How to make your Newsletter avoid Spam Filters
There’ isn’t much point putting time and effort into carefully designing and developing your email newsletter, only for it to never to be read because it has went straight into the notorious junk folder. You need to make your newsletter avoid spam filters!
If you want your carefully crafted newsletter to be read then you need to make sure it cannot possibly be considered as spam by the dreaded, yet useful, spam filters. We’ve outlined below some of the most common issues that you should address if you want your newsletter to avoid spam filters and your message to ever get read.
Who the message is Addressed to
It can be blatantly obvious that a newsletter is computer generated spam just by looking at who it is addressed to. If it seems generic or impersonal then the chances are it won’t get past the filters or the user. We recommend that you don’t just address your newsletter to the given email address but use the subscriber’s first and last names to achieve a more personal touch.
Sender’s Email Address
Many spam filters now make use of ‘white listing’ techniques to filter out all senders that are not recognised. Therefore if your email address is not in the subscriber’s address book or sent folder then the chances are that your newsletter will end up in the junk. In order to counter this annoying feature, we recommend that you tell your subscribers to add your email address to their address book to “ensure proper delivery” of your newsletter. Make sure you place the request on an obvious location on the subscription confirmation screen or on the newsletter itself.
You also might want to avoid using free email accounts such as hotmail or gmail to send your newsletter. Spam filters will allow them through but they will apply much more stringent controls to these addresses as they are common sources of spam. We recommend using an email address with the domain name of your organisation. This will have the added benefit of total transparency and visibility to your subscriber.
This is arguably the most important aspect of setting up your newsletter. This is where the vast majority of newsletters will fail to get past spam filters and even if they do get past, your subject line is what the recipient uses to decide whether to open or delete your newsletter.
The biggest piece of advice we can give is to make it relevant! If the recipient does not recognise or register an interest with the subject matter then you don’t need to waste your time trying to avoid the spam filters. You should aim to make the subject engaging, avoid spammy words like ‘Free’, ‘Help’ and ‘Act now’ and please stay away from over punctuation!?!? This is a sure fire way to land your newsletter directly in the junk folder.
You might think that once you have handled the email addresses and subject line you can fill your newsletter with whatever content you want, but you’d be sadly mistaken. Spam filters will also look for spam indicators directly within the actual body content.
Much like with the subject line you should always try to avoid blatantly obvious spammy words like ‘Join up now’, ‘Click to download’ or ‘Massive discount sale’. As counter productive as it may seem, you must try your best to avoid too much sales and marketing talk and avoid the temptation to litter your newsletter with various calls to action. You should also take care to have a healthy balance of images AND text. A newsletter consisting solely of images will trigger a spam filter instantly.
You should also seriously consider sending a plain text alternative along with your beautifully crafted HTML newsletter. Spammers are notoriously lazy and will neglect to do this, therefore in doing so you are helping to authenticate your genuinely with both the spam filter and the recipient.
Modern spam filters are now capable of syncing up with published ‘blacklists’ of spam-server IP addresses. Essentially this means if your email server’s IP address is on a blacklist there is no chance whatsoever that your newsletter will get through.
Unfortunately it is entirely possible that you could end up on blacklist even if you’re not sending spam. If a spammer happens to be using the same shared server as you, your newsletter can get blocked because it falls within a close IP range proximity. It seems like an unfair measure but unfortunately it is deemed necessary due to the spam problem spiralling out of control in recent years.
We recommend that you do some research before choosing your email marketing solution to make sure they use responsible blacklists that are actively policed. This will decrease your chances of being incorrectly labelled as a spammer and ultimately save yourself a lot of hassle. We use MailChimp for our email marketing and have been fortunate enough not to encounter any problems to date.