Spam Testing Is Crucial To Your Email Marketing Success

Email marketing remains powerful and effective for running a successful online business. But, many businesses are not getting the desired results from their email marketing campaigns. This is due to poor deliverability and open rates.

Return Path, an email deliverability expert, created the 2017 Deliverability Benchmark Report. From this, they found that 20% of commercial emails end up in spam folders.

If your email campaign is not yielding the desired result, a couple of things might be responsible for it. The first step is to check if your emails are received by your subscribers. If not, you need to find a way to improve the number of emails that get delivered to your receivers’ inboxes. Spam testing is a step in the right direction.

Table Of Contents

With Clickable Navigation

Why Do Email Messages End Up In The Spam Box?

How To Keep Your Emails Out Of The Spam Folder

What Is Spam Testing?

How Does Spam Testing Work?

Benefits Of Spam Testing

How To Perform A Spam Test

Why Do Email Messages End Up In The Spam Box?

It would be sad if the bulk of your messages don’t make it to your subscribers’ inboxes. Especially after you created the best email content possible.

There are several reasons why your message may not hit your subscribers’ inboxes. Until you understand the issues and fix them, you may continue to struggle with your campaign.

Consider these few reasons:

1. You don’t have permission to send email messages to some addresses

A purchased email list may cause delivery failure. When people on your list receive unsolicited messages from you, they may report your domain name as spam. This is because they didn’t give you permission to contact them, you’re invading their privacy. That’s even against your ISP’s terms and conditions.

ESPs take such cases seriously. So, they may send these types of messages to the Spam folder. You should only send messages to users who subscribe to your list. Such subscribers are interested in doing business with you. That’s why they gave you their email addresses.

It is unethical and unprofessional to send messages to random email addresses. This also applies to contacts you got from a purchased email list.

2. Inaccurate sender information

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency. They’re set up by the US government to promote consumers’ interest. The FTC says: “Your ‘From,’ ‘To,’ ‘Reply-To,’ and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.”

If your message doesn’t contain any of these highlighted elements, it’s heading for the spam folder. The agency highlights the importance of clearly stating your personal or company’s identity. Your message should also not contain inaccurate or misleading content. Especially if you want ESPs to send it to your subscribers’ inboxes.

3. Inactive addresses

This is another big reason why your emails might end up in the spam folder. Sending messages to inactive addresses will get you nothing but poor deliverability. If users are not interacting well with your email, your open rates will drop. When you do this on a consistent basis and on a large scale, spam filters will come after you. They may penalize your domain as they consider messages from your domain as spam.

4. No Unsubscribe link

Nothing justifies sending email messages to people without an opt-out link. Regardless of how great or valuable you believe your content is. Always give subscribers an opportunity to unsubscribe. The truth is, not everyone will like your content. People unsubscribe for different reasons.

When a subscriber no longer wants to receive emails from you, the unsubscribe link allows them to opt out. Without that link, they are stuck with you. You may end up annoying your subscribers. Some of them might take necessary actions against you. Worse, FTC may penalize you for being unprofessional. Especially if the angry recipients report your domain.

5. You are using spam-trigger words

Using some known spam-trigger words can affect your deliverability too. Email spam filters check the content of an email for such words. When it finds any of them in your content, it will flag your message.

Some of the common spam-trigger words are:

  • You’re a winner
  • Double your income
  • Outstanding values
  • 100% free
  • Unlimited trial

Others issues that may trigger spam alerts are:

  • Wordy content
  • Too much exclamation marks
  • Using upper case letters throughout
  • Using “lorem ipsum”
  • All-image content
  • Content not personalized

These words and expressions create unnecessary urgency and make you sound illegitimate. They also portray you as making exaggerated claims. Watch out for these words and other related ones in your email content, and take them out.

6. Flagged IP address

If ISP has flagged your IP address in the past, your messages may end up in the spam folder. Frequent complaints may make your IP address or domain name look suspicious. If the trend continues, ESP will flag the domain name or IP address.

After the flagging, the bulk of your messages will be delivered to the spam folder instead of the inbox.

7. Poorly written email

Aside from the content, your construction also matters when writing a promotional email. A poorly-constructed email will harm your deliverability. The email should be error-free as well. If the email has several errors it may not get to your audience’s inbox. These errors can include grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors. Using strange colors and loud fonts are other issues that may cause your email appear poorly.

Emails from reputable organizations and individuals are usually error-free. They take the time to ensure that everything is written to reflect the image of their brand. So, if ESPs find errors in your emails, they may doubt the originality of the source and flag your email.

8. Email bounces

Email bounces occur when your messages don’t reach subscribers for different reasons. There are two types of bounces: hard bounce and soft bounce. Hard bounces occur due to invalid email addresses. You can experience soft bounces when the receiver’s inbox is full or down. Hard bounces can have an adverse effect on your domain reputation. That will affect your email delivery rate.

9. URL shortener in an email

Using a URL shortener may land you in trouble with ISPs. Spammers usually use such shorteners to hide the URL they use for spamming. Hence, emails that contain a shortened address may not make it to receivers’ inboxes.

10. Missing ‘From name,’ ’Subject Line,’ and ‘Email Body’

Subject Line, From Name, and Email Body are important elements of an email. An email is incomplete if any of the above elements are missing. If you somehow succeed in sending such an empty email, it will go straight to the spam folder. Such mistakes will also have a negative effect on your IP and domain reputations.

11. Unsupported CSS attributes and HTML tags

Another issue is not using HTML tags and CSS attributes that ESPs support. If you use unsupported tags and attributes, your email won’t render properly. The ESP may mark the email as spam.

How To Keep Your Emails Out Of The Spam Folder

Do you desire to get real results from your email marketing efforts? If you do, keep your messages out of the spam folder. To achieve this, you need to understand how to do what ISPs love.

Here are some tips that will assist you in creating emails that can beat spam filters:

1. Create and build your own email list

One of the easiest ways to beat spam filters is building and growing your own email list. The dangers of buying email addresses have been discussed. Sharing one with someone else is not healthy either. A shared list will cause you the same problems as a purchased list. If you are contemplating email harvesting, drop the idea. Collecting emails with a robot won’t give you the desired result either. It’s a sure way to end up in the spam folder.

Rather than getting an email list through channels, build your email list organically. This may be more expensive but it will be well worth it. When you create a list, you won’t experience the issues associated with a purchased or harvested list.

2. Clean up your list

Over time, some people may unsubscribe from your list for various reasons. There are some who are no longer interested in your emails but won’t unsubscribe. These inactive subscribers won’t open your messages. They will contribute to lower open rates and reduce your engagement rate as well. Your ISP will send your emails to the spam folder if your open and engagement rates continue to drop.

The best solution is to remove these inactive subscribers from your list. Do this as the need arises to keep your list clean and healthy.

3. Share valuable content

Do you want to succeed at email marketing? Sending valuable content should top your list of must-dos. Your subscribers will respond negatively to flab content. If they don’t find your content valuable, your engagement rate will drop. It is important that you create valuable content that will move receivers to action. If you don’t, you will continue to hurt your email campaign with low response and poor deliverability.

When you want to create the next email, ask yourself whether your subscribers will learn a thing or two from it. Will they find the information useful or not?

Sincere answers to these questions will help you understand how valuable your content is. If it won’t resonate with your audience, a few tweaks here and there may be what you need to get it right.

4. Authenticate your email

Authenticating your email helps your ESP to verify your identity. It also helps the provider to know that you are not sending out spam but legit emails. Doing this will give you some credibility before ISPs.

Consider using the following during the authentication process:

5. Use double opt-in

It is important to verify recipients’ willingness to receive messages from you. Providing prospective subscribers with a double opt-in allows them to decide whether they truly want to join your list.

With this method, subscribers will have to confirm their emails before they get added. Subscribers who confirm their addresses are interested in your emails. They are also not likely to mark it as spam. That will boost your deliverability and engagement rates.

6. Avoid blacklists

Emails from blacklisted domain names will most likely end up in the spam folder, or in some cases not be delivered at all. There are several reasons why your domain name may appear on a blacklist. Do your best to stay out of blacklists.

The best way to determine why your emails may not make it to the inboxes of your subscribers is to conduct a spam test.

What Is Spam Testing?

Spam testing is testing an email for traits that can make an Email Service Provider or Internet Service Provider think the email is not from a trusted source. Spam testing helps business owners know why they are experiencing poor delivery rates. This method can also help email marketers.

A spam test analyzes your email for potential spammy words or elements. Specifically ones that might be hurting your deliverability. The spam test result gives you an idea of what the issues are so you can fix them. This means you’ll be able to get more messages into your receivers’ inboxes without issues.

How Does Spam Testing Work?

During spam testing, the spam checker tool goes through your email content. It checks the content and the source of the email. In this process, it looks for potential problems that may make spam filters flag the email. Then it gives you relevant feedback. You can use this feedback to make necessary corrections. Doing so will boost your email delivery rate.

Benefits Of Spam Testing

Testing your email content for spam before sending it out can make a huge difference. This is especially noticeable in your email marketing campaign. Some of the essential benefits of conducting a spam test before you hit the “Send” button are:

1. Improved email deliverability

Better deliverability is the core benefit of spam testing. The test will help you identify the major problems that may affect deliverability. Fixing these issues will increase the chance of getting emails sent and delivered right in your subscribers’ inboxes.

2. Improved reputation

Spam testing will increase the quantity of delivered messages and open rates. This will increase people’s awareness of your products and services. If they love your offers, they are more likely to become loyal customers. Satisfied customers will love your brand and will always look forward to your next email. This will boost your deliverability and engagement rates.

3. Reduced risk of spamming complaints

Receivers will complain of spamming if you don’t test your emails before sending them out. This is true of unsolicited emails or those that fail to meet industry standards. When your ESP receives spamming complaints from your subscribers, the provider may sanction you.

If you spam-test your emails before sending them out, you will know if they are good enough to send out or not.

How To Perform A Spam Test

Before you send out your next bulk email to your list, it is advisable that you perform a spam test on the emails. The first step is to create a seed list or use MailMonitor, that has a global seedlist.  This is a list you want to use for testing inbox placement of your campaign before you send the bulk email out to your subscribers.

After creating the list, you can use a spam testing tool such as Mailmonitor. Send test emails and observe what the metrics look like. Does your email tick all the important boxes to not get flagged as spam? Are there are areas you need to improve? The result will tell you how to move forward and the kind of changes you need to boost your deliverability rates and campaign performance so that you achieve a greater ROI on your email marketing efforts.

Let’s Get In Touch

Are you ready to talk about this article, and allow us to answer any questions you may have regarding our products or services? MailMonitor would love to chat more with you about this topic, or anything else related to our industry.

GDPR Refresher: Is Your Business Compliant?

By now we're sure you've heard about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations that went into effect earlier this year.  While the policy was specifically designed under European laws, it still has impacted many US companies (specifically those that do...

Make Way for the New Gmail API Policy

In 2018, Google launched Gmail Add-ons, as a new way for developers to integrate their apps into Gmail.  One of the biggest goals was to create an ecosystem with a security model where user information is only shared with a developer/company when a user takes a...

Email Feedback Loops: Everything You Need to Know

What are Email Feedback Loops? Email Feedback Loops (FBL) is a dedicated service offered by some of the leading ISPs that will report back complaints to senders in the event of a subscriber hitting the spam or junk button in their inbox. This service helps senders in...

You’ve Been Email Blacklisted….Now What?

In some of our previous blogs, we've reviewed the reasons why you might have ended up in a blacklist.  The reasons may vary, but typically the service provider will inform you as to the specifics around why you might have been blacklisted.  So now that you're email...

What is an Email Feedback Loop?

Several clients have asked recently about feedback loops, so we thought we would take this opportunity to explain what email feedback loops are and how they work. What is an Email Feedback Loop? A feedback loop (FBL) is a service offered by many of the larger ISPs. ...

How to Increase Email Subscriber Engagement

Building organic email lists and developing ways to increase email subscriber engagement are huge tasks for email marketers.  But do you realize how important creating and protecting your sender reputation is to user engagement?  If the Internet Service Providers...

Preview and Rate Marketing Emails Before Sending

Let’s be honest here – how many times have you discovered, after sending out marketing emails to your subscribers, an embarrassing typo or that you completely missed out on inserting a link to a button? Happens to the best of email marketers out there! What might seem...

Email Delivery Tips for Marketing to AOL Users

AOL Mail is a free web-based email delivery service provided by AOL that launched in March 1993. It is also commonly referred to as AIM Mail (AOL Instant Messenger), which is a division of the Verizon Communications. It is available in 54 languages and continues to be...

9 Elements of an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

If you're in business, chances are you send emails on a regular basis.  And if you want to be successful and have your emails work for you, then you need an email marketing strategy. Are you having a hard time justifying your investment into your email efforts?  Do...

How to Prepare Your Holiday Email Marketing for the Season

As we round the corner and head towards the end of 2018, it's time to get serious about your end of the year, holiday email marketing strategy.  Considering that, for many businesses, the holiday season spanning from early November to early January can be hugely...

Email Pro Tips.

Become a master of email deliverability with lessons and tips shared through our newsletters and blogs.

COPYRIGHT © 2019 MAILMONITOR INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | DESIGNED BY ENHANCED BRAND AGENCY