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You’re Not a Spammer, So Don’t Look Like One

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Submitted by Shea Gordon on Thursday, December 16, 2010

Many small business owners have legitimate reasons for sending bulk emails. Unfortunately, a good number of those folks end up getting blacklisted as spammers. Here are five ways to make sure your communications actually reach your customers and prospects instead of ending up in spam purgatory:

1. Work with a reputable email marketing service. This is probably the most important recommendation we can make. A good email marketing service keeps abreast of changing industry conventions;  they’re familiar with blacklisting and white listing services;  and they know how the technology behind bulk email works. It’s their job to know and they will make your life infinitely easier.

2. Take out “trigger” keywords. Some words are just more likely than others to trigger spam filters, and the more of those words in a particular email, the more likely they are to get caught. The list is always changing, and spam filtering services don’t publish their biggest trigger words for obvious reasons. But you can start with a list like the one found here.  

3. Make sure the code on your back end isn’t extremely long or complicated – tricky code can be a spam flag. A simple text or HTML email is best.

4. Read the subject line and make sure it gives a good idea of what the email actually contains. “September Newsletter from Sam’s Pies” is straightforward and not mysterious. “09_01_10 Sep Nsltr” is confusing and may cause people to mark your email as spam before they even open it.

5. Give your email a thorough proofread before you send it off. Misspellings and bad English are still two of the biggest giveaways for spam or hoax emails – so if you don’t want to look like a spammer, make sure your content reads intelligibly.

Email marketing can be a wonderful and cost-effective way to keep in touch with customers and raise the awareness of new prospects. But it only works if people get your emails in the first place!

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