You’re probably aware of how important email marketing is. If you’re not, then listen up. Email marketing has been around since the 1970s. In that time, it’s seen its share of ups and downs. But it has remained a staple of marketing strategy and digital communications – a wise old head when getting your brand seen.
It would be easy to assume that email marketing is a thing of the past. But when it comes to performance, email marketing often trumps the new kids, like social media, PPC, and SEO. On average, it has a ROI of 4400%. So, there’s no doubt email’s still very much alive and kicking.
With more people working from home, marketers are now spending more time trying to nail their emails. Businesses who recognize this potential are focusing on targeted campaigns. Despite this, many are struggling in this area. But why?
You’ve Ended Up in Spam
Your stellar email sees no response and no engagement whatsoever. That’s because you’ve landed in the dreaded spam box. It’s sad to think your delicately-crafted email has ended up alongside ‘miracle’ treatments and ‘unmissable’ offers. The question is, why?
Even though it’s 2020, spam is still a little bit of a mystery – why some emails end up there is an unknown. New technologies, like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC allow servers to check email authenticity. These are effective. But many well-intentioned emails still fall through the net.
Why are my Emails Going to Spam?
These days, more and more businesses are using spam filters to sift through the junk. These filters search for relevance – content that is genuine and actually useful to the recipient. This is necessary, because spam emails account for 45% of all emails sent.
While these filters are beneficial, they aren’t always 100%. A lot of businesses get caught out by the simplest of mistakes. Like most things in digital marketing, communications, and ecommerce, we have to impress the internet. But how?
In this article, we’ll be looking at the reasons why your emails are wasting away in spam, and how you can fix this.
1. Misleading Subject Lines
Most marketers have done this at some point. There’s a huge emphasis on making your subject line and preview text stand out to grab readers’ attention. Unfortunately, too many stand out for the wrong reasons.
There are ways to communicate with potential customers – trying too hard isn’t one of them. This is no different when it comes to subject lines. Many promise too much and are rarely matched by the email’s content, which doesn’t do you any good down the line.
You may think you’ve found a quirky and ‘out there’ subject line. But if the email fails to meet these expectations, you end up losing that subscriber’s trust. They’ll then be more inclined to mark your emails as spam, which doesn’t do your sender reputation any good. Things like ‘urgent’ and ‘must see!’ are okay, as long as your messages truly are urgent and unmissable.
Grab attention and make your email stand out among the crowd – but be honest and useful. A good example is answering curiosity. Let’s say a communications business specializing in VoIP wants to promote its product via email.
The email may use a subject line such as: What Are the Benefits of Using VoIP? This is an informative and useful piece of content. But does it really inspire subscribers to open and engage with the email? Subscribers need to see value in subject lines – what can your email do for them?
It also remains honest and doesn’t lead the subscriber on – ambitious? Yes. But completely out of touch and unrealistic? No. Your email cannot afford to disappoint the person willing enough to open it. So, don’t set yourself up to fail with extravagant promises. If you’re being bold, be consistent.
You may have built a long list of subscribers via email. Once upon a time, these promised you loyalty and consistent engagement with your business. It’s important, however, to ask yourself, how many of these subscribers are actually still active?
People are already opening emails less and less. Subscribers who no longer need your service – and in many cases see it as annoying – are far more likely to send your emails to the spam scrap heap. All this does is give you a bad email reputation, which filters pick up on. They’ll notice your irrelevance and automatically send your future emails to spam. Even worse, subscribers may block your email.
Reassess your email list. Find out who is engaging with your emails and who no longer is. There’s no point trying to reach out to the wrong people. So, condense your list down to those who matter. Remember, quality over quantity.
3. You’re Making Things Difficult
Businesses put plenty of effort into getting people to subscribe. The issue is, they then make it incredibly difficult to leave. Wait, surely that’s the whole point? Once you get a subscriber, keep hold, and don’t let go?
Avoid this at all costs. If a subscriber wants to leave, they want to leave. Making it harder for them is not going to change their mind. But it will make them frustrated and more likely to mark your email as spam.
Make leaving easy. Ensure that you make saying goodbye as seamless as saying hello. People will be far less likely to mark you down as spam if you help them, ultimately cutting down the number of spam complaints against your brand. You never know, they might even come back after an expertly-crafted follow up email.
4. You’re Missing Out on Whitelist
This is a simple addition that many businesses miss out on. When a subscriber whitelists you, your business is added to their contacts or email address list. You are now in pole position. Emails you send are recognized as relevant and trusted. Say goodbye to spam and hello to the official inbox.
It’s fairly simple. All you have to do is politely ask subscribers to whitelist you. It really is that easy.
5. You Forgot to Focus on ‘From’
Again, this is another case of obsession with the subject line and preview text. When sending business-related emails, a professional email address is a must. Marketers become so focused on the catchy headline, that they lose sight of the most important email feature. In fact, 64% of subscribers say the biggest contributing factor to whether they open an email or not, is who it’s from.
Readers want to read emails from people they trust. Make who your messages are from stand out and appear memorable. But make sure tags are honest and accurate, too. Avoid being too extravagant and stay well away from imitating famous people – in many cases, this is illegal.
Instead, make your ‘from’ tag authentic and trustworthy – a name or business people have faith in and will be happy to open emails from again. If your company specializes in something that may seem alien to some subscribers – like IVR, for instance – try and make it more accessible and human by using first-names. Speak to people via email as you would if you met them in the street. If you do this, your emails have a much better chance of being opened.
If all else fails…
If you’ve tried all of the above and you’ve still had no luck, there are a few other avenues to explore. There’s plenty of software around that you can use to check if your emails pass the test of spam filters, for instance.
Spam has always been an issue for businesses. Despite it being the year 2020, it still poses problems for many marketers. If you’re struggling with spam, it’s sometimes best to get your communications under one roof. A CPaaS cloud-based delivery model is a great way to do this. Such solutions are designed to integrate and improve business communications across all departments.
In the meantime, focus on sharpening your email campaigns. Avoid cliche subject lines and salesy content, believe in quality over quantity when it comes to mail lists, and allow your subscribers to trust the email in front of them. Do all of this, and you’ve got a far better chance of steering clear of spam.
**** This is a guest post from Richard Conn. Richard is the Senior Director, Search Marketing for RingCentral, a global leader in unified communications and VoiP Phone Service provider. He is passionate about connecting businesses and customers and has experience working with Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Experian, Target, Nordstrom, Kayak, Hilton, and Kia. ****