that most spam filters use those words to identify spam email. For example, words such as ‘free’ or ‘fast cash’ or ‘meet singles’ are clear indicators. Here’s a list that shows even more words you should avoid.
2) Conduct Periodic Checks to Determine If You Have Been Blacklisted
Conduct periodic checks to ensure that you haven’t been blacklisted. We’ve had many experiences with clients who weren’t even aware that they have been blacklisted. If you have been, then you will have to take the actions prescribed by your ISPs to solve your problems.
3) Avoid Using All Caps & Using Excessive Punctuation Marks!!!!
It’s a good thing spam filters won’t let this go, because even if they did, your recipients wouldn’t. Using all caps is akin to SHOUTING when it comes to online communications. It’s considered rude so keep it to a minimum. The use of too many punctuation marks (exclamation marks especially) is just juvenile. So don’t overdo it unless you’re a 20-year-old girl gushing about Justin Bieber.
4) Get Users to Whitelist Your Email Address
A whitelisted email address means that the receiver has explicitly given you permission to send him / her emails. This is probably the only surefire way to ensure that your emails avoid spam filters set by the recipient. We’ve already gone through how to whitelist email addresses in a prior article so you can check it for tips.
5) Avoid Attachments or Huge Emails
Avoid attachments whenever possible. Spam often contains harmful attachments such as viruses, so spam filters are especially wary to them. A better alternative would be to link to your files and / or use file sending services such as SendSpace.
6) Use a Reputable Email Marketing Service
The better email marketing services will deliver your email with the appropriate protocols and have good relationships with the ISPs. Since a good email marketing service is also typically whitelisted with the ISPs, if any problem arises it will be able to get more attention than you could ever get on your own. This ensures speedier problem resolution.
7) Be Fastidious About List Hygiene to Avoid Spamtraps
Clean your database often and stop sending emails to dead email addresses (those that return a hard bounce). Mail servers sometimes use these as spamtraps. When the mail server sees traffic continually going to the dead email address, it may turn the email into a spamtrap – it accepts the email and subsequently reports the senders as spammers.
CLOUDROCK’s email marketing software will automatically remove dead email addresses and those that have unsubscribed to your email list.