550 Reasons Why Your Email Marketing Message Was Considered Spam

spamAlright, so the headline of this blog post isn’t exactly accurate. But there’s a reason for that.

It’s because that’s one example of the kind of misleading subject line many spammers use to get recipients to open their emails. (Did it get you to click through and read this blog post?)

And unfortunately, what the spammers are doing is making it harder for legitimate senders like you — businesses and organizations that have important information they want to share with customers — to get through to subscribers.

What’s spam?

Let’s back up a second. What is spam? In general, that’s a subjective question. Often, what’s considered spam is all in the eye of the beholder (or the recipient, to be more exact).

For example, a person could see a subject line, open the email, find the content has nothing to do with the subject line or decide the subject line was totally deceptive or misleading, and hit the spam button because he or she did not like the bait and switch.

Sometimes people get emails from brands whose lists they don’t remember signing up for, and they consider these messages spam.

These kinds of things happens all the time, and the more they do, the more likely that emails from those senders will automatically go to the spam folder in the future.

More often than not, though, spam emails share these three characteristics:

  • They’re messages a recipient did not ask for
  • that were sent in bulk
  • from senders the recipient doesn’t know

In some other cases, it’s the content of the emails — both the subject line and the body content — that raises a red flag for the email client (i.e., Gmail, Outlook, AOL, etc.) and that client automatically places the messages in a recipient’s spam folder instead of the inbox.

Avoiding the spam folder

InMotion, a web hosting company, has compiled a list of the most popular words and phrases used in spam emails. It includes such things as “$$$,” “Be your own boss,” “No fees,” and “Risk free.” These words get higher spam points by mail filters, either on the outgoing side or the incoming side.

If you want to avoid the spam folder, it’s a good idea to stay away from using the terms found on that list.

That said, to be clear, it’s not always the words in your email that cause a message to be considered spam, and using words on this list will not always cause it to bypass a recipient’s inbox. As InMotion says, “Using one of these phrases once will not trigger an email as spam, but using a phrase repeatedly or many of these phrases together in the same email can cause it to be flagged as spam.”

The takeaway is that you don’t want to fill up your email marketing messages with sales and promotional copy — the kind of content that typically includes some of these verboten words and phrases. If you want your emails to be welcomed by both your subscribers and their email clients, continue to send content that’s relevant, helpful, entertaining, and interesting. The kind of content your customers want to receive.

Then, not only will your emails make it to the inbox, but your subscribers will actually look out for your messages, and will notice when they haven’t arrived.

What questions do you have about spam? Ask them in the comments section below and we’ll answer them in a future blog post!


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