The dreaded spam filter. The downfall of your genius, carefully crafted marketing campaign. You’ve spent weeks designing the perfect graphics, refining your copy, strategizing about the best possible way to reach out to your contacts . . . only to have them never even open the email.
On average, nonprofits lose out on about $15,000 a year in donations, due to their prospects’ spam filter blocking campaign emails. Those are insane numbers. For many nonprofits, those numbers mean the difference between failure and success. Donations can make or break your financial year. Make sure you’re not losing donors to the spam filter by following these five simple guidelines.
1.) Choose a reputable ESP (Email Service Provider)
A good ESP might be the only thing standing between your marketing emails and the spam filter. The more reputable the provider, the better your chances of getting your emails seen. Unsurprisingly, gmail is among the most desirable ESPs, but there are a number of other services–both free and paid subscriptions–that can help build up your reputation and keep you out of the spam box.
2.) Make sure you are using a clear and consistent sender name
Your sender name should make it obvious who you are and what company you are with. It should not change with every email–consistency is key. Including your name as well as a company name is advisable, to establish credibility while also making the email seem personal and direct. Ensure that your email address is in line with this as well: firstname.lastname@example.org is the most desirable format for avoiding spam filters.
3.) Don’t push or harass unsubscribers
It might be tempting to follow up with former subscribers and try to win them back. Don’t. Always respect recipients wishes, and do not continue to harass those that no longer wish to hear from you. Make unsubscribing an easy and straightforward process. Not only is it a legal issue to make it complicated, it also damages your reputation and shows a lack of respect for your donors and other contacts.
4.) Avoid using buzzwords that are more likely to trigger spam filters
Certain words have a bad reputation with spam filters. Some blacklisted words include “free,” “million,” “cash,” “extra,” . . . you get the idea. Many of the words and phrases commonly used in actual spam have been blacklisted, so it’s better to avoid them altogether–particularly using them in subject lines. There are many ways you can word your subject line to avoid spam-associated phrases and increase your open rates. Check out HubSpot for some ideas.
5.) Always test your emails before sending them
There are a number of services available, like Mail Tester, that allow you to see whether your emails are likely to go into spam, as well as checking on the overall reputation of your email address and your IP address. Once you know whether you’re being sorted into spam, it’s easier to start working on fixing your presentation and start building reputability.