If you’re a Monty Python nerd, you likely remember the first time you busted a gut watching the SPAM skit. It was a strange feeling because while it was hilarious, it was also so extremely annoying. And catchy. To this day, you have the SPAM song running through your head every time you pass this cat-food-in-a-meat-costume in the grocery store.
I for one, always hated the skit much more than the fake meat since my first name is Pamela. You can use your imagination.
Years later, the memorable spoof spawned another meaning of the word “SPAM.” This type of spam is equally annoying and disingenuous. You know the kind. You probably see it every day in your inbox. Some Nigerian prince needs help, or some hot guy or girl is lonely — and lives right in your neighborhood.
While you despise spam, as a marketer of your product or service, you may unintentionally be sending what email considers as spam. Let’s talk about how to avoid this scenario.
Inbound Fundamentals: Let’s Talk About Spam
There are five ways I’ll share with you today about how to avoid being marked as spam. Let’s dive in.
1. Use a CRM
This may seem extremely basic, but there are still a surprising number of business owners who think it’s ok to send mass emails from their hotmail address. It’s not OK.
In fact, it’s against the CAN-SPAM Act. While it may be easy to figure out from a company directory how to email anyone within the firm, you don’t have permission to do so. And sending dozens or hundreds of emails from a personal address is a red flag to your server.
Instead, using a CRM like Infusionsoft or HubSpot, you will be prompted to enter the means by which you obtained permission to send marketing materials to a contact. Thus, it’ll far less likely that you’ll be marked as spam.
2. DON’T USE ALL CAPS
And don’t use weird characters. First of all, you never want to digitally yell at your prospects. Second, all caps and unusual characters are a good tip off that you’re not legit.
3. Don’t Use Flash or Video
Most email servers pick up on that right away. And many email clients aren’t capable of even displaying it, so it’s rather pointless.
Instead, if you have a video to share, include a link to it in your email. You can even include an image with a play button added to it (very simple to create in Canva) so that it’s clear that your contact is about to watch a video. Then link the image to a video on your site or on your YouTube channel.
A word of caution, though. Too many images will also make your email appear spammy. So if you include your video image, make it your only one.
4. Avoid Used Car Salesman Speak
Yes, sometimes words like “Free” or “No-risk” grab attention. However, they can make you sound like a used car salesman. And nobody wants that. Instead, keep your subject line pointed, short, and friendly.
Use your keywords as close to the beginning of your subject line as possible, so that even if it’s cut off, your contact can readily see what your email is about.
5. Send to the Right People
This sort of ties in with the first point about using a CRM, but let’s dig a little deeper.
As a general rule, you never want to send to these people:
- Those whom you don’t have permission to market to
- Those whose emails have bounced many times
- Those who have already opted out of your content
Conversely, these are the people you should include on your email list:
- Those who have reached out to you directly and have given permission for you to send marketing emails
- Those who have provided a valid and verified email address
- Those who have a genuine interest in your product or service
Segmenting your contacts in your CRM will also help you to make sure you’re sending to the right folks. For instance, if you sell pet products and have just released a product for dogs, you may only want to send your email to those contacts who own dogs.
This will help keep your opt out rates down, keep your content relevant, and ensure that contacts aren’t annoyed and end up marking you as spam.
Admittedly, there’s a lot more to running a successful email marketing campaign than what we’ve just discussed here. But, now that you have the SPAM song running through your head, you might not be able to concentrate on anything else. So we’ll leave that for another day.