Spam has been a problem since 1865. When a group of British politicians received unsolicited telegrams promoting a local dentistry shop, they were angry. One of the recipients wrote a letter to the editor of The Times asking “by what right do they disturb me by a telegram which is evidently simply the medium of advertisement?” He proceeded to request a stop to this “intolerable nuisance”.
Flash forward over 100 years to 1978. Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp., sends a message promoting a new computer model to 393 users on ARPANET (the precursor to the internet) and becomes the “father of spam”. The reaction was almost completely hostile and Thuerk was harshly reprimanded.
So after so much backlash, why does the sending of spam messages continue? Because this marketing technique works. Thuerk’s company sold more than 20 computer systems for more than a million dollars apiece from this type of message.
In the years since, spam has continued to be sent and continued to be fought by email gatekeeping filters. Some estimate that 90% of all email sent is actually spam.
So how do you get a company’s email through all that spam filters?
- Use double opt in when possible. A subscriber fills out a form and then confirms that subscription again via email. While this two-step process is a bit cumbersome and will result in a reduction of the list, it is the best way to preserve a reputation and therefore the deliverability with the email provider.
- Keep complaints low. When someone does complain, remove them from the list immediately. It is surprising how these people do not remove themselves when they make the complaint.
- Use a reputable email marketing provider. Most professional services like Infusionsoft, and Constant Contact have strict standards of mailing. Every email address on a subscriber list must be verified by the sender or the receiver to keep deliverability high.
- Do not use Yahoo, Gmail or AOL domain names. Since these types of accounts represent the domains where most spam is sent from, they have a higher likelihood to be filter out as spam.
- Stop using trigger words. This increase the chances of the email being labeled as spam. For instance, do not use the words “free”, “you have been selected”, “24 hours”, “test”, “hello”, “help”, “percent off” or “reminder”.
- If images are used, include more text. Images alone have a greater chance of going into the spam bucket. Use plenty of text along with those images to improve deliverability.
- Always spell check the email. A lot of spam is from non English speakers who have a tendency to misspell words. Always spell check the entire email to get past this filter.
- Use 25 character subject line. Keep the subject line short. Not only does this help to get past the spam filters, it increase readability on mobile devices.
- Watch the “From” field. Always use a real person’s name and not Sales@Mystore.com. These have a greater probability to get caught in the filters since they are viewed as less authentic.
- Encourage recipients to add the domain to their address book or white label list. This will ensure that the emails always land in the inbox.
What is the deliverability of your email like?