5 Ways to Avoid the Spam Folder
1. Make Sure You’re Sending to a Healthy Email List
If you’re moving from one ESP (email service provider) to another, the first campaign you send can make or break you. If your first campaign hits spam folders, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle with your future ones. So, part of this includes sending to the right people.
You might be wondering, “What’s a healthy email list?” A healthy email list is one that excludes any addresses that have hard bounced, unsubscribed, or marked any of your previous emails as spam. Luckily for you, Klaviyo automatically suppresses these subscribers and will exclude them from any list or segment before a campaign is sent.
Because the stakes are high, you may want to verify the health of your list before you send your campaign to everyone. To do this, you can first send a test campaign to a sample of the list — no more than a couple thousand subscribers. If the test campaign has high open rates, low bounce and unsubscribe rates, and a low “marked as spam” percentage, it’s safe to send to the remainder of your list.
2. Figure Out Who Doesn’t Want Your Emails
This goes hand-in-hand with sending to a healthy email list, but it’s a little bit different in that you’re segmenting based on future behavior as opposed to past behavior, which makes it trickier. Unfortunately, you can never know for sure which of your precious subscribers might betray you and mark your emails as spam.
Email clients, like Gmail, learn from users’ behavior — the more people who mark your emails as spam, the more likely it is they’ll be sent to everyone’s spam folder. On an individual level, if you have a particular recipient who never opens your emails, you might start to show up in just their spam folder, since email clients do their best to determine users’ personal preferences. To this end, it’s useful to segment based on engagement. If a subscriber hasn’t opened a single one of your newsletter emails in six months and hasn’t purchased, you’re being ghosted. It’s probably time to move on and add them to a re-engagement segment.
[via Twentieth Century Fox]
One way to ensure that your subscribers do indeed want to be receiving your emails is to have a double opt-in signup process. We talked a bit about the pros and cons of double opt-in last week, and this is why sending to a paid list violates both Klaviyo’s Terms of Service and the CAN-SPAM Act, which stipulates that marketing email recipients must have opted in. While your overall mailing list might be smaller, your unsubscribe rates will be lower with a double opt-in method, which is one very compelling pro.
You can also ask new subscribers how often they would like to receive your emails upon signup, or in one of your welcome series emails. From here, you can segment based on weekly, biweekly, or monthly subscriptions to make sure you’re not harassing anyone. You can also allow your subscribers to choose what type of content they’d like to receive and segment based on this information as well. The key thing is to make sure you’re sending your subscribers emails that are in line with what they signed up for.
Pro tip: On a semi-related note, if you’re trying to get out of Gmail’s “Promotions” tab, you can even go so far as to ask your subscribers to drag your email into their “Primary” tab, or their regular inbox. Take this example from Huckberry below:
4. Pay Attention to Your Subject Lines
5. Don’t Send Image-Only Emails
Emails that consist solely of images (or are super image-heavy) trigger spam filters, so it’s important to make sure yours contain a combination of images and text. Spammers have evolved and started using images as a way to avoid spam trigger words, but ISPs have evolved faster.
Email on Acid found that your emails should contain at least 500 characters in order to dodge spam filters. If this is an issue for you, consider including contact information, legal disclaimers, an unsubscribe link, or company address in fine print at the bottom of your email. You should also include ALT text for all your images, so subscribers can read what is meant to be represented in case your images don’t load properly.
6. Don’t Write a Novel
Do you have any more tips for avoiding the spam folder? Let us know in the comments.