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How to Stay Out of the Spam Folder

Why you Need to Stay Out of the Spam Folder

You worked for hours to create a beautiful newsletter to email to all your clients. You provided intriguing content that would lure readers to follow links or click some sort of call to action, and were careful to avoid all the “spamy” words like free or offer. You hit send and watched eagerly for results.

One problem, no one is opening the damn thing. The ones that do open it are taking action and you are seeing great click through rates like 15, 30, or hell 40%, but your open rate is floating around 10%. But Why? You avoided all the normal stuff anti-spam platforms like SpamAssassin look for: high image to text ratios, images without alt tags, broken links etc, so what the hell is problem?

Chances are, unless you suck writing subject lines, there is something going on behind the scenes that is causing your email to end up in the spam folder. Here are the most common reasons why your getting tossed aside as spam if you are not violating SpamAssassin or other anti-spam platforms.

DomainKeys Identified Mail aka DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) vouches for an email message by allowing senders to associate a domain name with the message.

DKIM does not filter your email or analyze your content, subject, or any other content related pieces. Instead, DKIM uses a signature generated by the mail transfer agent (MTA) embedded into your messages header. This signature contains a hash value that is verified by by the recipient MTA by confirming it through the domains DNS.

In short DKIM verifies that if an email is sent from “bob@example.com” that it actually came from “example.com.”

Here is great info graphic from the SparkPost Blog

DKIM Infographic

Sender ID

Sender ID authentication is similar to DKIM in that its purpose is to cut down on spoofing and phishing by verifying the domain name that an email was sent from. It does this by verifying the IP address of the sender against the alleged owner of the sending domain.

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So whats the problem? I’m not phishing for personal information and I most certainly own my domain, so these issues couldn’t be affecting me! Wrong. If you using a email sending service like Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, Hatchbuck, etc then your emails could become victim to these two spam flags.

How to check if your Emails are going to the Spam Folder

There are several great tools out there for verifying that your content and subject line will pass a spam test, but if you want to eliminate all possibility that your email will make it to your client you are going to need a more in depth tool.

For the best spam checks, analytical, and browser optimizations Email on Acid and Litmus take the cake. Keep in mind these aren’t sending services. They simply provide tools to optimize your emails to stay out the spam folder, browser optimizations, analytics, and the like.

The down side to Email on Acid and Litmus is that they can be pricey for small businesses and individuals. You will be spending around $400 a year for Email on Acid and $700+ a year for Litmus. So, unless you are sending out a lot of emails it may not be the best use of cash on tight budget. Fortunately for you, there is a free tool that can give you an in depth insight to your email and point you in the right direction to take action. Keep in mind its free, so it doesn’t do much other than tell you whats wrong with your email. You will have to fix the issues on your own.

Email Tester from MailPoet gives you great insight at sorts of great stuff that can keep you out of the spam folder. It will check your email against SpamAssassin, compare it to 24 email blacklist, SPF, and most importantly DKIM, and Sender Id.

Thad Warren
Internet Wizard
Digital marketer, computer nerd, and car guy. Currently a Marketing Manager, and freelance web developer. Previously an eCommerce director, and social media manager.
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