Guest blog post by Patrick White, Constant Contact Compliance Associate
As an email marketer, the last thing in the world you want is to have your email marked as spam.
After all, receiving spam complaints is like getting detentions in high school; if you get enough of them you could be expelled, or in the case of email marketing: blocked!
That’s why you want to make sure you’re building and maintaining a strong sending reputation.
Here’s how you can do that:
It all starts with your list quality
Your list quality is the most essential part of your email marketing reputation. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) look at how contacts interact with an email when judging the reputation of a sender.
This means that senders with high opens rates, low bounce rates, and minimal spam complaints will gain the best reputations. Senders who produce the opposite results run the risk of having their email blocked or filtered into a junk folder.
So what helps you keep a quality list?
Get permission first
Whether you’re collecting addresses online or in person, you want to make sure people want your newsletter.
Most online checkouts have a field for an email address, but that doesn’t mean those customers expect to get newsletters. They might just think you’re going to send them transactional emails. Giving them an unchecked box specifically to join your newsletter list makes sure they want to get additional information.
The same type of transparency can be applied to offline collection methods as well. If you are collecting at a checkout counter, you should provide a signup sheet just for your email marketing list.
No matter how you get your email addresses, it’s important to let your customers know what type of information you intend to mail and how often you’ll send it. Once these expectations have been set, it’s also important to stick to them. If your signup box says you’re going to send monthly emails about new products, you wouldn’t want to send daily emails with sales and specials.
If you wait too long to send your initial campaign, your contacts may forget they signed up– and that can lead to spam complaints. It’s a great idea to customize the Welcome email your contacts receive shortly after they sign up. This gives you an opportunity to show your readers what they’ll be getting and keeps you fresh in their mind.
You can also set up a series of Autoresponder emails. This way, when new contacts are added, they’ll start receiving a series of timed emails that you’ve already set up!
How much is too much?
As for how often you should email your contacts after that initial welcome, the frequency depends a lot on your industry and what you’re sending. Since your goal is to get readers to open your email, you want to make sure you’re sending often enough that they are expecting it, but don’t want to mail so often that they ignore it or mark it as spam out of frustration. That is why setting a mailing frequency expectation ahead of time, like we talked about earlier, is so important.
Let them know it’s you with branding
Now that your contacts are collected and your email is landing in their inbox, make sure they recognize your emails and open them, instead of clicking the Spam button.
- From Name – Make sure the From Name matches your organization name. This way your contacts will immediately recognize you.
- Subject Line – Make sure your Subject Line doesn’t look all spammy. You want to be as clear and concise as possible. Avoid things like ALL CAPS and excessive punctuation!!!!! This will help avoid spam filters and your customers will trust it isn’t spam.
- Permission Reminder – The permission reminder allows you to remind your customers how they signed up for your newsletter. It also includes an additional “unsubscribe” link at the top of your email. This can help you avoid spam complaints, since your customers will not need to search for the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.
Get organized and see what works for you
As you can see, all it takes is some organization and preparation to keep your email reputation clean while your newsletters or promotions go into the inboxes you need. To keep things running smoothly, be sure to monitor your reporting. Try different things and see what works best for you!
Do you have any questions about spam? Ask them in the comments section below and we’ll answer them in a future blog post!