Remember the last time you received an email from a business that wasn’t relevant — or just didn’t make any sense to you?
It might have annoyed you to an extent that you immediately marked it as spam, and went about your day — keeping the business from ever sending you emails again.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably inundated with spam emails every day.
Being on the receiving end of spam emails is always annoying.
But hey, if you’re an eCommerce business, you’re probably guilty of doing the same to your customers (without even realizing it).
Today, email marketing is one of the most efficient tools that eCommerce businesses use to grow their revenue.
But, when it comes to bulk emails, you’re always running a risk of spamming folks.
People mark you as spam — and your delivery rates dwindle.
But, above everything, it attracts unwanted social media attention to your brand:
Rather than increasing your website traffic and its conversion rates, you now have to consider some last moment social media crisis management. Besides, you still want your audience to engage with your emails.
This is a waste of time, money, energy, and potential.
So what do you do when you’ve spent time and money, crafted the perfect email copy, only for your recipients to roll their eyes and send it to the bottom of their spam mailbox?
Well, we’ve compiled this guide to help you solve this problem and master the art of sending bulk emails without spamming:
7 possible reasons why your emails are going to spam
Let’s deep dive into the root causes, before we fix the problem.
Here are seven reasons you should look out for:
1. You probably didn’t ask for their permission
If you didn’t ask your recipient for permission before adding them to your email list, they may be unpleasantly surprised when they see your newsletter in their inbox. The next logical step for them might be marking your email as spam.
Most businesses provide a spot for consumers to sign up for emails at the bottom of their website, and they make their request explicit.
Take Macy’s for example:
Macy’s makes it clear that when customers click “Get Started.” They’re signing up to receive emails from the leading department store giant. This prevents customers from being surprised by these emails in their inbox.
2. Your emails could be outdated
Sometimes your email list will have addresses from people who haven’t opened one of your emails in ages. If you continue to send them emails, they may eventually get fed up and mark your emails as spam instead of unsubscribing.
When you have email subscribers who haven’t opened your emails recently, take a page from Fandango’s book and reach out to them one last time:
Crowd Content also makes it easy for people to unsubscribe if they haven’t opened up one of the business’ emails for a while.
This way if they still don’t engage with your emails, you can remove them from your list and decrease the risk that they will mark your email as spam.
3. You could be sending “spam-like” emails
Your bulk emails may not be spam, but if they look spam-ish, they might be marked as spam anyway.
Using words like “free” and “money” and “claim” will be red flags for spam filters as well as the subscribers on your email list.
Take a look at this subject line from the Wichita Eagle, for example:
Try resources like Spam Assassin to make sure that your emails do not seem like spam.
Spam Assassin, and similar resources, will search an email and assign it a score based on how many spam-like features the email contains. If you test your email and your score is high, chances are that spam filters and subscribers have been flagging or blocking your emails.
In that case, this ConvertCart guide will show you a few options that can help you resolve this issue.
4. Is unsubscribing a little difficult?
While it might seem counterintuitive to provide an easy way to unsubscribe from your email list, it will help improve your reputability.
It is far better for your subscribers to unsubscribe from your email list than it is for them to mark your emails as spam, so you should make this as easy as possible.
5. Is your list borrowed?
If your email list is full of addresses that you borrowed or bought, you are risking damaging your reputation, having your emails marked as spam, and even getting blacklisted by reputable email service providers like Gmail. If your email list is not full of organic subscribers, your emails will likely be considered spam or your IP address may even be blacklisted.
6. Too many emails?
Whether you are sending high-quality emails that are thoughtfully crafted or you are over-relying on autoresponder emails, if you send your subscribers a barrage of emails, they will feel like they are being spammed.
7. Not relevant (happens more often than we’d like)
Even if someone eagerly signed up for your emails, they can change their mind and flag your emails as spam if your emails are not relevant.
Are you underdelivering on the promise you made to your email subscribers when they first signed up?
If so, your emails might be moved to the dreaded spam folder of their inbox.
How to send mass emails without spamming
If your eCommerce business is making any of these common mistakes listed above, it’s time to turn things around!
Here are a few ways to keep your emails from ending up in the spam list:
1. Cover your bases with the double opt-in method
25% off your entire store might be enticing enough for you to gather a few email addresses, but it might not be enough to save your emails from the spam folder.
Sometimes people choose to opt-in to your email newsletter just to receive a discount or some other immediate perk. They have no intention of ever reading the content that you plan to send out to your email subscribers.
Using the double opt-in method can help you ensure that the people who sign up for your emails actually want to receive them. This way you reduce the risk of annoying your readers or being marked as spam.
Simply send them an email asking them to confirm whether or not they truly want to subscribe to your email list and you will save yourself a lot of trouble in the future.
Look at the NWSL Shop for example:
2. Avoid “spam-ish” words
Some words will not only trigger spam filters, but they will also present red flags to your email subscribers.
Avoid using these spam-like words and phrases in your mass email subject lines:
- No catch
- Take action now
- Incredible deal
- Shopping spree
- Call now
- Click here
- This isn’t spam
- Please read
- You’ve won
Most email recipients who see these words will automatically mark the email as spam without a second thought.
3. Be transparent
Being honest will take you closer to your customers.
If you set clear expectations from the beginning, your email subscribers won’t feel deceived later on. Let readers know exactly what they should expect when they opt-in to your emails so they can decide whether or not they really want to subscribe.
Are you going to send them news and current events surrounding your industry?
Follow Button Poetry’s lead and let subscribers know:
Are you going to send coupon codes and discounts?
Learn from Hot Topic and share this information with your subscribers:
Consumers value businesses they can trust.
Providing full disclosure about what your subscribers should expect from your emails is a step toward building trust and avoiding the spam folder.
4. Use personalization
If you want to prevent your emails from resembling mass emails or spam, use personalization:
- Use the subscriber’s name in the subject line, like Potbelly Sandwich Shop:
- Recommend products based on your subscriber’s personal preferences or previous shopping habits, like Michael’s:
- Send birthday or anniversary emails, like Finish Line:
When customers feel like your emails are specifically targeted toward them instead of a bulk email, they will be far more likely to open the email and far less likely to consider it a spam email.
Learn more ways to use personalization to help improve your email open rate here.
5. Remember email segmentation is your friend
If your email subject line talks about the perfect warm weather for tackling the snow, your readers in warmer states will not be interested and they might feel like your emails are not worthwhile.
Segment your email lists so that your content is always relevant for your readers. This way, even if they are not interested, they will not mark it as spam.
Groupon does this well, using location among other factors to send specific experiences and recommend deals to their subscribers:
6. Add value!
Put as much effort into your emails as you put into everything else you create for your business.
When it comes to crafting emails, keep REV in mind:
When your emails are relevant, engaging, and valuable, your open rate will increase and fewer people will mark your emails as spam.
Think about the emails you would typically mark as spam. They’re usually uninteresting, boring, irrelevant, or pushy.
Make sure that the bulk emails you create don’t share these attributes!
7. Stand out
If your email subscribers are seeing the same type of content from the other businesses where they receive emails, your content won’t stand out, and they might think they are being spammed.
Do everything you can to make sure your email stands out in your subscribers’ inboxes:
- Don’t be afraid to use emojis, like Hope Outfitters
- Be personable, like Kanile’a Ukulele
Taking the time to make your emails unique will pay off when your open rate increases and your brand’s reputation improves.
8. Use strong subject lines
According to HubSpot, 69% of email users report email as spam solely based on the subject line.
It’s important to write subject lines that aren’t clickbait and to write emails that deliver what the subject line promises.
Here are a few ways you can write compelling subject lines:
- Conduct keyword research to see which words perform well with your target audience
- Make it personal!
- Keep it simple, short, and sweet
- Let readers know what’s inside your email
- Use actionable verbs
- Avoid using all-caps
- Don’t be afraid to use humor
- Create a sense of urgency and importance
An email with the subject line “Hannah, cozy up to our Holiday Gift Guide,” for example, is warm, personal, and lets the subscriber know exactly what she is going to see when she opens the email as opposed to an email that has the subject line “Thank you” or “The holidays are approaching.”
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9. Make unsubscribing a breeze
If your readers have to jump through hoops to unsubscribe from your email list, they might opt to mark your emails as spam instead.
This can be detrimental to your business. The more frequently your emails are marked as spam, the less reputable your brand will become. Eventually, your emails might start being blacklisted by Hotmail, Gmail, and other email service providers.
Make it simple for subscribers to opt-out of your marketing emails, like in the samples below.
With easy steps like these, any email subscribers that do not want to receive your emails anymore can just click a link to unsubscribe rather than choosing to flag your emails as spam.
11. Avoid links and attachments
Instead of using links, which spammers often use to mislead readers, use a clear call-to-action button.
Take BarkBox, for example, which includes strong call-to-action buttons in their emails:
Instead of clicking a link to shop for cold weather MLS gear, shoppers can click on the button, which will not only make it easier for them to convert, but it will also prevent the email from being flagged by spam filters.
Rather than sending an attachment to an e-book or a shopping guide or using a link to promote your products, include a call-to-action button that sends them to a website presenting this information.
12. Don’t be afraid to send plain-text emails
While HTML emails might be easier to create, many spam filters and organizations like to see plain-text versions of these emails, too.
Plain-text emails are less likely to be spam, so they can easily pass through spam filters, unlike HTML emails which are flagged rather frequently.
When you work with an email marketing company, they can help you create plain-text emails that will bypass most spam filters and encourage subscribers to read them.\
Because plain-text emails do not use images and other HTML features, you will need to make sure your content is especially compelling.
Take Red Lobster and Adidas for example:
13. Clean your subscriber lists
If you have inactive users or duplicate contacts on your email list, it will be bad for your open rate and your brand’s reputability.
Take some time to clean your subscriber lists:
- Check for typos like email addresses ending in @gmil.com
- Delete duplicate contacts
- Scrub addresses that haven’t opened your emails in years
This will help your email marketing campaigns run more successfully and prevent people who never open your emails from deciding to mark them as spam.
14. Monitor your engagement
Along the same lines, it is important to monitor your engagement and stay abreast of your key analytics so that you can see whether or not you need to make changes to your email marketing strategy.
Check for low open rates and high unsubscribe rates.
Have low open rates?
Try strengthening your subject lines, stepping up your content, and incorporating personalization. Write the email that you would want to open!
Struggling with high unsubscribe rates?
Make sure your emails are matching expectations, don’t use clickbait titles, and ensure everyone who subscribes double opts-in.
If you stay on top of these metrics, you can help ensure that your sender reputation stays in a good place and prevent people from sending your emails to spam.