Guest post: How retailers can avoid the dreaded spam box over Christmas

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Paul Ford, VP of Product & Marketing at SendGrid, advises retailers on how to avoid the spam box over Christmas

Paul Ford

It’s a no-brainer that a successful email marketing campaign can go a long way towards boosting sales over the Christmas period. Via email, retailers can showcase new products, promote an unmissable deal and re-engage customers that haven’t bought anything in a while. However, these campaigns can only be successful if they reach the inbox, and this should be a major concern for retailers, as a staggering 20% of legitimate marketing email heads straight to the spam box.

Forrester predicts that by the end of 2014, $144m will be spent on marketing email that never gets delivered. To avoid a needless loss of revenue in the run up to Christmas, businesses should follow some essential steps to ensure that their Christmas marketing campaigns reach the inbox.

Firstly, email providers will often automatically filter out messages that contain common phishing phrases in the subject line and body of email like “please verify your account” and “dear valued customer”, so it’s important to avoid these.

When it comes to formatting your email, it’s important to carefully consider the ratio of text to images. As a rule of thumb, it’s always sensible to include at least two lines of text per image.

In addition, for any HTML email campaigns, be sure to include a plain text version, as without this, your email is likely to hit the spam trap.

In an age where an increasing proportion of recipients open their email on smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop, it’s important to make sure that you email is optimised for different devices by using responsive design templates.

Finally, take care when including attachments. Large attachments should be avoided, as should certain file types. Attachments such as .jpg, .gif, .png and.pdf are all considered safe to send, however, executable attachments, such as .exe, .zip, and .swf, should be omitted entirely.

These steps should be followed in conjunction with targeted, relevant content. If email hits the spam box, it translates to lost customers, lost opportunities and lost revenue. The overarching strategy of any campaign should be to send the right email to the right person at the right time.

2 Responses

  1. Good bird’s eye view of the deliverability landscape but, surprisingly, the critical piece of the puzzle is missing. The most important factor affecting inbox delivery, or any email delivery for that matter, is the cleanliness of the underlying list. If marketers want to avoid the spam box, optimize their deliverability, and drive the most revenues, they need to clean, correct, and validate the deliverability of their email addresses BEFORE entering them into their marketing databases.
    Fortunately, sophisticated service providers can catch and correct problematic addresses in real-time (for websites, POS systems, etc.), automated batch 24×7 (for daily or periodic hygiene), or full service modes (for existing databases) to ensure your email communications stay off the radar of Spamhaus and the many other spam-filtering organizations. Without the proper email hygiene, correction, and validation processes in place, marketers will continue to struggle with their customers’ spam folders and, worse yet, risk being blacklisted, which will bring one’s entire email marketing program to a grinding halt.

  2. Hi,

    MailShark provides a Free Cloud-based Email filtering service.

    Many Marketing emails get filtered through MailShark and yes, many are caught as Spam due to the various detection techniques used within the environment.

    To avoid the struggle of Marketers and spam folders, as commented above by Jon, it would seem Marketers would want to know if their Marketing emails would get caught in Email filters before they actually send them to their “general client community”?

    If this is the case, we could potentially setup an environment which would allow Marketers to send through their Marketing emails to a specific email address which MailShark filters for, and see if MailShark picks up their marketing emails as Spam, and why?

    If this service would interest marketers, please let us know either via this comments section or via our Website and maybe we could trial a solution to assist here.


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