There’s nothing more frustrating than writing an epic email to your list, only to have it totally tank and end up in junk. 

Frustrating with a capital F. 

You might be thinking your email provider is to blame – Maybe if you move away from Mailchimp/Active Campaign/Infusionsoft then your problem will go away? 

And it might. 

Sometimes, the mail service provider is the problem. 

But it’s usually not. Usually, you’re the problem. 

This is great news! Because this means that you can do something about it. 

Email Marketing

Avoiding The Junk Folder Got Harder

In days gone by (well, decades gone by really) staying out of the junk folder was pretty simple. As long as you avoided the key spammy words like “viagra”, “hot girls” and “Nigerian Prince then you were all good. 

But spam filters got smarter. 

They no longer look solely at the content of your email, but other, much more complex factors too. If you want to get your emails in front of the eyes of your target audience, then these are the things you need to keep in check…

1: Dirty List

If your list is made up of cold data, people whose email addresses you purchased or old emails that bounce, it’ll have a big impact on your deliverability rate. I’ve written about dirty lists in detail before in my blog post “Email Deliverability: How A Dirty List Affects Your Results – And What To Do About It” so if you want to learn more head over there and check it out… 

Dirty List

2: Spammy Words 

While spammy words are not the be-all and end-all of spam filters now, they still play an important role. Avoid words that are obviously spammy. If you google “spam words” you’ll find tons of blog posts with “372 words spam filters pick up on” but some are a bit OTT with words like “get” or “buy” included in the list. Ultimately, if you’ve got a really engaged list, with people who have opted in to your emails and open, click and reply frequently – and you send quality content – then you can get away with the odd spammy word… Even the super spammy ones! 

I put this to the test with my client who is a medical doctor offering treatments for impotence… If I can get “erectile dysfunction” and “erections” through a spam filter, they can’t be all that hot on spam words alone! 

3: Crap Engagement 

Engagement is a big one. If email service providers such as Yahoo, Gmail and Outlook notice that people are not opening your emails then they’ll start to filter them and sentence them to the junk folder. You can measure your engagement by looking at your open rate, click-through rate, reply rate and unsubscribe rate. If your open rate is low, try to improve it – Check out my blog post “How To Write Emails That Get Opened” here to learn how… 

Spammy Words

4: Size Matters

Despite what people say, size does matter. Too long and you’ll sound spammy. Too short and you’ll look spammy. Too big and you’ll seem spammy. By big I mean in file size – so too many images or images with large file sizes. 

Aim for the perfect length. Long enough to get your message across yet short enough to be concise and not drone on… I tend to aim for between 200-500 words for a nurture email, a little less for sales. You can get away with the occasional super-short email if you’ve established good engagement rates too. 

5: Unloved Prospects 

An unloved list that you leave to go cold is no good for anyone. If you don’t keep in touch with your list regularly, and by regularly I mean at a very minimum every two weeks, then they’ll go cold. They’ll forget about you, lose interest in you – or worse, get annoyed when you try to re-establish a connection with them. This leads to more unsubscribes, lower engagement rates and more of your emails “reported as spam” – all terrible for your deliverability. 

You might be worried about over-emailing your list and pissing people off. But don’t be. In my blog post “Inevitable Unsubscribes” I explain why you shouldn’t be afraid of some people opting out of your list – and how they can actually help you in the long run. Check it out if you haven’t read it yet. 

Email List

6: Contaminated Servers

And finally, poor deliverability can in some rare cases be down to your email provider. Sometimes, your email provider may get blacklisted by Google or Yahoo because one of the people using their service has been spamming… and that can have an impact on everyone who uses that same shared server. 

In reality, email providers know that deliverability matters so they work super hard to avoid this happening. If you’re experiencing deliverability issues, don’t jump ship immediately. Work through the other factors on this list, chat to other businesses who use the same software and share your struggles with the company themselves, they will likely be keen to help. 


Need More Help With Your Email Marketing? 

As you can see, quality content and good open rates are the keys to getting results – and that’s exactly what we do here at Strategic Content Marketing. If you’d like to find out how my team and I can help you with your email marketing, check out my Done For You Email Marketing Service here… 

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Lucinda Dawes

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