Spam: The Challenge of Bulk E-mails
While spam is usually considered as a problem in revieving so many items your inbox gets full, spam is also an ever growing problem for sending e-mails. As companies and software work to battle with the problem of spam by introducing more and more filters to take out spam, it means that legitimate e-mails are often not getting through. Most bulk e-mails should expect that anything between 1-20% of a bulk e-mail may not get through based on the response of servers to Spam.
In truth, the best e-mails would just have plain text, and avoid so many words that they would not have relevance it is therefore worth weighing up the options with regards to how important certain elements of your e-mail are. For example, understanding that images are sometimes considered an indication of spam, they also generally result in more user attention and action. Which is more important for your mail?
There are few hard and fast rules. Every mail server (there are tens of millions used) have a different level of protection and will treat each e-mail differently, hence the challenge in making sure your mail reaches its destination.
Here are some things to consider when sending an e-mail, especially to multiple recipients:
- E-mails can be sent as plain text, rich text (as usual from outlook for example where things like bold, different fonts etc. Can be used) and HTML.
- Where possible it is best to send e-mails as plain text, as rich text and HTML can be used by spammers to send malicious code or files.
- If sending as rich text try to avoid using different fonts and too much in terms of highlighting (overuse of bold or underline, different colours etc.)
- Try to avoid using images where possible. Most e-mails systems block these by default now anyway requiring a user to Show images anyway.
- If using images, this should be done using professionally created mails so that they can be done in the most Spam filter-friendly way. (hosted images rather than embedded or attached, high quality HTML etc.)
- In the subject line of your e-mail, try to be as specific as possible. If you use generic terms here then it could again be considered as Spam. Instead of writing Meeting tomorrow then you could use names or departments like, Meeting with Communication Team or, Meeting with Joe Blogs.
- Also try not to use punctuation in your subject where possible, especially exclamation marks (!) and question marks (?)
- Do not use the word Hello in the subject line.
- Include your address in the e-mail footer, and where possible always include an unsubscribe option for people to be able to prevent further e-mails.
- Do not use capital letters for words in your content, even if it is an important headline. Capital letters or Shouts as they are often known, can be seen as Spam evidence.
- Avoid certain words such as Free, Garauntee, Drugs, Available think of the spam you recieve and you will realise many of the kind of words to avoid.
- Do not mention the word Spam in your e-mail. Although obvious, it doesnt help to write something like This is not Spam in your e-mails.
- When providing links, use the http:// prefix rather than just using www. this will help to give a good result when these links are checked.
- Try not to give website addresses that are hidden by a password system as they will likely appear as inaccessible when tested.
- Sending e-mail on an internal network (using the same domain name) will be almost 100% sure to arrive as it never actually leaves the machine it is sent from. If you want to test an e-mail then make sure to use an e-mail address outside your network (for example a personal e-mail address).
- You can use Spam testing tools. These are again not hard and fast tests as they just take some of the key indicators and cant predict the way other servers will work, but one example can be found here: http://spamcheck.sitesell.com/