“Spam is a waste of the receivers’ time, and, a waste of the sender’s optimism.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Repeat after me, “Email marketing is not equal to spamming”. The less evolved mortals of our world strongly believe that email marketing is, in fact, just a fancy way of spamming. This notion leads to them having their shields up with a functionality called ‘Spam Filter’. Since we’re the breed of intelligent, informed, and downright mutant marketers, we want to do everything in our power to steer clear of spam filters. If Pardot is your preferred email marketing tool, here’s a quick take on the ‘know-how’ of avoiding spam filters. Read on!
Why is spam formidable for email marketers?
“Unsolicited bulk mail” is what spam is. Pardot is a stickler for the rules of the Permission Based Marketing Policy, it does not allow spam. The one thing email marketers fear the most is getting reported in the ‘spam complaint’ category – Abuse Reports. These are serious business as even a few abuse reports may get your IP address blocked, depriving you of sending emails, ever. The spam complaint limit is 0.1% or 1 per every thousand emails. Recipients can misconstrue even the valid, legitimate emails for spam depending on their timing, opt-in consent (online or in-person), or volume.
How to intercept erroneous abuse reports?
Here’s a checklist to stay on guard for, before sending out your email campaigns:
1. Consent: Since the dawn of GDPR, this is the biggest change in the lives of marketers. To stay on top of the email marketing game, ensure that you have a clear, explicit, unambiguous, and documented opt-in consent from the customer.
2. Mode of consent: In case you’ve received the opt-in consent from your customer over the phone, or in-person, send them a ‘thank you’ or confirmation email soon after that. This would serve the purpose of documentation too.
3. Timing: Send emails to your prospects soon after they opt-in. Don’t wait around too long because you’d then run the risk of them forgetting that they opted in to receive communication from you.
4. Frequency: A higher frequency isn’t necessarily better. The best time, day, and frequency of sending emails depends on your unique customer. You could ask the customers who have opted-in if they have a preference as to how often they’d wish to receive communication from you.
What are spam filters?
Spam filters scan emails like X-rays. They scrutinize your email content, sending reputation, and recipient engagement, before declaring them spam. These spam filters also probe further into your sending IP reputation and email authentication. An immaculate sending IP reputation is absolutely necessary. Pardot prides itself for its deliverability. Therefore, if your sending IP reputation isn’t great, it would have a negative impact on the deliverability of your emails. The most commonly accepted authentication standards are Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys, and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). The intent of these standards is to separate the spammers and the phishers from legitimate marketers. All major spam filter providers and ISPs keep their radar active for these standards, before routing an email. Warming up your IP address over 2-6 weeks is extremely important and the magic spell is to not send out emails to every prospect in your database right at the get-go so that you successfully dodge a spam monitor red flag.
How to abstain from spam filters?
Here are 5 steps you must follow to forbear spam filters:
1. Clean Code: Pasting content from Microsoft Word pulls in style tags and other codes, making your email HTML slapdash and messy. Keep your code clean, or use the “Paste From Word” Button.
2. Limited Links: Shortened links and domains are blocked by many spam filters. Refrain from using URL shorteners and limit the number of different domains that you link.
3. Low Image-to-Text Ratio: A spam filter can be triggered if there are one too many images or the size of the image is too large in comparison to the text in an HTML email. There could be instances when your recipients are unable to view the images because some email clients block images by default. In such a case, use alt tags that describe your images.
4. Easy Opt-outs: If you’re using Pardot for email marketing, this is something you wouldn’t need to worry about because one of its many benefits is that it automatically includes an unsubscribe link on your marketing emails. Just ensure you include a physical address or an email preference center so as not to trigger a spam filter.
5. Hygienic Lead Set: Filters assume that your emails are spam if you continue sending emails to unengaged prospects. List Hygiene must be your top priority. Keep your lists squeaky clean by ensuring you have 100% opt-ins and by refreshing them from time to time, so they’re never categorized as stale lists.
Spam filters aren’t necessarily “all-evil”. They help you keep your email marketing practices sharp, clean, and flawless. The trick is to just find a way around them, and you really could see that perfect email deliverability isn’t just a state of mind. Don’t let terms like spam triggers, spam traps, and anti-spam laws, patronize you. Just trust Pardot and your own competence to deliver your best email campaigns to your recipients’ inbox, and you’d have email deliverability gold!