Avoiding the "spam" label in 21st century email marketing | DMA

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Avoiding the "spam" label in 21st century email marketing


For a while now, we've all been looking at the GDPR and double opt-in lists and how we need to change our perspective and focus on a more permission-based approach. However, if the Privacy Electronic Communications Regulation doesn't change, we still have the opportunity to target prospects with a soft opt-out approach. Which means, we also have the opportunity to be caught in spam filters.

Spam filter improvements over the years

In some respects, spam filters are very basic. Their algorithm examines email designs and text and programmatically gives you a spam score. If the accumulated score exceeds the threshold, your email goes to the junk folder. If it doesn’t, hurray! You've landed in the inbox.

On the other hand, spam filters are incredibly intelligent. They adapt according to seasonal phrases, pick up repetitive behaviour and are quick to adapt to new phishing techniques. Like search engines, spam filters are continuously improving their technology, becoming almost human in their programmatic algorithms. They sync up and communicate with each other, so words that are constantly being used are given a higher score as the filters reflect on new methods every day. All to deliver a more effective approach to email marketing.

The challenge for email marketers

Spam filters are a useful tool for consumers and prospects, and yet a great challenge for email marketers. After all, if we are all using the same techniques, spam filters will soon tell us that we need to change our methodology to remain in the inbox. So the challenge becomes, how can we make our email marketing effective enough to avoid spam filter detection?

Our options

Well, firstly, there is the double opt-in method we have all discussed in such detail since the GDPR came into our lives. Of course this permission-based marketing approach is one of the best ways to avoid being labelled spam.

However, some of us want to continue to market to prospects who haven't heard of us yet. In order to do that, and avoid the spam filter, there are a number of best practices we can employ. Simple things, like avoiding the word unsubscribe or dear so and so. These are practices that you need to keep up with often as the trends change with the technology.

The third option is to invest in technology that allows you to pre-empt your spam score before you land in the inbox. See which phrases aren't doing you any favours, whether it's your design or your wording which is getting you into trouble. A lot of email marketing platforms now have built-in inbox-checking tools to help.

Whichever method you decide to use, or indeed if you adopt both, make sure you make spam filters a priority this year. We don't want to witness the near-death of email marketing, again.

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