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Win The Inbox

How many times have you deleted unread emails from your inbox? Chances are, they were what anyone would call “generic” or even “spammy.” To you, the receiver of the email, it probably did not have anything of value to you. In fact, it is likely that you don’t have any sort of connection or relationship with the sender. What about those emails that you constantly click to open? What’s the deal there? Well, it’s the opposite – you see value in those emails. Also, you probably have a kind of relationship with the sender of those emails. As an email marketer, you obviously want to be a part of the latter outcome.

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When sending out marketing emails, the same concept applies to your subscriber list. Those subscribers who do not open your emails (and probably delete them as well) don’t see your emails as having value. They probably don’t have feel a customer relationship with you. However, the subscribers who do open and perhaps respond to your emails are the opposite; they might even buy from your business again!

It is important to understand that each of these outcomes are a result of the customer relationships you have built – or not built – with your subscriber list. It is just as important to understand that it is not too late to utilize ways to build those critical relationships via email.

Why are your emails going to spam?

Spam filters look into many aspects of your emails to determine if they’re worthy to take up space in an inbox or not.

If spam filters didn’t exist, your emails would get lost in a flood of email fluff, for lack of a better word.

As a result, ESPs set up their own personalized criteria to filter and sort through all of the necessary, and unnecessary, content.

Here are some reasons why your emails could be getting lost into the black hole of email spam:

You don’t have permission

Subscribing to an email list is basically the permission slip the company receives to send their content to your inbox. If your company is sending email content to those that never opted-in, your emails could be on the fast track to the spam folder.

According to the CAN-SPAM Act, it is required to obtain your user’s permission. If you want to take all of the necessary steps to avoid spam folders, be sure to implement the correct opt-in steps to obtain your audience’s permission.

You didn’t include your physical address.

Another important step instilled by the CAN-SPAM Act is the requirement to include your physical address in all of your email campaigns. And, let’s be honest, if you’re a business—a valid address makes your business look more credible.

Emails that fail to include their physical address will force spam filters to send your content to the spam folder.

If you work out of your home and don’t feel comfortable putting that information out there, you can acquire a P.O. box and include that address instead.

You have low open rates.

Increasing your open rate is always a top priority and the most difficult to achieve, but it’s not impossible.

Emails that have a consistently low open rate will eventually be flagged as spam. But, the control lies within your user and you can’t force them to open your emails.

So, what do you do?

Make sure you’re staying on top of who your audience is so that you can evolve your content as they evolve themselves. Maintaining a thorough understanding of your users allows you to create valuable content for them.

More importantly, you can perfect the timing of your emails.

What time of day are your users diving into their email and sorting through their inbox? How often do they like to hear from your company? Figure out how you can manage the timing of your drip email marketing campaigns to encourage a higher open rate.

Your subject line looks suspect.

It’s no longer true that spam filters flag certain words (like “free” or “winner”) to determine if your email is junk.

However, they do use engagement metrics to identify whether or not an email is spam—and if your subject line looks suspect, your subscribers aren’t likely to engage. Over time, that will have an adverse effect on your open rates and decrease the likelihood of landing in your user’s inbox over time.

When creating your subject lines, don’t format them in ALL CAPS and avoid the overuse of punctuation (!!!!!!). If you have no idea what I’m talking about—take a peek at your spam folder and you’ll see exactly what I’m referring to. Again, it’s all about increasing engagement because email providers use that data to determine whether or not your email is spam.

The takeaway? Make sure your subject line looks like it was written by humans, for humans, and has a compelling and relevant offer that compels the recipient to open it.

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Jason Bucowski