Email Marketing Tips: How Not to be Mistaken as Spam

by Gary on December 17, 2008 · 18 comments

in Online Marketing,SEO Tips

The last post I wrote on email marketing emphasised the need to not only get your email noticed but also to get people to act on the information (read: get conversion rates up) they get from the email sent. What I didn’t discuss in greater detail though is how to stay away from being spammy of even the mere appearance of being spammy. We all know that this aspect of email marketing is very important because as we all know almost everyone immediately deletes emails they perceive as spam without even checking on the validity of the mail. Because of this I think it only appropriate that I follow up the post on email marketing with one that gives a few tips (mostly common sense) on how to present your email so as to avoid looking like spam.

TIP #1: Make sure you adhere to the CAN-SPAM Act – Passed five years ago (December 2003) this law actually allows you to send unsolicited mass emails, however it tells us to…

  • label the emails (emails with no subjects not allowed!)
  • not use deceptive subject lines
  • include opt-out instructions
  • include your company’s physical address

TIP #2: Work on your title – It’s all in the title. As I said earlier most people delete spammy looking email without even clicking on it to check whether it contains spam or not so make sure that the title does NOT look like spam. The top things that make email subjects appear spammy include:

  • using ALL CAPS
  • using lots of punctuation marks
  • using words associated with spam like credit card, pharmacy, viagra, etc. – Another problem you’ll encounter here would be that spam filters will likely catch your email so that it wouldn’t even have the chance of being viewed by the recipients.
  • incorrectly spelled words and senseless words/titles

TIP #3: Don’t use free email services – Though I love free email services when it comes to your business correspondence you should invest in a paid mail service. Spammers in general use free email services so that people are more wary of messages from unknown senders with email providers like Hotmail, AOL, etc. Even if people do decide that your email is not spam it’s still a point against you because it makes you look rather unprofessional.

TIP #4: Test your email to see if it’ll pass most spam detectors/filters – You can do this by using software like Spamcheck. Spamcheck is a free software and is easy to use so you have no real excuse not to test your email before sending them out.

Share This Post

Jayson December 19, 2008 at 2:59 am

Nice tips, we’re actually getting ready to launch some email marketing campaigns so it’s good to get a few tips. I wasn’t aware that unsolicited mass emails were legal…

Lucy How December 27, 2008 at 6:53 am

I used to have paid yahoo mail address (still have it) which I simultaneously used with a same id Gmail account. What I’m seeing lately is that Gmail is showing better spam killing capabilities than the paid version of yahoo spamguard.

Just my 2 cents in case anyone is thinking of buying a email account.

Lucy How

Subodh Gupta SEO December 29, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Hello Gary,

Thank you very much for the email marketing tips specially for the tip no 1 (CAN SPAM ACT) I wasn’t aware of it.

Thank you very much once again.

With Regards
Subodh Gupta

fhratul January 3, 2009 at 7:44 pm

very helpful post…thanks a lot…um prety new in this seo business…still have to learn a lot…

Jacques Snyman January 4, 2009 at 9:19 am

I agree on your points. The most important is to check that your mail passes spam filters and that you steer away from using free email services.

Goran January 14, 2009 at 8:33 am

Plus also commonly used marketing subjects for your mail.

Jacques Snyman February 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Yeah! Avoid those trigger words that will cause people to automatically delete your offering before even opening it!

Jonathan Meager January 8, 2009 at 5:09 pm

I’ve used more ‘news’ oriented emails the last four or five times we’ve sent them out, and it seems to work perfectly. Our conversion and click thru rates are way up on what they used to be.

We used to do purely marketing emails, but by and large ones like these just go straight in the trash can!

Goran January 14, 2009 at 8:32 am

Free email services are usually the ones that are immediately regarded as spam. And the title is important too, because it will not pass spam filters if you use commonly used marketing subjects for your mail.

danfoss inverters January 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm

thank you for that, i am new to this blog, but i am certainly glad i came across this article, i will check the spamware software to see how good it is.

Jag January 30, 2009 at 11:36 am

Well explained, thanks

Or Hillel February 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Everything is in the title, you need somthing short but that will look good and not spamy…

Dr. Pretender February 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Very helpful article. But I don’t like receive such e-mail messages.

dape April 7, 2009 at 8:14 am

Its always useful to have spam detectors and filters linked with your company system there is that much rubbish about at the moment.

seks izle June 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Oriented emails the last four or five times we’ve sent them out, and it seems to work perfectly. Our conversion and click thru rates are way up on what they used to be.
We used to do purely marketing emails, but by and large ones like these just go…

Jane December 8, 2009 at 6:27 am

In addition, be sure to state the services and other benefits that your prospect link partner and their visitors can get from linking to your website.

Simon January 7, 2010 at 9:24 am

It’s also worth adding words like ‘free’ and ‘win’ to the list of words to avoid

Marc Burns September 24, 2010 at 9:22 am

What are people’s thoughts about the proportion of images to text? I know usually more text is recommended but I receive emails all the time which are completly made up of images without a problem.