Email Marketing with a third party email provider is wonderful for several reasons. It provides small businesses with an easy way to reach large mailing lists (avoiding daily sending limits). It provides high-quality templates for small businesses to customize to their liking. It even manages mailing lists, de-dupes, and provides reports you can analyze for performance.
Mail Chimp and Constant Contact are two third party email providers that offer a similar service. Both can help you to get the most out of your email marketing. They do, however, pay close attention to things like Spam reports. Most third party email providers have tight limits on the percentage of recipients that can report your email as spam within a given campaign. This can lead you to be forced to delete entire lists, or even forfeit use of the third party email service. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to minimize your instances of spam reports. These 6 ways are a great start.
1. Don’t buy lists. Lots of small businesses are tempted to buy mailing lists in order to stay competitive in certain demographics. While this may be your best course of action, it certainly won’t help you reduce the spam rate of your email marketing campaigns. Third party email providers have been known to block entire lists or even kick businesses off of their website due to bought lists. If you are sending to people who don’t yet know you, it’s best to sprinkle a few in per email rather than dump them all in at once.
2. Send only to specific, ‘people’ emails. Address like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com are likely to raise a red flag for spam reports. These sort of emails imply that you’re looking to force your emails into the inboxes of people you don’t know and who don’t know you. The risk (high spam count) is far greater than the reward (potential business from an automated inbox is low).
3. Don’t load up your email with links. A proper email marketing campaign has a high ratio of unlinked words to anchor text. A desperate attempt to get people to your website, like loading up every word with links, will also be red flag and likely increase your spam rate. That’s not to say links aren’t great. They are, but make sure you use them only when relevant. A newsletter, invitation, or announcement should tell its own story, well before someone clicks through to the website.
4. Preen your mailing lists. Peruse your mailing lists and cull them for timeliness. Someone who subscribed to your emails five years ago probably won’t want to continue hearing from you, and most spam reports come from people who are sick and tired of getting updates for years and years. Take a look at the entry dates of the email addresses on your mailing lists, determine whether or not they’ve opened and clicked through to your site from your recent emails, and be selective about whether or not they should stay on the list.
5. Allow them to unsubscribe. An unsubscribe button is perhaps the best way to diffuse spam reports. Recipients who don’t wish to hear from you can simply click ‘unsubscribe’ and be free of you, rather than maliciously labeling your campaign as spam. This allows is a natural way for your list to edit itself. It also is a great bargaining tool in the event that you are called up for a list review. It will mean a lot to the provider that you give your recipients an opportunity to opt out of receiving your emails.
6. Don’t over exclaim!!! This might be trivial, but email services like aol, hotmail, and gmail look out for email subject lines with multiple exclamation points. “Amazing Deal!!!!!!” is likely to provoke a flagging. Control your excitement, and rejoice in subtle, effective email marketing without the worries of spam reports.
Contact us for more tips on email marketing for your small business.