by Jeanette LeBlanc
Spam: the bane of a small business email marketer’s existence. And even though you’d never send spam or unsolicited emails sometimes your emails get filtered into spam folders anyway. (There are a lot of reasons this could happen. Check our guide to maximizing email delivery for why this happens and how to overcome it.) So there’s a very good chance that you’ve got solid leads out there, leads who actually want to receive your emails, but they’re just not getting them.
No. 5 place to find lost leads: The spam folder
Unfortunately, once your email is lost to spam it’s highly unlikely your lead will ever see it. So, it’s best to focus on staying out of the reach of spam filters in the first place. Here are some handy tips on how to avoid the marketing purgatory known as the spam folder:
1. Words matter
Mentioning large amounts of money, promising huge breakthroughs or free iPads, and any mention of a bank and your ascension to the throne in Nigeria are likely to land you victim to a spam filter. Check your email against a list of common spam alert words and play it safe.
2. Don’t get attached
Keep your content inside your email. Attached files are huge spam warning signs that will keep your email from reaching your lead.
3. Keep it clean
No, we’re not talking about a PG rating; we’re talking about your code. Messages with too many images and overload of links or sloppy HTML coding can bounce you right to email purgatory.
4. Keep an eye on your score
Monitor your reputation by keeping an eye on your sender score. If there are any issues, take care of them immediately. You can check your sender score on senderscore.org.
5. Ask recipients to whitelist you
When a lead joins your list, ask them to add you to as a contact or to add you to their safe sender list (you can even go the extra mile and provide them with complete instructions for their email platform).
Here’s an example of some copy to put in your email:
“To make sure you don’t miss any of our messages, please take a name to add [email protected] to your contact list or safe senders list.”
One thing to take note of: People have a tendency to just click links, so make sure your recipients don't mistakenly think that clicking the link to your email address will complete the whitelisting process.
Getting whitelisted will tell your lead’s email client that they want to hear from you and significantly lower the chances that your email will end up flagged as junk or land in their promotions folder.
No. 6 place to find lost leads: Your spam folder
Likewise, email service providers go to great lengths to filter spam out of your inbox so you can focus on email that matters and don’t ever have to deal with unwanted communications.
Unfortunately, this means that legitimate email occasionally ends up in your junk folder. Most of the time, this may not be a big deal, but if that legitimate email happened to be from a lead that was this close to making a purchase, and you don’t see it for several weeks (or worse, not at all) you may find yourself losing out on a sale.
Response time has a great impact on the likelihood of purchase, so it’s important to take steps to make sure that all-important emails hit your inbox as soon as possible.
How to get your leads out of hiding
As sophisticated as spam filters are today, they still make mistakes. To make sure your leads and client emails do not end up resigned to junk mail purgatory, be sure to follow these practices.
1. Regularly scan your junk folder for legitimate email
Set a repeating calendar event with an alert set to remind you to scan through messages on a regular basis. If you find an email marked spam that should have been in your inbox, make sure to take the appropriate steps to notify your email client that this sender should always be sent to your inbox.
2. Add all leads to your safe sender list
You won’t be able to do this for your entire email list, but if you are communicating personally with a lead, be sure to whitelist each of their email addresses (or even the overall domain of their company) by adding them to your contact list (Gmail) or safe-senders list (Outlook).
3. Consider using filters or rules
Creating specific filters or rules that instruct your email client to move all lead or client correspondence to specific folders can help you keep your mountain of emails organized.