You and your staff spent hours following email marketing best practices to create templates for connecting with new parents and your current families. The design looked great, you read over your content for typos and there were cute pictures of kids in your facility. Everything seemed great – until you started talking to parents during evening pick up. None of them saw your email! Why? Because your message got stuck in their spam folder.
It can feel like the end of the world when you hear your carefully-crafted emails aren’t making it to parents’ inboxes. However, when you learn why your emails are going to spam you can also make changes to prevent emails from being marked as spam.
Reason #1: Spammy Words
Email providers like Gmail and Yahoo are smart. They don’t want to put spammy emails in their users’ inboxes. One of the most basic ways they filter out spam is by looking at the words within the email. Using spammy words, symbols and grammar (such as free, $ and !!!) get your emails stuck in spam filters.
How to Fix It: Use professional language and punctuation without typos.
Reason #2: Inactive Addresses
If your email list includes a lot of old email addresses, it’s likely many of them aren’t used anymore. When this happens, your emails to those addresses will be “returned,” which is called a bounce. When you have a high bounce rate, email providers can tell that you aren’t keeping your contact list up-to-date.
How to Fix It: Regularly remove email addresses that are no longer accepting your emails. Providers like MailChimp automatically do this for you.
Reason #3: CAN-SPAM Violations
The CAN-SPAM Act outlines what businesses need to include within promotional emails. This protects consumers, like the potential parents you want to connect with. Email providers want to make sure they’re defending inboxes against CAN-SPAM violators.
How to Fix It: To comply with CAN-SPAM, include a physical address and unsubscribe button within your email.
Reason #4: Attachments
An email attachment from an unknown email address could contain malware. Because of this, email providers will keep emails with attachments from making it to the recipient’s inbox until the sender is recognized as trustworthy.
How to Fix It: Instead of sending mass emails with attachments, include the information parents need on your website.
Reason #5: Just an Image
In the past, it was acceptable to use one big image with words on it in an email. Then, spammers started using this technique to avoid filters that picked up on spammy words. Because of this, email providers now see emails that use just images, without a lot of words, as spam too.
How to Fix It: Use cute images to add to your message, but make sure all the most important points are included in the copy.
Reason #6: A Free Address
Spammers use email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo and other free services. When you’re sharing these free services with spammers, email providers associate your emails with the spammy ones.
How to Fix It: Use an email address that matches your website domain.
Reason #7: Low Open Rates
When your subscribers aren’t opening your emails, it signals to email providers that readers don’t value your messages. Over time, this can affect how many of your emails end up in the spam folder instead of your subscribers’ inboxes.
How to Fix It: Make sure you’re sending emails with a purpose and your subject lines are engaging (without being misleading).
Reason #8: Marked as Spam
Each of the previous reasons are based on an email provider like Gmail or Yahoo guessing which emails are helpful and which are spammy. When you’re marked as spam, it’s a clear signal that a reader doesn’t find your emails helpful. In fact, your email was annoying or confusing!
How to Fix It: Make sure you’re only emailing people who signed up for emails from your center. Make it easy for people to recognize your business with a clear “From” name and logo. Don’t send too frequently.