A common question I hear is ‘will my emails go into junk boxes?’
Well, for sale if you fill them with junk then I’d hope so! Junk filters exist to make our lives easier, protect our computers and weed out malevolent or inappropriate content. However, sometimes perfectly innocent and relevant emails get caught up by the algorithms that decide what’s groovy and what’s not and it can be for all manner of unexpected reasons.
Here’s an example: Say you’ve created an email campaign about a brand new product, a product that’s taken years of development and significant investment to get to this stage. When you’re broadcasting the good news to your clients you NEED to be sure that they receive it without complication, so you do your best to keep the email tidy, succinct and clean. But it hits your junk box.
At this stage, there are a number of obvious things you can check for first including:
- Profanity (even innocent words that can potentially be taken the wrong way)
- Excessive use of exclamation points or other punctuation
- Lots of different sizes and colours in your copy
- Oversized or excessive numbers of images
- Hyperlinks to suspicious sites
- Suspect/’salesy’ subject lines
A single, strong instance of any one of the above could be the sole cause of your problem, and should be relatively easy to spot. Unfortunately, in the real world it’s the combined effect of minor SpamBugs here and there (which on their own wouldn’t cause any problems) that causes junking and which therefore makes the testing process ESSENTIAL.
A number of 3rd party programs/services are available that can ‘rate’ your email for you, giving you an idea of how spammy it’s going to look to various different inboxes. These are fine, but should only be used as a starting point in my experience. We have a mantra here – “TEST, TEST and TEST again” – because there is no substitute. Best practice dictates that you take extra steps to ensure that you’ve done a good job, the right way. I advise you to spend a few minutes visiting major web based email services like Gmail and Hotmail and opening free ‘emailtest@’ accounts; you will find it makes a world of difference to your campaign creation process, and ultimately the results you might achieve.
- Create the email
- Send a test to multiple inboxes
- Amend and repeat if necessary