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Due to a long tradition of email spam, customers are wary to give out their information online, or even to open commercial emails. While email marketing can be very profitable for businesses to reach new customers, you should be aware of behaviors that, while technically ethical, can be off-putting to customers. Read these tips to be sure your message reaches your customer, instead of getting emails sent to the spam folder.
1. Don’t ask for personal information in email.
This can be off-putting to customers because many scammers do this, and because email doesn’t have proper encryption protocols to keep their information safe.
Instead, conduct all transactions on your website, and collect information via webforms. Built customer profiles by integrating your social media with your email database, so you know the people who Like you on Facebook.
2. Honor all unsubscribe requests.
Place a clear unsubscribe link at the top of every email. The spam button in email is easy and visible, while a hidden or nonexistent unsubscribe link is irritating and leads to readers hitting the spam button instead.
Make sure you pick a reputable, affordable ESP like Mission Suite that promptly responds to all unsubscribe requests.
3. Avoid using the most common spam trigger words in your subject header or body.
Some of these phrases are impossible to avoid, like “click to unsubscribe,” but try alternate wording and use the words as little as possible.
Whether you are marked as a spammer is determined by a score from your email provider or the recipients’ email providers. The exact algorithm is secret, but they look for mass-sent emails that talk about money, claim a breakthrough or urgency, and use poor grammar. Your ESP also marks you poorly if you develop a history of low open rates.
You can keep off the spam radar by never buying email lists, write high-quality emails, maintain your email list and periodically remove low-activity emails, and do split-list tests to find out what your customers want to read.
4. Check your tone.
Excessive exclamation points. Big, suspicious promises. All caps, erratic emphasis. These shaky, unprofessional formatting errors tip off readers that the email has come from a spammer.
Instead, use text decoration that set out important phrases and make text more scannable sparingly. Be consistant: if you use the same color for all boldface, emphasized words and only one size font, your format looks planned and specific. And there is never a reason for more than one exclamation point. Ever.
5. Use HTML and CSS carefully.
Copy/pasting from Microsoft Word adds a ton of junk code that can easily break your HTML. If you must write your ad copy in Word, copy/paste your text into Notepad and then bring it into your ESP email editor. Do your formatting in a WYSIWYG HTML editor, not a word processor.
You can’t use the head or body tag in email or CSS external style sheets. For CSS, you have to use inline text formatting tags. If you want to use a two column format or other placement tricks, use nested HTML (not CSS) tables. Validate your code before you send, and test it before you email it to customers.