To them, you’ve got spam written all over you. You’re going straight in that junk inbox.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for a lot of commercial emails, including ones that customers genuinely want to receive. Email marketers often have to jump through a lot of hoops to get their emails seen, and even the strongest campaigns can fall into a recipient’s spam folder. Email deliverability isn’t an exact science, which can frustrate both email marketers and laymen alike.
It’s a real shame for all the hard work you’ve put into crafting an email campaign to go to waste. Luckily, there are a few tried and tested techniques you can follow before you hit send that can help stop emails going to spam. We’ll get you out of that spam folder and back into the inbox in no time at all. We’ve sourced some of the best tips for you and put them into a handy dmt guide to help you on your way to a junk-free future for your email marketing.
Check your customers are giving you permission
No one wants to receive emails they never asked for. Even if they contain incredible offers and discounts, how do you trust the sender if they appeared out of thin air?
Make sure your customers are opting in to receive your emails - and we mean an explicit opt-in. The easiest way to do this is by running a sign-up box on your site, allowing a user to input their email address and name, explicitly choosing to receive them.
If you’re not already doing so, make sure there’s some form of incentive to get that lucrative sign-up. It’s a win-win, as not only will it give the customer something they want, but it’ll also confirm that they are invested enough in your brand/product/etc. to want to engage.
Wanna make sure every email is going to a real inbox, too? Why not add a double opt-in system, where the email subscribers must verify their address to get the incentive. This will make sure it hits a real recipient’s inbox and as few inactive email addresses as possible.
One thing you absolutely do not want to do? Upload an email list manually that you received somewhere else. It’s bad practice and you have no proof that you had permission to upload those addresses.
Use an email service provider with a good reputation
If your emails are going to the spam folder, there’s a chance that your IP addresses have previously been used for spamming a customer with emails. We’re not blaming you, but you need to take the high road and find another way.
The easy solution is to find a secure and reputable email service provider that is vigilant in keeping their sending reputation intact. Who would we recommend? Klaviyo, of course! We’re proud partners with this email service provider and can vouch for their great reputation.
Klaviyo only works with teams it can trust, so you can be assured that your emails are being sent out by one of the most reputable email service providers out there.
Improve your open rates by cutting out disengaged users
If your open rates are low, you could potentially be harming your reputation as a sender. Of course, open rates as a metric are changing with the recent updates to iOS. However, there are a few ways of keeping your opens fit as a fiddle and operating at their best.
Firstly, make sure you’re sending your emails at the right time. Scheduling an email for the best possible time can really change everything. Think about when your customers are likely to be sat and ready to open an email - first thing in the morning? On the commute? At lunch? Or Saturday night in the middle of Strictly? There isn’t always a right answer, but there are quite a few wrong ones.
Segmenting your lists into different categories can change things up too. Remember that not every customer is the same, and their journeys can take split paths through emailing.
Make sure you’re catering for both your engaged and disengaged customers, serving worthwhile emails to the ones who want them and less frequent emails to the ones that don’t.
And, of course, if the sun is setting on your relationship with a customer (it happens, don’t worry), then it might be time for a Sunset Email. These are flow emails in which you openly and honestly ask if the user wants to unsubscribe. If they do, then no harm done - they hit the unsubscribe button, are removed from your list, and no more unopened emails will be landing in their inbox. If they don’t, they’ll get placed back onto an engaged list and you can work on repairing the relationship. It’s all very couples’ therapy.
It’s also absolutely pivotal (and a legal requirement) that you include an option to hit the unsubscribe button at the bottom of every email you send out. As marketers, it should be our responsibility to remind customers that they do not have to stay married to these emails, and it’ll improve our list’s overall health if we do this. Yes, you’ll lose subscribers, but you’ll keep dedicated ones for those future emails.
Stay on-brand so they recognise you
Even if your customers are engaged and opening your emails, you want to make sure that they always know who you are. That’s where staying on-brand comes in.
Make sure that all of your emails follow familiar imagery and colours, in keeping with whatever brand guidelines that have been established. Stick to the same fonts, (make sure they’re all readable - nothing wrong with old faithfuls Arial and Verdana) and keep your “From” information accurate and consistent.
Go that extra step to make sure they know you know who they are, too. Address them by their first name (using the info you got from the signup, remember!) using Syntax tools on Klaviyo.
Don’t be too Clickbaity
Yes, you want your customers to be opening those emails - that’s why you’re here, after all.
But should you do absolutely anything to get them to open them? Absolutely not.
The CAN-SPAM act (and its UK counterpart) makes it against the law to purposely mislead someone in the email subject line. Yes, it’s a big deal.
I hear what you’re saying, too - I’ve been caught by these kinds of emails before, and big companies do it all the time! You’ve definitely seen those emails from big clothing companies saying “Thanks for your order!” when you haven’t actually placed an order. Or those “Re: Project Reminder” ones to make you think it’s a super-important work thing. But not only were you burned by those shady campaigns, they were also likely sent out by very very well-off companies who have the money to part with if something goes wrong.
Of course, we’re not telling you you can’t have fun with your subject lines. Copywriters would have a boring job if they couldn’t use their imagination to come up with fun and attractive copy. But be warned: you cannot lie about what’s inside. Make it intriguing, make it enticing… but don’t make it straight-up lies.
Avoid as many Spam Trigger Words as possible
There are quite a few trigger words that act like holes in your boat. One or two of these specific words might not be hugely detrimental to your campaigns, but too many might sink the whole ship.
You’d be surprised at what words might trigger the spam filter - “free”, “order now”, and “great offer” can all push you down. If you’re only running one major sale every month, you should be fine, but when every email is pushing big sales, trigger words could be sending your email boat on a one-way ticket to a watery grave.
There are more obvious ones, too - “Congratulations” (how many times have you seen this pop up in those phishing scams?) as well as “Winner” and the classic “Dear Friend”.
Our personal favourite? Believe it or not, “This is not spam” is a spam trigger. They’ve outfoxed the foxes there.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good starting point when looking for ways to clean up your act and make sure those emails are coming through to the intended audiences. We don’t wanna see any of your hard work end up in anyone’s junk folder - but bear in mind that this will happen now and then. It’s all about working towards getting your account healthy, optimised and working at its full potential. Make sure you’re doing the most you can before hitting send.
If you’re still struggling to figure out what else you can do to make your emails perform better, you can’t seem to sort out your own grammatical errors, or maybe you still don’t even know what spam stands for (it blew our minds, too!) - feel free to give our dedicated email marketing team a bell. We can help you on your way to great and powerful emails that will change your business forever.