Your Spam Quotient

Your Spam Quotient

If you do a lot of email marketing you probably wonder just how many of your messages are making it through to the intended recipient.  Increasingly, business email accounts are using commercial spam filters to block spam keeping the message from being seen or read. Good news if you are the recipient of spam…bad news if your legitimate marketing message is being destroyed by a filter.

Here are some tips to keep your “spam quotient” as low as possible.

•    Send your emails in plain text not HTML.  Real people use plain text and spammers tend to use HTML.
•    Avoid multiple attachments.  Not only are recipients hesitant to upload possibly virulent attachments, the spam filters penalize emails with numerous attachments.  Upload your attachments to your website and include a link in the main body of your email.
•    Easy on the CAPITALIZATION.  Excess capitalization raises your quotient.
•    Make sure you use full hyperlink addresses.  Links without http:// will cost you.
•    Getting artsy-craftsy and using a lot of colored font is a no-no.  Background colors are even more costly.
•    Bold headers are fine for emphasis.  But larger fonts can be costly.
•    The spam filters have their own devils dictionary of bad phrases.  Use them at your own risk.  Web Marketing Today published a list back in 2002 which is still a pretty good resource: http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt8/spamfilter_phrases.htm.

•    Here are some things that shouldn’t appear in your subject line:
o    FREE…GUARANTEED
o    Don’t start off with Hello or To: or a dollar amount
o    Don’t include a question mark or exclamation point
o    If you have no subject you are really going to get slapped

•    Believe it or not you have to even be careful how you phrase your unsubscribe message.

•    Make sure that your IP address has not made it onto a black list. Three of the more prominent black lists include:
o    Razor2 (http://razor.sf.net)
o    DCC List (www.rhyolite.com/anti-spam/dcc/dcc-tree/dcc.html)
o    Pyzor (http://pyzor.sf.net)
o    Finally, if you plan to send an email message to a number of recipients use Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simple_Mail_Transfer_Protocol instead of direct sending. Spam filters frown on directly sent emails with long headers and lists of recipients.

There is a host of information available online about this topic.  Sending marketing messages is rather like guerilla warfare.  Spam filters continue to evolve and counter measures continue to defeat them.  If you would like to test your email content to determine its spam quotient, there are a couple of free programs out there:   mailto:[email protected], http://www.assurancesys.com

Good luck and good hunting.  Tune in next month for some hints on how to help your MD Preferred profile drive traffic to your website and improve your site ranking for healthcare searchers.

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