Be Trustworthy: Easy Ways to Avoid Looking Like Spam January 10, 2019, | Posted by Samantha

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The spam filter is the place that email marketing campaigns go to die; so it’s no surprise that many marketers are almost obsessed with how to avoid being labeled as spam, either by the email platforms themselves or by their recipients. Site Impact’s experts have been working to keep our clients’ emails from going into the spam folder for years, and while there is a lot of advice out there, we’ve condensed the best practices down to a few key points that everyone can put to good use.

Avoid spammy subject lines

One of the easiest ways to prevent your emails from getting marked as spam is to avoid one of the biggest red flags that email platforms and users both look at to identify a spam sender: subject line keywords. While the particular keywords associated with spam senders can vary somewhat from month to month and year to year, updated lists are always available, and keeping your own lists of words and phrases to avoid makes it easy to craft subject lines that won’t immediately make the people you’re sending emails to identify you as suspicious. It isn’t foolproof, of course--email platforms use a list of different indicators to make their decisions on what to send to the spam filter--but it is a very big factor and one that’s easy to take care of.

Get on the trusted list

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) arrived on the email scene in 2011, and has become a major tool that email platforms use for determining the trustworthiness of senders. DMARC allows the sender of an email to create a set of instructions for the receiving domain on what to do if the message fails one of the systematic authentication checks that verify information. This policy makes it very difficult to spoof brands and deliver fraudulent messages to unsuspecting recipients, or hijack pieces of content to fool filters. If a message fails one or both, the DMARC record can tell the receiving domain to discard the message and not deliver it.

In addition to DMARC, the various email platforms have their own rules and policies governing what sets a legitimate email sender apart from spammy ones; knowing these rules and playing by them puts your brand on the ‘trusted’ list, a coveted position to be in.

Honor requests to unsubscribe

Speaking of the ‘trusted’ list that email platforms maintain, one of the key criteria is the number of flags that an email address or IP address receives from recipients marking emails as spam. This is way more likely to happen when brands and marketers ignore requests submitted to them to unsubscribe a recipient; therefore, it’s a good idea to act on such requests as quickly as possible, generally within about 10 days of receipt (technically, regulations on spam allow for a longer time frame, but sooner is better than later).

By following these three guidelines, you can do the lion’s share of the work it takes to maintain a good reputation with your recipients and the email service platforms both, which will keep your emails from automatically landing in spam filters instead of being served up in the inbox. Contact Site Impact to learn the finer points of avoiding the spam folder, from our industry-leading experts.