Avoiding the Spam Filters
Spam filter companies do not advertise what their exact parameters are, and they update them constantly to respond to the new tactics used by email marketers. But here are some general good practices and things to avoid, to keep your email in recipients' mailboxes and out of the spamfilters.
How Spam Filters Work
Spam filters consider a variety of things when judging whether your email is spam
or not. The filter program adds up a "score" for each aspect of your email that it
considers to be a spam characteristic - the higher score, the more likely that your
email will hit the filter and never make it to the recipient. And since individual
server admins can tweak what they feel to be a "failing" score, there's no consistent
threshold to aim for except "lowest possible score."
What about emojis and hashtags?
The jury is still out on whether emojis and hashtags catch in spam filters or not. Spam filtering companies don't advertise their algorithms, and they are constantly updating them.
One thing is certain - if having a hashtag in the subject is likely to not appeal to your recipients, it increases the chance that they will ignore your email, or mark it as junk or spam manually. Know your audience!
Things to Avoid
Here are a list of things that will help you avoid landing in the spam zone:
- Using phrases like "Click here".
(Just one of the reasons we suggest that your links be longer than 1-2 words, beyond mobile-friendly concerns with short links.)
- Excessive use of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!
- One-line greetings like "Dear Steve" and "Hello, Michael." Personalization is important,
but you should include it organically in the text rather than try to tack a greeting
line onto the start of your content.
"Michael, thank you for your recent donation..."
- USING ALL CAPS, WHICH READS AS SHOUTING.
- Using red or green colored fonts.
(Just one of the reasons we recommend not using colored fonts, beyond the ADA compliance concerns.)
- Creating an HTML email that’s nothing but one big image, with little or no text. Spam
filters can’t read images, so they assume you’re a spammer trying to trick them.
- Talking about money, or using excessive dollar signs in text $$$$$$.
- Using excessive punctuation or capitalization in the subject line.
You should always check your email through the Virtual Inbox test to see if it passes spam filter checks, and if not, correct what you can before sending it out.