Spam: How To Not End Up In Spam

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The dreaded spam folder. Trust me. I know all about the spam folder. Our business has gone through a few personal nightmares with this. Not to mention, Bret and I, together, coach so many entrepreneurs who are in network marketing organizations. A lot of them got hit hard because of email service providers (they worked with) that suddenly made a blanket rule they were no longer going to provide service to anyone who was in a network marketing organization.

Listen, it’s getting tougher and tougher not to end up in a spam folder. Why? Most people know that if it’s an email we need from a friend, etc., we can just filter for it and find it.

Most spam filters are getting much better at filtering out any type of email we’re not interacting with or intentionally opening. That said, email filters have become, in my opinion, overzealous. I get emails from friends that end up in my spam folder all of the time!

Let’s talk about how we can do whatever we can to avoid summarily being lumped into the category of spam.

Number ONE: Avoid using the terms that are simply not going to appear in a friends’ email. In other words, these are phrases that email filters have identified as being associated with spam or sales related emails.

  • Click here.
  • Buy Now.
  • This is going away.
  • Expiration.
  • Just a couple of hours left.

If you need to go there in your email copy (and we all do from time to time), just make sure it’s very conversational. Avoid things that sound sales-y. Spam filters look at every piece of your email: text and pictures!  When you’re texting a friend, or emailing a friend, you’re not going to put six dollar signs next to “save money now!” and then six more dollar signs and then four exclamation marks. No.

Number TWO: Purposefully misspelling words – either in your subject line or body of email. For example, many marketers figured out that there were certain words that most filters would pick up. Rather than using new words, these guys would take the word – let’s say, “sale” – and would replace the “a” with “@”. The filters are very sophisticated now and they pick up on stuff like that.

Number THREE: Avoid sending messages with one big image. This is a really common practice! Once people … marketers … the bad guys … figured out that spam filters were picking up certain words, they decided to send an info-graphic with everything that they wanted to say. Of course, now, that’s not going to work either.

Number FOUR: Send only to subscribers. Make sure the people you are sending your email to have actually subscribed to that email list! If you don’t, it takes just a few annoyed people to report your content as spam. Then, most likely, almost every email you send is likely to end up in some kind of a spam filter.

Number FIVE: Purge your mailing list. We, at Team Johnson, do it all of the time and it kills me. I’m like, “No! We can’t get rid of anybody!” But you have to. By getting rid of inactive subscribers (those who haven’t opened or clicked on an email from you in a long time)… you are creating a better, more dedicated, and interactive email list.

In addition, your email provider can tell what percentage of your emails are being opened. If somebody reports your email as being spam, it’s very likely that your provider will run the ratio of your open rate. So, really honing in on your active subscribers is key.

Number SIX: Stay on course with your brand. If somebody opted into your email list in expectation of receiving certain types of information, and then you start sending something completely unrelated, which they did not request, they will un-subscribe. You will likely be reported for spam. Most importantly, you lose your integrity. If you want people to opt into another list, you can do that, but you need to specifically invite them to do so.

Number SEVEN: Be honest in your headers (subject line). Don’t try to trick people to open up your email based on your header. Be creative, yes, but don’t trick them.

Number EIGHT: Use a verifiable IP address as your return email address. This way, if people would like to reply, they can! Your email is legitimate.

Number NINE: Don’t include a disclaimer that your email isn’t spam. This is ironically funny because if you include some sort of disclaimer that your email is not spam… it is kind of a red flag that your email probably is spam!

Number TEN: Space your paragraphs conversationally. There is a way we normally write a paragraph when composing an email to our friends – long and continuous. But it has become kind of a best practice, lately, to write emails with very narrow paragraphs. For example, you hit return after every 5 or 6 words! We do this because it reads very easily on just about any mobile device.

That’s my recommendation to you. Let me know in the comments if you found it of use! And I’d love to know your tips for avoiding the petrifying spam folder!


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