Wednesday, December 6, 2017

13 Email Marketing Don'ts

My clients are nonplussed by spam traps. 

Me, too.

Spam traps catch legitimate emails—even personal ones—routinely. There are a million and one reasons; but most boil down to:
  • The ISP that originated the message (some welcome use by spammers, so get themselves blacklisted);
  • The software that sent the message (was it sent, say, sent by Outlook or by a suspected "spam engine?"); and
  • Content "red flags" (flashy HTML, for example, or words and phrases like "click" and "buy now").
Like death and taxes, you cannot avoid spam traps. But you can try. Here are 13 email "don'ts" to help you:
  • Don't neglect list hygiene. Bad list hygiene may very well be the email marketer's "original sin." Clean your list regularly through an outside service to remove non-deliverable email addresses.

  • Don't get flagged as a spammer. Use email delivery providers who closely guard their reputations and don't use "dirty servers" to send your messages.

  • Don't include a lot of pictures. Hackers love to use pictures to spread viruses, so spam filters consider every one of them a carrier.

  • Don't include a lot of links. Two are safe; three or more put you in the danger zone.

  • Don't use spammy keywords. Avoid "amazing," "limited time only," "you're a winner," and other dangerous words and phrases. Watch your Subject lines, in particular. A line like "Urgent reply required" makes your message look like a Nigerian business proposal.

  • Don't use large fonts, colored fonts, or ALL CAPS. They'll raise your spam score.

  • Don't send attachments. They're another tool hackers love. By sending them, you're begging to be blocked.

  • Don't flout CAN-SPAM rules. Don't omit your return address or an opt-out feature.

  • Don't send to web-based email addresses like Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL. These providers have traps that are unforgiving. If you must send to web-based email addresses, realize many messages will be blocked.

  • Don't send to "seeds." Seeds are inserted by list-scrapers into harvested lists. Sending emails to them will get you flagged as a spammer.

  • Don't send in the dead of the night. That's what spammers do.

  • Don't send too often. Spammers do that, too.

  • Don't bombard a single domain. Corporate email servers are set up to block messages sent to a large number of people at one domain.
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