How to Keep Your Email Marketing from Being Labeled as Spam

email marketing tips, advice, and warnings about spamEmail marketing is still a very effective way to generate sales and enhance loyalty.

But here are some statistics (from ConvinceandConvert.com) about email and spam that should worry you as a business owner using email to market your products and services:

  • 21% of email recipients report email as spam even if they know it isn’t
  • 43% of email recipients report email as spam based on the email from line or email address
  • 69% of email recipients report email as spam based on the subject line alone

However, here are some additional stats, from the same source, to keep you motivated as an email marketer:

  • People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than people who don’t receive email offers
  • 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a marketing email
  • 35% of email recipients opened an email based solely on the subject line

The first three stats should tell you loud and clear to be careful about your email marketing being labeled as spam because people are sometimes quick to hit the spam button. And that would mean at least losing a customer for your business (one that may spend 138% more than other customers) and at worst losing your business reputation. Not to mention the $11,000 per recipient you could be liable for based on the CAN-SPAM Act.

So, what can you do? Here’s some advice to help you steer clear of the spam button:

  1. Make your promotional emails and newsletters Opt In, so that customers have to actively sign up vs. Opt Out if they don’t like them (they may opt out by labeling you a spammer).
  2. On your email sign-up forms, clearly state your newsletter or marketing email name so customers will later recognize it.
  3. Make it clear what frequency you will be emailing customers: if they think they’re getting a once-a-month newsletter and it comes weekly or (worse) daily, they may decide it’s spam.
  4. Make it clear what the content of your emails will be: if customers think they’re signing up for one thing and they get another, they’re more likely to label it spam.
  5. Try to match your online branding in your email (graphics, logos, tone) so your customers feel more at home and trust your emails more.
  6. Use a familiar or easy to understand email address and From line. You could choose an address like like NewsletterName@DomainName.com or Customers@DomainName.com or CustomerOffers@DomainName.com. The From line could be your newsletter name, your business name or your name if it is well known to your customers.
  7.  Make sure your headlines aren’t deceptive (that goes for from lines and email addresses too): If people feel deceived, they’re more likely to lash out and label you a spammer.
  8. Keep your subject lines as short as you can: best practices typically is 5 to 8 words and about 40 characters long because many email programs will cut off the rest.
  9. Make sure the most important words in your subject line are towards the beginning – or at least not at the end where they could be cut off.
  10. Take time writing your subject lines: think about customer needs, hot topics or products, what’s in the news, etc. Think about what you might respond to (make a list of subject lines you’ve received that you liked and clicked on).
  11. Take time writing your emails. Edit them. Proofread them. Ideally get more than one person to look at them to help find potentially embarrassing mistakes. Sloppy emails may be more likely to be identified as spam.
  12. Test your subject lines. If you can, create multiple subject lines and send out a small group of emails with each subject line. Monitor the results for opt-outs, clicks, purchases, etc. Then send the winner out to the whole list.
  13. And finally, be careful with spammy sounding subject lines since most people will mark an email as spam based solely on the subject line. That’s a difficult thing to balance if you are trying to promote offers with your marketing emails. But here are a few best practices:
    • Avoid using ALL CAPS
    • Avoid multiple exclamation points!!!
    • Avoid over-the-top sales phrases
    • Avoid repeating words like FREE FREE FREE
    • Be clear about benefits and drive urgency: promote your latest sale, highlight free shipping or new products, and specify what % OFF customers can get now.
    • According to a 2013 report by Adestra, the words AlertBulletin, and News in subject lines drive more opens and clicks than LearnReportNewsletter or WebinarSale seems to be working better than Free but Free Delivery is very effective.

If you’re an EarthLink Web Hosting customer, don’t forget to try our AnnouncerPro email marketing tools. Read this previous blog post to learn more.

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