Avoid being seen as a spammer

1. Get on the White Lists 

Your email address needs to be white-listed at your client's end. It is not a possible method. However, you can contact your major clients to add your mail address in their white-list. 

2. "Drips" the Messages

Spam filters at most email providers look to see how many messages you're sending at a time. If you're sending to a large list, even if you have a fast and efficient email sending server, have the server "drip" the messages out slowly. You really don't want more than a couple thousand to hit anyone email provider per hour if you're playing it safe.

3. Break Large Lists Down

There are many reasons to break large email lists down into smaller ones, but the best reason is that doing so will mean that the spam complaints that you receive when you send your email won't be in one huge mass. It is inevitable that even loyal subscribers sometimes mark you as spam. If you send your large list into smaller segments, the email provider (Hotmail, MSN, etc.) will see fewer spam complaints bundled together at one time.

4. "Clean" Your Email List 

Most, if not all, email providers' spam filters penalise your domain or IP with a higher spam score (meaning there's a higher possibility of your emails going to junk folder) if they see that you are sending emails to bad email accounts. A bad email account is an address that doesn't exist, has been disabled or has a full inbox. These addresses should be cleaned (or "pruned") from your email list regularly to avoid this. If you allow them to add up on your list, you will eventually be flagged as a spam provider.

5. Provide a Clear Unsubscribe Link

Nobody likes it when somebody unsubscribes from their email list. However, providing a clear way to unsubscribe (and then honouring that unsubscribe quickly) means that users are less likely to get frustrated and just mark you as spam. The number one criterion for ending up in the junk box is the number of spam complaints that you receive, so avoiding them at all costs is critical.

6. Test Your Email

Before you send your entire email list the message you've worked so hard on, send a text message to each of the big email providers (Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, Gmail, AOL and one generic office address that is viewed in an Outlook client). Send the test email using the exact same server and information that you'll use with your main list. If the test ends up with most of your emails going to the junk folder, then it means you'll end up in the junk box on your main send also. The pre-send test means that you can try different subject lines and email content to try to figure out what sent you to spam.

7. Don't Have Sloppy HTML Code

Spam filters check for bad HTML code, particularly if it looks like the code was done in Microsoft Word and then thrown into an email. Use a professional coder (preferably one who has done email templates before and knows the best way to make them resolve properly in an inbox) or a template provided by your email sending partner.

8. Don't Use "The Big Image"

Embedding images in email is not totally a bad idea, but sending an email that's all one big image file definitely is, for many reasons. Foremost among reasons is that spam filters look for those types of image-based emails. Big image files often carry hidden messages that would normally get caught in spam filters (words like "free" and "Viagra"), so, when a spam filter can't read any real text in an email and only sees an image, it assumes the worst.

9. Don't Sound Like a Spammer!

This one should be obvious! The more "spam-like" text and phrases your email uses, the less likely it is to end up in the inbox. There are a number of free software solutions to check the "spam score" of an email before you send it, but there are also basic rules.

- Don't use the word "free" too many times.
- Don't use ALL CAPS.
- Don't use lots of coloured fonts.
- Only use one exclamation point at a time!
- Stay away from words you'd see in spam: Viagra, drugs, porn, guaranteed winner.

If you have seen it used in a spam message that you received, don't use it in your own email message. Even if you do all of these things and do them perfectly, your emails may still end up in the junk folder. Email spam filter criteria change almost daily and can be impacted by things that you have no control over. However, if you, as a habit, send a good email that your clients want, you will get into the inbox more often than not. We strongly suggest you follow the above guidelines because, once an email provider thinks that your email is spam, it is very hard to get back into the inbox!

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