Email marketing software has dramatically increased in popularity over the past several years. In the meantime, spam filters have become more savvy. This is not to say that spam filters are out to thwart email marketers, since that is far from the case. Spam filters are actually out to catch those people who aren't abiding by email marketing software best practices. They are out to get the ones actually sending spam. That, in turn, helps legitimate email marketers because it reduces clutter in the recipient's inbox. This is not to say spam filters don't pose somewhat of a problem, because there are always false positives and that's what you really want to avoid.
Tip #1: Use a descriptive subject that does not appear hokey/cheesy/scam-like
For some reason people get to the subject line of their email marketing software campaign and they have this deep urge to get cheesy. I don't know why that happens, but please (pretty please!) fight that temptation! Also, if you have the urge to write something that makes your email sound like a scam (for example, "open this email and all your dreams will come true"), then please fight off that urge as well. Although you may think that by using those seemingly catchy phrases you've stumbled upon email marketing software genius that will boost your open percentage, I can assure you that you have not. Today's email recipient is far too smart to fall for gimmicky tricks like this. And, today's spam filters are programmed to catch these gimmicky emails and throw them right into the spam folder. It's just not worth it.
While your subject line should be designed to entice your recipient to open the email, it should attract users by offering a real description of the contents of the message. Use the subject to let people know what they can expect to find inside your email. If you are offering a promotion, put a little teaser about the promotion. If you are sending out a monthly newsletter, put a little teaser about your top story.
If you are honest in your subject line, people will be far more apt to read your email.
Also, studies show that having a good subject line leads to a higher conversion rate. If people see a subject talking about a promotion and then open your email to find that promotion, they are more likely to engage with it. If your subject talks about a great promotion on pet toys, but inside you're trying to sell them dog food that isn't on sale, people will swiftly close your email and be less inclined to open it next time.
Tip #2: Don't Go Insane With Colors, Bolding, Italics, etc.
For some reason people seem to love using all sorts of stylistic tools when they create an email marketing software campaign. I'm not sure why people get all giddy and excited when they put all their text in bright red and bold everything. I can guarantee you that doing that is only hurting you.
While you can use colors, bolding, italics and font-size variations to make your email marketing software campaign look attractive, it's important to keep these font style variations to a minimum. Use bolds, italics and colors only when necessary. For instance, you can highlight a word or couple of words by making them bold. But, if you find that you have bolded an entire paragraph, then you've used way too much bold.
It's totally fine if you want to turn a headline red or make some text bigger to draw attention to it. If you feel it's needed, then that is totally acceptable. But, as you're creating your email marketing software campaign and find yourself drawn to one of these stylistic tools, ask yourself if it is really necessary. If it is, then proceed as planned, but if it's not, then leave the text alone.
An email filled with all sorts of different text colors, a huge variety of text sizes, entire paragraphs in bold, long sentences in italics, etc, does not look legitimate at all and spam filters will pick up on that.
Remember that spam filters are programmed to stop any emails that look too hokey, so one of the things they're looking for is overuse of bolds, italics and colors. The goal is to have your actual content be solid enough that it can stand on its own legs without needing all this stylistic help.
Tip #3: Don't Go Overboard With Pictures
Pictures can really liven up your email marketing software campaign, but that doesn't mean you should cram as many graphics into your email as possible. The important thing to keep in mind about pictures (and graphics in general) is that you should maintain a good balance between text and graphics.
Part of the reason this is so important is because many email programs do not display images by default. The recipient has to click a button or link in order to load the images. What this means is that if your entire email marketing software campaign is filled with images, the recipient will literally see a blank message. That is why having a good amount of text is so important. Even if the recipient has images disabled, they should still be able to read enough content to entice them to download the images.
Spam filters also often scan your email content looking for 'trigger words' and if the entire email is a graphic then there is no content to scan. Often times spam filters will be over-cautious, and if there is nothing to scan, it will assume the content is not legitimate. This is why it is so important to have a good amount of text in your emails.
There are many other tactics to make sure you get past spam filters and land in the reader's inbox. A lot also has to do with your email sending reputation, which is why it is important to work with a good email service provider (ESP). But, if you follow the tips listed above, you will at least be putting your best foot forward in terms of your content.