Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam… Lovely Spam! Wonderful Spam! Is something you'll never hear outside someone quoting Monty Python.
Both the 'email' Spam and 'food' Spam have a lot in common. They're cost-effective, repulsive to most consumers, and filled with questionable...stuff. But unlike the meat version, email spam has a special filter that keeps it out of the way of consumers.
And, just like in the war, spam works. Companies lost $20.5 billion to spam emails from fake vendors in 2020.
But first up, you need to know your enemy.
What is spam?
Spam is, basically, unsolicited, irrelevant emails sent in bulk to a list of people. This might just be as innocent as advertising, and stray into more malicious fraudulent messages and scams.
The CAN-SPAM Act (different from Canned Spam) became law on January 1st, 2004. Violation of the law can lead to $11,000 fines for each offence. Now, that's $11,000 for every email sent. Ouch. If you send commercial emails, however, you should familiarise yourself with the law.
Key, important points include:
- Never use deceptive headers, From names, reply-to addresses, or subject lines.
- Always provide an unsubscribe link.
- The unsubscribe link must work for at least 30 days after sending.
- You must include your physical mailing address.
But you're here to find out how you can get around the filter, as a commercial business. So, you could start with:
Provide double opt-in
One step you can take is to use a double opt-in form. So, this means clients who sign up for your mailing list must confirm their registration through a separate email.
So, when these visitors take the extra step to confirm their subscription, they are less likely to report your emails as spam. This might be because they are interested in your content, or will be more likely to remember your business.
Plus, you'll get more accurate email addresses, which leads to a cleaner, stronger list.
This is a good example of a double-opt in email; not only does it ask the user to confirm their address, but reminds them of why they signed up in the first place.
Clean up your email list regularly
Email lists and subscribers naturally shift and change, based on when recipients drop off your list. Remember, it's quality over quantity, so by unsubscribing you're not losing customers, but instead gaining a stronger list.
So, if you have a bunch of people receiving emails they don't want, marking them as spam, it can be detrimental to your sending reputation. This means your emails will be less likely to reach the inboxes of the people you want to contact, i.e. those who actively engage with your messages.
Regular maintenance, therefore, helps keep low engagement at bay. Removing unengaged users, bounced emails, and other spam traps are pretty effective, and easy, ways of cleaning your list.
Comply with privacy laws
I fought the law, and the law won ($11,000).
While compliance doesn't guarantee email delivery, it can help you bypass some ISP roadblocks. Remember, compliance with these pieces of legislation is obligatory. Plus, meeting the requirements of once, doesn't always mean compliance with another. So be warned!
Some pieces of legislation to keep in mind include:
- The Canada Anti-Spam Law
- The General Data Protection Regulation
- The California Consumer Protection Act
Monitor email engagement metrics
Keeping up with how your email campaign is doing is easily trackable through metrics and email performance. But before you can get deep into the insights, you've got to really look into your baseline metrics, in order to see whether your emails are progressing and improving.
So, alongside your open rates, click through rates, and delivery rates, consider keeping an eye on how many spam complaints your emails are getting. Then, you can change up certain aspects of the content, or slim up your list, in order to improve those numbers.
Send relevant content
The easiest way to make sure your email programme is successful is to make sure it's relevant, and interesting, to your recipients.
You know your customers better than anyone; so, make sure your content is appealing to them, and their interests. This means being intentional about your sending practises, and not sending emails just for the sake of sending emails. Quality over quantity.
Random, senseless sending can cause engagement to suffer - email fatigue is a real thing.
Every email you send should provide something of value for your customers, and should resonate with them. Otherwise, you risk being ignored (at best), or sent to spam (at worst).
Also, in the content you send, avoid 'salesy' trigger words. Spam filters are more likely to catch your emails if it contains a few keywords in the subject line, and sometimes in the body of the text. These can include:
- Win, winner, winning, and won.
So if you're advertising a cheap, guaranteed investment in marketing, with a great opportunity of promotions, be careful.