CommuniGator. Avoiding spam filters

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1 CommuniGator Avoiding spam filters

2 How to dodge the junk box; deliverability and avoiding spam filters marketers often have more to battle with than just creating an and sending it to their audience. Before your can have an impact on any human being, it has to overcome the large hurdle of being delivered in the first place. Unfortunately, 10-12% of the s you send will disappear into cyberspace due to very robust, automated technologies in place to prevent anything inappropriate reaching an inbox. There re two major hurdles when trying to get your into the appropriate inbox; the first getting it delivered and the second getting it through the spam filter. Deliverability deliverability failure is when instead of your message arriving in the inbox it is routed to the junk folder, or even blocked by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). We have some tried and tested techniques to keep failures to an absolute minimum, in the long run they ll also improve your deliverability rates. The steps you ll need to take are (don t worry we ll go into more detail in a sec): Building a respectable reputation Secure your infrastructure Authenticate your streams Monitor the s you send Send great content 2 Avoiding spam filters

3 Reputation Your reputation is built up over time, those with a respectable reputation will have their land in the inbox, whereas those with a bad reputation will have their s blocked and land in the junk folder. Your sending reputation is built according to a set of metrics directly related to your sending habits. The metrics include: Format, keep your s regular and properly formatted Ultimately what you send is the basis of getting your s delivered, following best practices, and sending good s will build you a great reputation. Things to consider are; including a clear opt-in during the subscription process, be sure to send interesting and appropriate content to keep receivers engaged in your content, finally ensure your s have correctly formatted HTML coding, dodgy coding won t render properly. Volume, keep the volume you send consistent How many s do you send? High volume senders tend attract attention to themselves, especially when sending is inconsistent and all over the place. Ensure you send roughly the same number of s a week/ month, it ll build your reputation, and is a key regard for ISPs. Keep the bounce rate low There are two types of bounces; hard bounces occur when you send to an account that is no longer active, where as a soft bounce is when you send to an account that is temporarily inactive (out of offices, or full). When you get a lot of bounces it indicates a lack of engagement with your s and can land you a bad reputation, also implying your sender lists do not meet industry standards. Try removing addresses that hard bounce from receiving future communications. Keep blacklist appearances to a minimum If you re sending good content, on a regular basis and receive minimal complaints, blacklists shouldn t be something you need to worry about. If you do land up being blacklisted it will make sending very difficult, and you ll be blocked by many ISPs. Keep your complaints low Do many of your subscribers mark your s as junk or spam? Complaints can lead to your s being blocked, keeping your level of complaints to a minimum is essential to building a glowing reputation. CommuniGator Ltd 3

4 Infrastructure When you re sending large volumes of s it s really important you have and maintain the right infrastructure to support it, which in its self can be complex, challenging, and costly. There are a few ways to take care of this, either by bringing on devoted employees who know the details of to monitor your program, or you can turn to an Service Provider such as CommuniGator who provide everything you need to create and send successful campaigns. Best practice hints and tips Make sure you re using an IP address which is solely dedicated to you when you re sharing an IP with other senders their activity and status is highly likely to affect your deliverability. At CommuniGator, we provide all our customers with their own sender IP address unique to them to help you avoid running into any sticky situations. Ensure you re mail servers are secure. Follow industry standard best practices by ensuring you don t have an open relay or open proxy, this will keep spammers well clear. Authentication In order for your to arrive safely you need authentication, which is essentially an ID check to ensure you are who you say you are and it s not a spammer interpreting you. Authenticating your s is a step that you can take today take a stand against spammers. There are two methods of authentication that you should ensure to implement, Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Sender Policy Framework (SPF). Luckily if you re a CommuniGator user this is something you don t need to worry about, we ll ensure this is all done for you, handy hey? Best practice hints and tips Use the first few s you send out as a way to identify bounces and likely complainers. This will ensure you are sending to good lists enabling you to gain a good reputation and high delivery rates. Use preference centres, although you may have lots you want to send out not everyone will want to receive all of it. A preference centre will allow people to request only to receive certain sends, they could also specify how often they d like to receive them. Great for decreasing the number of unsubscribes you get! 4 Avoiding spam filters

5 Spam filters As Spam is such a widespread issue, there is inevitably some collateral damage whereby legitimate s get caught in Spam filters. Sadly, there s not an easy way around it, don t worry though, in these sections we ll pass on everything we know about those retched spam filters to help you send s that won t get caught. We ll be teaching you: How spam filters work How to avoid spam filters Simple mistakes to avoid It s one of those things that even if you re sending perfectly safe and engaging content, your may still send up trapped in a filter. However, with a greater understanding of the spam world you ll have a greater chance of staying out of trouble. How spam filters work Spam filters are very basic in some respects. They algorithmically examine designs for things that are programmed to give you a Spam score. It is rare that one single thing will put you in the Spam folder, but a combination of seemingly innocuous things can get you in trouble quicker than you think! Spam filters look at your and scores it according to certain criteria, if the accumulated score exceeds the threshold then your will be blocked. Unfortunately, the criteria and the score associated is always changing, however, as a general rule of thumb anything over a score of 4.5 will not be delivered. Some high scoring phrases: Unsubscribe (1 point) try please remove me from your mailing list Dear (1.6 points try Hi or Hello Money back guarantee (2.05 points) Christmas (1.8 points) leading to December 25th Spam filters sync up and communicate together, so the words that score more highly is constantly growing and adapting, the spam filters learn more about junk every day. Seasonal and topical phrases can get you into trouble if your usage coincides with widespread Spamming and Phishing campaigns. CommuniGator Ltd 5

6 Simple mistakes to avoid Although we can t wave our magic wand to make all your s avoid the spam filter, we can share with you what we have learnt over the years we ve been designing and sending s. Here are some simple mistakes that can easily be avoided; Red alert Spam filters think that Spammers use red (or specifically #FF0000) so if you use this colour excessively in your design, you could be in trouble. Oh dear The worst word to a Spam Filter is Dear! Combine it with something like Dear Business Owner and you re in serious trouble. Normal s start with Hi or just the name, so if you are using personalisation, keep it informal. CAPS LOCK LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF YOUR VOICE AND IS SOMETHING SPAMMERS OFTEN DO. Don t send bulk s from your corporate server If you received complaints about bulk that you had sent in this way, you could find your ability to send normal compromised. CommuniGator has specific infrastructure and processes in place to protect you from unfair complaints.!!!!!!!!! Going nuts with exclamation marks!!!!! So can I check my before I send it? GatorMail has a handy tool that will check your spam score before you send your ; this give you the opportunity to go back and re-evaluate if you have scored particularly highly. It tells you your score, and what is likely to happen to your depending on what you scored. For example, if you score your is nice and clean, there are no problems; no action is required. Our Advanced Inbox Checker tool shows how your will display across 42 different devices and clients. It sends a copy of your to all the major SPAM filtration services including MessageLabs, Spam Assassin and Barracuda whilst also carrying out a range checks against the more technical aspects of deliverability including DKIM verification and SPF records. It collates a report back on whether or not each filter would pass or fail your on real sending. You will receive specific details of what some Spam filters gave as the reason for failing your , so that you can take action to change things before initiating your campaign. 6 Avoiding spam filters

7 Best practice hints and tips Include a text version too Although you may have spent hours making a very pretty HTML , double and triple checked the coding according to best practice guidelines, not all programs support HTML formatted s. Most do, but not all. Including a plain text version of your will not only help you avoid the spam filter but also mean that those who don t receive the HTML version will still receive something. Gain permission Seth Godin often talks about permission marketing and defines it as the honour to deliver messages to people who would actually like to receive them. You can categorically say you have permission to send people s when those people miss your s when they stop receiving them. The trickiest part of permission marketing is sticking to the promises you make, once they ve subscribed don t change the conditions. It requires a lot of patients, but will pay off in the long run. Use an service provider A lot of what we have talked about in this guide will seem highly daunting, and if you re starting out for the first time, it may seem like a mammoth task. But it doesn t have to be, by investing in an service provider, like CommuniGator, you ll have a helping hand throughout the journey. We can assist you in avoiding spam filters and offer you guidance when it comes to getting your s delivered too! CommuniGator Ltd 7

8 About CommuniGator CommuniGator is one of the leading marketing automation software providers in the UK. Established in 2005, we ve gone through a period of evolution as the marketing landscape has changed. The core platform functionality caters to marketing with automated welcome series, a HTML editor for designing your s, templates, responsive design, dynamic groups based on behaviour, integration with the leading CRM platforms, an event management suite, robust reporting and so the list goes on. On the marketing automation side we re able to track prospect activity across the web pages they visit on your website and the content they consume and take action against. This means you can build up a really detailed profile of who has done what. To read all the juicy details of what the platform offers and how we can help your business jump on over to our website: Give us a call: +44 (0) This document and it s contents are proprietary to CommuniGator or its licensors. No part of this document may be copied, reproduced or transmitted to any third party in any form without CommuniGator s prior written consent. Our products and services include: MarketingAutomation I GatorMail I GatorLeads I GatorEvents I GatorDocs GatorSurvey I GatorSocial I GatorData I CRM Integration I Managed Services

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