Avoiding Spam


Email marketing is a popular marketing tool for most businesses.  It’s cheap and if done well, it can be an effective direct response channel.  However, this assumes that your recipient receives your email in their inbox.  To do this, you need to keep your email out of the Spam folder which is trickier than you might think.  So, here are my 8 tips to keep your email out of the Spam folder:

  • Watch Your Email Size: This is one of the tests that most email service providers (ESPs) will run.  If your email file size is too big (more than around 50kb) then the recipient may not see it
  • Avoid Random Characters: If you are using ‘!’ instead of ‘I’, or separating words with ‘.’ then it’s difficult to read, and your email is probably going to end up with the rest of the spam
  • Purchased Lists: It is very tempting to buy a list which seems like it is full of your target audience, but not all lists are of a good quality.  Sending your email to a purchased list may result in a large number of unsubscribes or complaints, which will alert the ESP to your email – and make it more likely to be Spam
  • Deceptive subject lines: This not only a challenge the words you use, but also the format.  Starting your email campaign subject line with ‘FW:’ or ‘RE:’ is deceptively encouraging people to open your email.  Classic spammer behaviour
  • Put a SPF on your DNS: Ensuring that your DNS settings have an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record, as this will indicate that a server can send an email on behalf of your website.  It’s almost a validation of your email
  • Avoid all caps: Overuse of capital letters makes emails tough to read and is spammy.  Also, there are some trigger words that you should avoid, e.g. free, no gimmick, act now
  • Clear Unsubscribe Link: All of your email marketing should offer the recipient a way out of their agreement to receive your emails.  The unsubscribe link should be clearly displayed in your email.
  • Avoid lazy code: ESPs are on the lookout for sloppy code, so make sure that you employ a professional coder to write your email communications.  It will render better on a range of ESPs and is more likely to avoid the Spam filter

Do you have any tips to avoid the Spam filter?  Leave a comment and let me know!

One thought on “Avoiding Spam

  1. Hey Wilson, I have recently started writing an article for Software Testers for testing e-mail related features of a web application. Like E-mail Activation, Alerts, Forgot Password etc. I was searching for e-mail related content and got your link on Twitter and it has got me to learn some new things related to e-mail.

    Thank you very much.

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