We talk a fair amount about how to cut down the spam in your own in box. But what about when you want to send a group, or broadcast, email to your customers? Especially in light of recent changes at Google, Yahoo, Hotmail and the like, who are ‘conveniently’ separating your newsletter subscriptions from your other email, how do you get through the maze of filters and into in boxes? And how do you get recipients to open, and act upon, your email?
Getting to the in box
The rules used by spam filters are incredibly complex, in depth and breadth. Every spam filtering program has its own proprietary rules and they tend to hold them in confidence. That said, there are some basic rules that have proven effective in getting your email into your audience’s inbox. Here are few for you:
- Don’t use the word ‘test’ in the subject of your email
- Don’t embed lots of URLs or images in the body of your email
- Don’t use words like ‘sale’, ‘buy now’, ‘discount’, etc. These words stink of spam
- Pay attention to your text to link ratio. You want a paragraph or more of text for each link.
- Don’t get carried away with bold fonts and colors
Getting opened and/or saved in the in box
On average, we make a decision whether to keep an email in under 1.5 seconds. Just that quickly, we hit delete, save for later, or open every email that comes through. That’s FAST!
Think about your own behavior and which email get opened or saved. Likely, they have:
- an eye-catching, engaging subject line
- photos that load quickly and tell the story that goes with them
- a brief amount of text with a photo and a link to the full story
- enough white space that the eyes easily rest on important information
- a clear call to action; you know what the sender wants you to do next
Hey, wait a minute.
Yes, the two sets of bullets appear to be in a bit in conflict with one another. There is definitely an art form to writing engaging copy for broadcast email which gets your email opened or saved, then clicked upon, while still getting it to the in box in the first place so those decisions can be made! It’s not rocket science, but does take a little practice.
One tool you can use to fine tune your marketing email is the Unlock The Inbox Spam Score Tool.
Outlook, Thunderbird, or an Online Service?
On this, we’re quite opinionated: Use a service such as mailchimp.com or graphicmail.com to send your group email. They’re really quite inexpensive, and doing so will increase the odds your mail will make it through the filters also, because they send mail in small groups. As a bonus, they also keep you in compliance with CAN-SPAM legalities around sending broadcast email. They also have bits of code you can add to your website, enabling subscribers to add and remove themselves, and they include wonderful statistics that help you further target future email. And they have templates that make it super easy to get started!