There’s only one reason to get into a car and start it up…because you have somewhere to go. Similarly, there is only one reason to send an email…to get a message to an actual person.
In the first article of this series, Email Marketing: Classic or Clunker? I talked about the benefits of “driving a classic” like email marketing. In the second article, Email Marketing: Rules of the Road, I gave you some email “driver training” so you’ll steer clear of accidents. Now it’s time for you to learn how to how to get your messages to their destination and find the best “parking spot.”
When you hit the “send” button in your email program, the email message travels through cyberspace and a series of filters before it lands in someone’s inbox. Sending doesn’t equal delivery. Getting a marketing email delivered to a real live person requires a partnership between you and your email service provider.
Your email marketing software provider (Constant Contact / Infusionsoft) is responsible for keeping their server reputation clean. They patrol the streets and take “bad drivers” (aka spammers) off the road. It’s the software provider’s job to get your emails through the reputation-based spam filters between you and your subscribers.
But those filters aren’t the only roadblocks. There’s another layer of filters. Some of them are integrated filters, provided by an email service company (like Gmail). Others, like SpamAssasin, are installed and controlled by the email service user (your subscriber). These filters look at email content more closely before delivering an email to someone’s inbox. You have complete control over what you say in email messages. Getting through the content filters is YOUR responsibility.
Here are some tips that will help you get more messages to their destination:
- Don’t talk like a spammer.
Don’t over use lingo commonly associated with SPAM emails. If you sprinkle too many “Act Nows,” “Free Offers” and “Risk Frees” throughout a message, you’ll sound like a spammer. If you really think about it, you know which words to avoid because they make you feel like an email is spam when you see them in a message you receive.
- Don’t look like a spammer.
I don’t know about you but most of the time I can spot SPAM at a glance, without even reading a message. Big red or blue headlines. An abundance of links. Way too many images. And lots of caps (ACT NOW!!). Emails formatted like this are designed to generate an impulsive, immediate response. It IS important to design attractive emails, using some images, links and font variations. But carefully review completed messages to make sure they don’t look like SPAM.
- Don’t play the spammer games.
Make sure you always send emails from a valid email address and don’t send a image-only emails. Some senders use images to mask their “spammy” lingo because email filters can’t read text in an image.
If you talk, look, or play like a spammer, your emails may get filtered completely or end up in junk mail folders. And, if you think about it, that might be exactly where they belong. If your email marketing software does not have a built-in way to analyze email content, then you might want to use a service like Litmus that will do this for you.
Getting email messages delivered is critical, but it’s only half the battle. Once an email is delivered it must compete with all of the other messages that arrived that day. Stay tuned for the last article in this series where I’ll talk about the care and maintenance of your email list.
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