Around 60% of marketers say that inbound marketing (SEO, blog content) represents their highest quality source of leads. However, this does not mean that outbound marketing, like email marketing, is a dead end. At least one study suggests that email marketing can be 40 times more effective than social media advertising.
But email marketing is only as effective as its reach. If your marketing emails end up in the user’s spam folder or, worse yet, are reported to ISPs and email filtering services as spam, your marketing email will never reach customers.
This gets at a fundamental tradeoff between email marketing services and SEO services. Emails reach out and find customers. SEO lays in wait so customers can find you.
Making sure your emails reach customers means staying out of the spam folder. Here are three considerations for designing marketing emails with your email marketing agency.
Most ISPs and email clients perform some amount of spam filtering. The techniques used to identify spam often rely on technical checks of the email header to determine if the email has the characteristics of spam. Two of these checks include:
- SPF-record: The SPF-record is a list of emails authorized to send from your domain. If an email passes through an email server with a “from” address of firstname.lastname@example.org, the email server can check to see if email@example.com is allowed to send emails from company.com. This prevents spammers from sending out emails with forged “from” addresses to avoid having their real email addresses banned.
- DKIM-signature: The DKIM-signature includes a hash value encrypted with a domain’s private key. ISPs verify the authenticity of emails by using a domain’s public key to decrypt the hash value. If the public key does not decrypt the hash value, the email server identifies the email as spam.
To avoid these filters, your email marketing services provider must send the emails from an email address that matches the SPF-record for your domain. The emails must also have a valid DKIM-signature. Your email marketing services provider can run a check on your marketing emails to make sure they pass these checks.
The body of the email will be scanned by the user’s email client. This software will typically look for specific words or phrases to identify spam. For example:
- Unsubscribe link: If the body of your marketing email does not include an unsubscribe link, email clients will probably classify it as spam.
- Subject line: Email clients will use spammy words in the subject line or the body to classify your email as spam.
- Plain-text version: Your email should include a plain-text version, so it displays correctly in non-HTML email clients. Email clients use the lack of a plain-text version as a sign of spam.
If you have used the “this is spam” menu option as you clean out your inbox, you have participated in a feedback program used by email providers to help identify spam. When someone reports your marketing emails as spam, your future emails are more likely to receive automatic filtering.
Different recipients use different measures of “spam.”
- Frequency: If your email marketing services provider sends emails too frequently, some of your recipients might report you as “spam” even though the emails are legitimate marketing efforts for your business.
- Value: If your emails lack substance and seem to act merely as “touches” rather than communication, some of your recipients might report them as spam.
- Content: If your emails are too long or hide the unsubscribe link, some recipients will report it as spam instead of scrolling through the email to find the link.
Mounting an effective email marketing campaign requires careful consideration of your email content. Working with an email marketing Dallas agency can help you find a formula that works for your email marketing efforts.