Email marketing is still one of the most effective channels for reaching your audience. But if you’re not careful, your beautifully crafted email campaigns can end up in the dreaded spam folder. Here are five email best practices that keep you in the inbox and out of the junk folder.

1. Clean Your List

One of the reasons your emails can get marked as spam is having a list filled with incorrect, outdated, or fraudulent email addresses. The more deactivated or non-existent accounts you have on your list, the higher your bounce rate. And the higher your bounce rate, the more likely you are to get marked as a spammer by internet service providers (ISPs).

Make it a priority to go through your list every six months. Take out any addresses that have been deactivated. If there are spelling errors, work to correct them. “” is quickly updated to “,” but you might have to put a bit more work into fixing email addresses where recipients’ names are misspelled. However, following email best practices by keeping your list clean should pay off in the long run.

If there are people who haven’t opened your emails in a while, send them a re-opt-in message. This allows them to either choose to stay on or unsubscribe themselves. While you may be sad to see your email list shrink, a high-quality list full of engaged readers is better than a bigger list of people who are ignoring your messages.

2. Comply with Laws

The U.S. has created laws to protect consumers from spam messages. The CAN-SPAM Act, created in 2003, spells out exactly what you can and cannot do in your email marketing.

For example, all information in your email must be true ““ don’t include any bold claims that you can’t back up (in email best practices and in life, honesty is usually the best policy). You must also include a street address for your business. And you’re required to promptly remove people from your list if they request to unsubscribe.

For a complete list of the dos and don’ts under the CAN-SPAM Act, check out this article from the Federal Trade Commission. Making sure that you’re CAN-SPAM-compliant will not only keep you out of junk folders, but it will also help you avoid hefty fines.

3. Grow Your List the Right Way

There are bragging rights that come with having a big mailing list. You can use it as a way to gain legitimacy for your business, and if you’re seeking sponsorships for your podcast or pursuing connections with bigger and better business partners, a huge list of contacts can get you in the door.

However, growing your list just for bragging rights is a recipe for disaster. Don’t buy lists or scan the internet for new email addresses. That’s a great way to end up with spam traps on your list. Spam traps are emails that aren’t registered to a person ““ they’re designed solely to catch spammers.

4. Don’t Sound Phishy

Phishing emails are a major problem; they’re designed to get readers to hand over personal information so that hackers can break into their systems and install malware on their computers. ISPs scan for these types of messages and try to filter them out. So if you’re creating emails that appear like they could be phishing scams, that’s a great way to end up in the junk folder (or deleted entirely!).

There are two key email best practices that can protect you here.

First, avoid phrases phishers often employ”“things like, “Urgent action required,” or, “Your account has been compromised.” These phrases are associated with classic phishing techniques, and the use of them could get you flagged.

Second, make sure that your URLs match. Often, phishers will include a URL in the body of their email that appears legitimate, like the actual URL for your bank. But the displayed link is different from the actual URL, which redirects you to a fraudulent site. If you accidentally create an email with mismatched URLs, you’ll be mistaken for a phisher.

5. Don’t Send Odd Attachments

This is another security risk that’s likely to land you in spam folders. Lots of legitimate marketing emails will have images or logos attached, but it’s unlikely that they’ll have huge attachments or things like spreadsheets or PowerPoints attached. Including these atypical types of attachments on your marketing emails might raise red flags with ISPs.

Your email campaign can only generate results if it gets seen. Following these email best practices will keep your emails on the up-and-up and out of spam folders. If you’re looking for an expert to manage the ins and outs of your marketing email campaigns, check out our services.

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