Beyond the Junk Folder: How Spam Can Undermine Your Future Messaging

June 27, 2016

Email marketers have long been wary of the spam folder and avoid it like a black hole that could trap their messages where their contacts will never see them. A message in the spam folder likely removes all possibility for click-through and conversion, so email marketers strive to get their messages into readers’ inboxes where the potential to be seen and acted upon significantly increases.

The spam folder can cause damage far beyond the immediate lost revenue from an unseen message. According to a recent survey, 47 percent of Internet retailers report message delivery to a spam folder is the most damaging email marketing issue to a brand.

Read on for ways that spam can undermine your future messaging, as well as best practices to move your emails beyond the junk folder to avoid potential damage to your brand’s reputation.

Do: Keep your email lists clean

Be careful to avoid spam traps created by email addresses that are actively monitored but not actively used. Make proper email hygiene a habit and do a regular cleanse of your email lists. Remove unresponsive addresses regularly and use an email service provider that automatically manages opted-out addresses, This will keep your deliverability rates up and complaints against your brand down, generating long-term benefits for your brand’s reputation.

Don’t: Bump up your bounce rates

Internet service providers (ISPs) use several criteria to determine an email sender’s reputation, and among these is the bounce rate. The more messages you send to invalid, closed or non-existent email addresses, the higher your bounce rate will be. When the bounce rate crosses a threshold of about five percent, ISPs may start preventing your emails from making it to your contacts’ inboxes. Keep your bounce rate as low as possible so that your future campaigns don’t suffer from poor deliverability. An automated list hygiene program will get this number down to nil.

Do: Use double opt-in

Generate a two-step process that enables new subscribers to confirm they want to receive content from you. Contacts who have double opted-in are much more likely to read and engage with your emails, keeping them far away from the spam folder. This will help your deliverability rates stay high and boost your subscriber engagement. The initial double opt-in process also gives your subscribers the opportunity to share the kinds of content they’d like to receive. This will ensure your messages hit the nail on the head every single time.

Don’t: Ignore customer complaints

When customers unsubscribe to your emails, it’s not just a matter of respect to honor their request – it’s the law. It’s always hard to let subscribers go, but doing so will help keep your email lists clean and your company in reputable standing. Use email marketing software that integrates with your CRM system to ease the opt-out process for your organization, and keep your brand focused on driving conversions from the customers who are your biggest fans.

Do: Get third-party sender accreditation

Third-party organizations that offer sender accreditation can help boost your validity as a legitimate email marketer. The accreditation process often requires brands to follow certain guidelines in order to become a verified sender, but it also offers a high return on investment. Accredited senders are included on trusted listings referenced by ISPs and can bypass certain email filters, generating long-term benefits for your brand.

Damage done to your deliverability and bounce rates will affect your future campaigns and your sender reputation, and is hard to reverse. On the other hand, a good sender reputation can result in preferential delivery for your messages from webmail providers and filtering companies – upping the odds that your email will be seen, read and acted upon.

Make sure that your email marketing strategy integrates these tips to get messages from your current and future campaigns out of the spam folder and into the inbox.

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