Getting out of spam box and into the safe haven of inbox, is more of a good practice, patience and implementation than it is rocket science.

Good Practice:

Spam Scoring:

Every ESP (email service provider) have integrated spam scoring services that scan your emails before they deliver them to their end users. They look for spam keywords such as “Lottery”, “Medication”, “Rolex Replicas”, as well as other variable such as public spam databases and blacklists to judge if you are fit for I- Delivery vs Rejection II- Inbox vs Spam/Junk vs Promotions tab. Vbout uses SpamAssassin service to score your email content and give you a ‘general’ benchmark on how your keywords are being scored.

Forcing the Unsubscribe Link on all Your Campaigns:

Giving your users the option to opt-out of receiving emails from you is a good practice that helps deliverability. Most email marketing services let you insert unsubscribe links inside your campaigns so users can click them if they want to opt-out from future mailing from your company. Vbout checks if you have included this link in your templates, if not, we automatically force it at the footer of the email. This rule is to be applied to Email Automation (drip emails) similarly to traditional email campaigns.

Shorter Subject Lines and Email Content:

Keeping your content short and sweet helps your open rate and email engagement. For subject lines, it is recommended to keep them under 50 characters to avoid your message getting cut off by email clients. For email body/content, you should consider the following variables:

  1. Content Size: according to Email on Acid, keeping your content size below 100kb has shown higher deliverability with ESPs.
  2. Images and Media: Keep your images hosted on your servers and avoid attaching media to your emails. Also make sure your images are optimized for web so loading time of your email does not take long, which will cause your users to exit your message.
  3. Email Clipping: Many email clients, web and mobile, automatically clip your email content and only show above the fold copy opting the user with a button to read the full email. Try to fit your most important content and Call to Actions at the top of your email (above the clipping fold). This will ultimately enhance your Click-Through rate and email engagement.

Add Relevant Company Information to Footer:

According to CAN-SPAM ACT, when sending B2B email promotions, you have to include details about your company, such as address and phone, in order to be compliant. Failure to do that might result in a fine. Vbout provides shortcodes to your company information for easy insertion inside your campaigns.

Maintaining a Good List Hygiene:

How you deal with emails that bounce, complain or unsubscribe, is super important in establishing good reputation with ESP’s. Good email marketing providers should take care of list hygiene on your behalf. Here is how we manage this process at Vbout:

  1. Unsubscribed Emails: When someone opt-out from receiving further mailing from you, we unsubscribe them from that email list so they won’t receive further emails from you.
  2. Bounced Emails: We compiled a list of different types of bounce codes returned by the recipient’s servers. In a nutshell, there are 2 different email bounce types, Soft Bounces (inbox is temporarily unavailable, try back later) and Hard Bounce (inbox does or cannot receive your messages). For hard bounces, we automatically unsubscribe emails from your list to not receive further campaigns from you. For soft bounces, we keep the contact active for up to 3 campaigns, if the issue persists, we graduate these emails to hard bounce.
  3. Complaints: Some users might for some reason wish to complain that your email is spam. When a complaint is made, we track this action and automatically unsubscribe users from your sending list.
  4. Suppression List: Active marketers update their contact lists often, this might cause overlap or override for those who unsubscribed in the past. Suppression list is a way to prevent this error by creating a list of users who will never receive emails from you. Vbout’s suppression list unsubscribes contacts as follows: I- If you mass import them from an excel file or Salesforce or other supported CRM. II- If they are on multiple lists already. If a Suppression List user optin in the future via a landing page, or you manually changed their status, they will become active again on that particular list.

Single vs Double-Optin:

Permission is the key to success for any marketing campaign. When a user requests updates or information from you, he is automatically a qualified top of the funnel lead. Double optin increases your chances of users whitelisting you, because they have to click and confirm a link to become active. Single optin however requires less work from the user’s side which can increase the number of subscribed users. There is a simple trick to merge both methods, by doing a single optin form with automation, that sends an options confirmation link email to be clicked. Once the user clicks on the link, you can move them to another list called “Duplicate Confirmed”, using the Vbout automation engine. When you send an email to users, you can target both lists and you will probably notice that the the latter will get higher open rate than the first.

Never Mass Email, Cold Purchased Email Lists:

Cold lists are pricey, contain a lot of wrong email data and will risk getting your business blacklisted and even sued. Unless you get the user’s permission to receive emails from you, do not include them in your mass mailing. There are other ways to safely get into someone’s inbox, by using white-label techniques like Linkedin approach, submitting a request through website contact form or social media tagging.

Avoid Sending from Generic Emails:

Most spammer use generic company emails, ex: info@, webmaster@, sales@, support@, admin@, etc… Avoid sending emails from these inbox users and instead use a personal email, like your-name@ to differentiate yourself and try to show legitimacy. If you are concerned about reply backs you can always setup the right email reply to, differently from your sender’s email.

The Technical Jargon - As Google Explains it:

When you send an email campaign, certain magic happens in the background to authenticate your sending server credentials, against your domain DNS. If things are not matching, your deliverability will be affected. Imagine someone sending spam email from your email, using their own servers. To properly setup your DNS and verify it is a legit sender, you have to configure your SPF and DKIM record on the Domain level.

SPF record is a type of Domain Name Service (DNS) record that identifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. The purpose of an SPF record is to prevent spammers from sending messages with forged From addresses at your domain. Read more about SPF Project

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is an important authentication mechanism to help protect both email receivers and email senders from forged and phishing email. Forged email is a serious threat to all parties in an email exchange. Read more about DKIM

DMARC, which stands for “Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance”, is an email authentication protocol. It builds on the widely deployed SPF and DKIM protocols, adding a reporting function that allows senders and receivers to improve and monitor protection of the domain from fraudulent email. Read more about DMARC.

IP Warmup is the mechanism by which you increase the sending volume of your emails, over a certain period of time, so that your dedicated ip gains a good reputation amongst ESP like Gmail, Yahoo, etc…

According to SparkPost, the chart below summarizes successful IP warming procedure: