5 Secrets of Avoiding the Spam Filter

spam_pic_ftiny_1.jpgThe average email user receives 147 emails a day… and deletes 71 of them. It may seem impossible for your club’s message to cut through the noise, but it’s actually easier than you’d think. E-mail marketing is still one of the most cost-efficient and successful ways of reaching your members. Health and Fitness emails have a 23% open rate, and 44% of email recipients make at least one purchase based on promotional emails.

But no matter how much value your emails have for your members, you have to pass their spam filter first! Here are 5 secrets of avoiding the spam filter:

1. Avoid trigger words that will get you blocked automatically

There are now many words and phrases that will get blocked by spam filters, especially if they are in the subject line. Some of them are obvious, like “For just $XXX” or “No cost!” But there are also phrases that seem harmless, but will still result in a block, such as: “Solution,” “Success,” “Opt in” and even “Certified.” See the full list of terms here to ensure your emails aren’t sent to the spam graveyard due to a careless vocabulary choice.

2. Use a double opt-in

You should ask all members who sign up for your emails to do a “double opt-in.” This means sending members who select to opt-in a follow-up email with a second confirmation opt-in link. This confirms two things: that they definitely want to receive your emails and that they gave you an active email account. This will help solve one of the biggest problems email marketing faces--inaccurate and decaying email lists. The average email list has only 50% of members actively opening any emails. Using a double opt-in will help decrease your bounce rate from bad or inactive email addresses. Not only does this help ensure your emails are actually being read, a high bounce rate can result in you being blacklisted.

3. Each email should have one call-to-action for a specific purpose

To avoid member frustration or being marked as spam, each email you send should have a clear purpose, such as “New TRX training classes are available” or “Introducing our new Christmas Fitness Challenge.”

There should be a clear call-to-action button within the email that takes your members directly to the appropriate page. This button should stand out, both in placement and visually (for extra credit, shade the button with your brand’s colors). Members should be able to instantly identify what you’re asking them to do when they open them.

4. Maintain a good text to image ratio

65% of people prefer emails that are mostly images. While it’s tempting to include lots of images to punch up an email, too many images in an email can actually result in your message being flagged as spam. Spam filters cannot read images, so they are very suspicious of emails that contain lots of images, or images that are large. If you code your emails in HTML, make sure you are not using one big image. Include alt-text for all images, and try to keep emails under 30kb in size. At Netpulse, we try to make sure an email has no more than 3 images.

5. Avoid spammy terms

While these ‘spammy’ terms may not get you immediately blocked, they will count against you in both spam filter calculations and in the mind of your recipient. Even if these terms won’t result in an instant block on their own, people are much less likely to open emails that contain terms such as “Lose weight fast” or “Free membership.” A full list of terms can be found here, but a good rule of thumb when sending emails is to proofread for terms that would make you roll your eyes and click ‘delete’ if the message showed up in your inbox. Your club’s “Free Trial Offer” may be a legitimately amazing opportunity, but many people will just assume it’s just another spam email.

Learn more about how to efficiently reach your members in our Mobile Marketing Manifesto For Health Clubs:

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