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How to Sidestep the Spam Folder in Your Email Marketing

by Elizabeth Victor  |  
October 29, 2015
  |  3,039 views

Spam is the scourge of the Internet. From phishing messages to malicious attachments and links to viruses, spam affects billions of email users each year. Although spam messages are at a 12-year low, nearly half of email sent is spam.

If you're running an email marketing campaign, and your emails are mistakenly flagged as spam, you'll lose conversions as well as revenue.

This article will outline how a small business or email marketer can avoid the spam folder by following the CAN-SPAM law, using email best-practices, and testing regularly.

Follow the law

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 protects consumers from common spamming practices by fining violators up to $11,000 for each email address violated, along with criminal prosecution. It requires that emailers avoid using deceptive headers, subject lines, and reply-to addresses. It also requires that the sender provide a physical address in emails and include an unsubscribe link that's valid for at least 30 days.


If you're working with a reputable email service provider (ESP), following the major provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act is easy because your ESP will have checks in place to avoid violations. (For example, Mailchimp will not allow you to send any emails unless you have filled in a physical mailing address.)

Require double opt-in

The best way to stay out of the spam folder is to make sure you're sending mail to people who actually want it.


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Elizabeth Victor is brand adviser for Isentia, a media monitoring, analysis, and intelligence company.

Twitter: @evictorisentia

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  • by Joel Thu Oct 29, 2015 via web

    These are great suggestions. Regarding "Spammy copy," I hear this notion is 100% outdated; yes, inbox providers like Gmail long ago looked or spam words, but (1) Spammers caught on and stopped using them, and (2) Gmail and peers got way more sophisticated, and instead rely on sender reputation and their observations of how users do/don't engage with a sender's emails. TL;DR, so long as your emails are relevant to recipients, you can say FREE IPHONE!!!!! all day long. (Though such a message is rarely relevant.)

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