One of the most important benefits of email marketing campaigns is that you can reach hundreds of potential customers in any given instant. If you are managing a large list, you have an opportunity to send emails with a personal touch to every receiver, but also a responsibility to make sure they are relevant.
We, at InboxAlly, know from experience the great impact that email marketing can have on businesses. However, we also know that sending mass emails is not automatically successful. You may find your emails landing in the spam folder instead of the inbox! What a huge waste of energy and disappointment when you look at the delivery reports.
So, to help you use bulk email in the most efficient way possible and grow your business with it, we provide you this in-depth guide on how to send mass emails without landing in spam. Done right, the payoff can be huge with an ROI that far exceeds all your other marketing channels!
20 Tips for Sending Mass Emails Without Landing in the Spam Folder
1. Clean Your Email List
Proactive email scrubbing (removing inactive contacts) is an important part of any successful email marketing campaign.
This helps you increase deliverability, which by the way deserves the most attention when it comes to email marketing.
And why not? It’s because as your email deliverability lowers, so does your brand reputation with the ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Consequently, a poor reputation lowers your email deliverability further.
To avoid this death spiral, you should clean your email list regularly and remove the invalid data. This will keep your VIP stat looking healthy and polished.
Another benefit of cleaning your email list aside from avoiding landing in a spam folder is that it reduces your bounce rate – the percentage of email addresses in the subscriber lists that were not able to receive your email because it was returned by the mail server.
Have you considered how much you can save in sending costs by cleaning your email list? Well, this simple step can actually save 22% of your yearly bill when doing bulk email campaigns.
Research about database decay showed that email data degrades about 22% per year as people change email addresses, switch jobs, or disappear from the digital space.
So, if you have not cleaned your email list yet over the past year, it only means you are paying more to send emails to accounts that are inactive. We don’t recommend this and neither would your accountant.
2. Consider the Technical Factors
When doing a bulk email campaign, you should also consider the technical factors to avoid landing in spam. These include:
DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail)
This email authentication technique allows the recipient to determine whether the email is really sent by the owner of the domain.
On your part as the email sender, you can add a digital signature to your email or the header of the message. And whenever the recipient’s system or the recipient himself/ herself has determined that the email contains a valid DKIM signature, it will then be allowed into the inbox.
SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
This is another email authentication method that you can utilize to prevent spammers from sending messages as if they came from your domain. In short, it works by detecting forged sender addresses during the delivery of emails.
When your email domain is protected by the SPF framework, the possibility of your bulk emails getting blacklisted by spam filters is greatly reduced.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance)
DMARC is an open technical specification used to authenticate emails by aligning DKIM and SPF mechanisms. By putting DMARC in place, you can fight email spoofing, phishing, and business email compromise.
3. Avoid Misleading Subject Lines and Test Them
To send bulk emails without spamming, you should avoid misleading your receivers with your subject line. There are some marketers who use false or enticing subject lines to get their recipients to open their email.
However, this is a shady marketing practice. A survey conducted by Litmus showed that 54% of participants have felt deceived, tricked, or cheated into opening a promotional email because of a misleading subject line.
There are also words that can trigger spam filters when used in subject lines. For instance, words like “100% off,” “free,” “limited time,” “instant,” “order limited,” and “dollars” can trigger the spam filter.
While the subject line plays a crucial role in the success of your email campaigns being one of the first points of contact with your recipients, you should avoid taking it too far. Doing so will only hurt your brand image and damage your subscribers’ trust.
So, to avoid setting yourself up for spam complaints, earn your subscribers’ attention instead with a subject line that connects with their emotions, needs, or aspirations. You should also test your email subject line, especially when sending bulk emails.
4. Make Sure Your Email Looks Professional
It’s easy for bulk emails to be mistaken for malicious activity, like phishing, and this can lead to various problems. For example, it can lead to a reduced response rate as many recipients ignore or trash the message.
This is the reason why you should make sure your email looks professional. For now, you probably already recognize what typical spam looks like: incoherent wording, strange links, and fuzzy images.
A few tips to make sure your email is seen as legitimate include investing in a good email design (well-placed images and text plus a modern layout) , don’t use suspicious attachments and links, and avoid obvious grammar and spelling errors.
5. Use Double Opt-In
A double opt-in happens when a user subscribes to an email or newsletter from you and you send an email that includes a link to confirm their subscription. What’s the purpose of this confirmation method?
It reduces spam addresses in your list since any bots that we’re able to sign up for in your email marketing list can’t make it to your list after the confirmation. It also protects your sender’s reputation and helps you avoid any spam traps.
Moreover, this added step of signing up shows the user’s increased interest in the topic or business. Eventually, it leads to greater engagement and better results of your campaign.
6. Take Care of the Follow-Up
If you are following up with your audience, clients or trying to re-engage with the inactive ones, having a steady flow of communication is necessary. But it doesn’t mean you just send emails just for the sake of sending them.
Try to offer relevant, engaging, and valuable content to avoid being marked as spam. Avoid massive blasts of email but try to space your emails evenly enough to just remind your customers that you are there.
Why are follow-up emails important? There are many reasons, but one that stands out is that they increase conversion. People are busy and there’s a chance your email could be lost in the inbox with hundreds of other emails.
A follow-up email can assist your customers and add value to their lives. Not only that. A follow-up email builds trust because you show them that your brand adopts a customer-centered approach.
7. Pay Attention To Inactive Users
If you’ve noticed that some of your subscribers are no longer clicking, opening, or reading your bulk emails, then you should act upon it.
We’ve mentioned this earlier and we’ll highlight it again, dormant subscribers can damage your sender reputation that will also influence your email deliverability rate.
Our suggestion is you launch a re-engagement campaign first. There are strategies you can use when re-engaging inactive email subscribers.
These strategies include knowing (1) which among these subscribers have the least risk and the most value, (2) which inactive email list has the least value and the most risk, and (3) at what stage does email deliverability risk outweigh the value that these dormant subscribers generate.
Another strategy is to add a short survey to find out why your subscribers have stopped engaging with your emails or have gone quiet. Remember, feedback is the key to improvement.
Take note also that the tone of voice and the relevance of your email communication are vital in normal email campaigns, but more so in re-engagement campaigns.
Sending them relevant content will be your holy grail. Personalization is also important as it will make the subscriber feel like an actual person is reaching out to them rather than an Autobot.
8. Watch Out For Spam Traps
9. Fix Field Errors and Typos
Field errors, typos, and grammatical errors can hurt your email campaign. It’s because a single error can make your email look unprofessional and sloppy, which can be a red flag to ISPs.
When a consumer may be wary of phishing or spam, a misspelled word can really be a killer issue.
As for field errors, we mean avoiding bounces by making sure your list does not contain user subscribe typos where @gmail is spelled @gmaoil or @hotmail is not @htmail. Ensure also that the first, and last name fields are properly mapped and not empty. If you have any duplicate contacts, clean those up before they reach the inboxes of your subscribers twice.
10. DON’T SHOUT AT YOUR RECIPIENTS (Avoid Using Upper Case)
Avoid using ALL capital letters in your emails even if you want to highlight or emphasize your message. Doing so is just rude and may be interpreted as if you’re shouting (especially when used in the subject line) at the receiver in terms of email etiquette.
Instead, you can use diplomatic language or craft an inquisitive or witty subject line. A study even uncovered that subject lines that end with a question mark achieved a higher open rate than those that use exclamation points.
With that, you probably have the idea by now that using multiple exclamation points, especially in your subject line, only end up as being spammy to the ISPs and the receivers.
11. Craft Email Copy that does not Trigger Spam Filters
To avoid landing in spam, craft an email copy that appeals to your subscribers and does not flag the rigorous spam filters. How is this best handled?
The simple answer is that everything in the email matters. The images, the embeds, the attachments, the design, and the font. All these are being scrutinized by the spam filters. So, keep the email on point and as relevant as possible.
Another tip to craft an email that reaches your subscribers’ inboxes is to achieve a balance of text and image as discussed below.
Once you think you have the email copy dialed in, make sure to test it using one of the many free spam check tools out there, and then keep iterating until it’s perfect.
12. Limit Rich Media Content
In your email marketing campaign, it is best to assume that a majority of those on your list can’t view rich media content, like video embeds. With that, limit putting them in your emails.
Let’s say you insert rich media content in your email and it won’t work properly or don’t show at all, your email design will appear messy and sloppy to your email clients. This can make your email spammy and will also damage your credibility.
Even if the media is important to your bulk emails, put such on your website instead and just insert a link to it on your email copy. For instance, if you want your subscribers to see a video, try using an animated GIF instead as this is a much more reliable format for email.
We also don’t encourage emails that consist entirely of photos. It may show up as incomplete or empty if the email recipient has turned off the email images. This is the reason why some email marketers prefer to adopt the 80:20 text-to-image ratio or put an “alt text” in their images.
13. Offer Both HTML and Plain Text Email
Take time to have both the HTML and plain text versions of your email. The HTML email is what you typically see from other organizations and businesses. They contain colors, images, formatting, and usually start with an email template.
On the other hand, plain text emails are just exactly what they sound like. No bells or whistles, just plain text without buttons, formatting, or graphics.
The reason why you need both of these versions is that you can appeal to different people and establish your legitimacy with the Internet Service Providers. Also, if your email includes incomplete or broken tags, the spam filter may prevent it from reaching the target inbox.
14. Avoid Attachments
Since you are sending bulk emails, avoid adding attachments. There are some email marketing providers that don’t allow attachments in emails.
It’s because they’re more security conscious. Furthermore, sending a file that contains attachments to thousands of recipients takes longer than just a simple email.
The whole process makes the email more likely to end up in the spam folder. If you really need to share a file, why not use a free file sharing service, such as Dropbox, and include that link in your email instead?
Still, you have to mind the links in your emails. Always verify the links and avoid using the shortened links since they usually alert spam filters.
15. Tone Down Colors and Fonts
People pay attention to the colors and fonts used in the email. Using irregular font colors and sizes in a bulk email campaign also alerts spam filters. The same goes for white text on a white background, also referred to as an invisible text.
16. Include a Prominent Unsubscribe Link
Offer an easy way out of your campaign. Aside from being a good professional practice, it is also required by all SMTP mail senders and ESPs. Include an unsubscribe link or button in your every email to avoid being marked as spam when your subscribers feel like they can’t leave your newsletters.
And when your emails are marked as spam, it can be a big blow to your sender’s reputation. Don’t worry, though. As long as you’re offering great email content, there is nothing for you to fear.
17. Use a Dedicated IP
The next solution to send bulk email without landing in spam is to use a dedicated IP address. Such an IP address will only be used by your company’s or business’ account with your marketing emails. If you send transactional emails make sure to keep those on a different IP or pool. Just in case something bad does go wrong on the marketing side, you will limit the disruption of your business.
Remember, when moving to a dedicated IP, it is best to warm up your IP so the ISPs can gather data about your email activity and understand that you are not a spammer.
18. Use a Reputable Email Automation/ Marketing Tool
Choose a reputable email service provider to avoid the many pitfalls linked with bulk email sends. With the help of an established email marketing platform, you can take advantage of using relevant sender IP addresses and it helps you with the credibility and recognize-ability of your email.
19. Run Spam Tests Before Sending Your Email
Before you send out your bulk email campaigns, run a spam test first to increase your overall email deliverability. Some marketers form a seed list using the email addresses that belong to their family, co-workers, or friends. You can also find tools that measure inbox placement.
The spam test will not only review your subject line and content but will also check if your domain or IP address is blocklisted.
20. Review Analytics
Our last tip on how to send mass emails without landing in spam is to review your analytics. It helps you track the way subscribers interact with email campaigns.
Gather and analyze analytics for every email campaign. Focus on these clickstream metrics: bounce rate, open rate, and CTR.
You Can Find Your Way to the Inbox
What’s the moral here? That it is possible to find your way to the inboxes of your subscribers.
As long as you follow the best practices listed above, it will generate positive results and bring greater returns on the creativity, time, energy, and money that you have invested in your bulk email campaign.