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Best practices to avoid spam filters
Best practices to avoid spam filters
In this article we'll share how we're working to improve your deliverability and learn some tips for ensuring your message gets seen.
Matt avatar
Written by Matt
Updated over a week ago

Just Because You Sent It Doesn't Mean They'll See It

There was a time when every email you sent arrived with its intended recipient. But with the rise of spam filters, 'smart' inboxes and email overload there has been a drop in the number of emails that actually get seen, let alone opened.

This is a challenge for all businesses, and the terms 'deliverability' or 'open rates' are often used to measure how well your emails are performing. Open rates were the gold standard, and are still handy - but they're no longer reliable due to privacy focused email servers, no longer accurately reporting if an email has been opened. So we'll focus on the more general 'deliverability' metric in this article.

What Is Deliverability?

Deliverability is often measured as the number of emails that you send which get to their recipient without 'bouncing' (being rejected by the recipient's email server).

At Magnetiq, this isn't enough - we don't want your emails simply being 'delivered', we need them to be seen. So when we talk about deliverability we're also including:

  1. Avoiding Spam filters

  2. Achieving a place in the Priority Inbox (or equivalent)

  3. Catching the eye of the audience

Building The Structures For Your Success

Due to the prevalence and particularities of spam filters there is no 100% fail-safe way to ensure that every email arrives at its intended recipient. The Priority Inbox (or equivalent) feature of major email clients is often designed specifically to filter out the kind of 'group' emails you might be sending. And on top of all that, the algorithms that decide who gets in and who gets blocked are changing every day.

It's a challenge, but you'll be happy to know that we're already in a better position than most and we are taking active steps to make sure we set you up for success.

Why are we in a better position than most? As a business we never send spam messages and our clients use our service to send important emails to people who want to read them. So the reputation of our email server is extremely high. This is a key factor in deliverability when it comes to spam filters in particular.

To make sure things stay this way we undertake continuous checks and maintenance. In the rare even that we're mistakenly stuck on a block list, we take active steps to get rapidly removed and support our reputation.

How You Can Help Improve Your Deliverability

Our server reputation is vital, but it's just the beginning: your deliverability is also connected to how you manage your email list and campaign.

The basic rule is 'don't spam' - it's hard to define spam, but we all know it when we see it. In short, if what you're about to send seems 'spammy', it probably is. Sending to lots of contacts you've never spoken to? Might be a bit spammy. Sending loads of images and links? Also a bit spammy... Are you re-sending exactly the same content to the same list of people over and over again as a 'reminder'? Sounds like spam: think twice.

More practically, here are our top 3 tips for increasing deliverability:

1/ Make It Personal

The cornerstone of deliverability is credibility, and using your own domain is fundamental to establishing this in the eyes of your customers and of the spam filters. Ideally choose an address that will be recognised by your recipient eg using your name or an address that is in your recipient’s address book.

On the same note, make sure that the email address is active so that you can reply to any responses to your note. Your reputation as a sender rises if you are having active conversations with your recipients.

2/ Keep A Clean List

Spam filters can be activated if there are old/irrelevant email addresses in the list or if your 'open rate' (the number of people who open your emails) is low.

This doesn't only affect the filtering of your message to individual people who don't open your email (or - worse - mark it as 'spam'). It also affects your overall reputation, meaning you're more likely to end up in spam across the board.

On the other hand, if your list is made up of people who know you and want to be contacted by you then they'll be more likely to open your email. This means your 'open rate' rises, your reputation as a sender increases, more people will likely see your emails, meaning more will open them and so on.

Keeping your list up to date by removing email addresses that aren't relevant anymore is a valuable activity in the long run. Making sure not to add anyone who is not directly relevant to the campaign is your simplest short term fix.

Best practice note: make sure your subscribers have given you permission to be contacted. Ensure there's a way for them to retract that permission.

3/ Create your content with care

Spam and Inbox Priority filters are designed to weed out robotic or 'salesey' emails. So write to your list like you would if you were sending a 'normal' email.

Get the basics right!

  • Do not use unnatural language, capitalisation, unnatural punctuation, emojis (eg. COMING SOON, !!New Season Launch!! etc.).

  • Keep subject lines 'to the point' and email body copy personal and clear. If possibile, add the name of your recipient in the email body, as you would do if you were to write that person, and ideally in the subject as well. You can do that by using our merge tag {{FIRST_NAME}} (more detail here)

  • Do not include lots of links. Make sure your links work and there are no spelling mistakes.

  • Avoid or limit the use of web fonts, don't use more than two different fonts in your email. It's okay using different sizes of the same font.

  • Attachments of any kind (especially large ones) can adversely affect deliverability. Instead we'd recommend sending people to a landing page where they can download files, view images and so on (you might consider the Magnetiq Newsroom solution for just this sort of page).

  • Remember to add an unsubscribe link. Magnetiq templates will include it by default. If you are coding your own HTML, add the merge tag (here's why it's important to add an unsubscribe link in every email campaign).

To be clear: you can still use images, links and exciting language! Indeed, they're vital to building your brand via email. Just consider being a little restrained: perhaps one small image and one link per email are enough? Maybe the email is just a teaser and you can use the landing page for the glitzy videos and images?

Note to coders: If you use our simple template editor, the HTML code will be automatically optimized for email clients. If you want a more complex or custom template, you can use your own HTML. Remember that spam filters can be triggered by sloppy code or by failing to follow best practice eg adding an unsubscribe link. If in doubt we can help you optimise your template: just reach out.

4/ Avoid sending too many emails, or repeating yourself, repeating yourself, repeating yourself

Sending emails too regularly can impact open rates and have your messages land in spam more often - once or twice a week is usually fine, but more than that and you'll start raising some flags. Make sure you don't send exactly the same email content more than once - it can be tempting to just resend an email as a form of reminder, but spam filters sniff this out immediately and it can be damaging to your deliverability.

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