It’s a sad fact that because of the massive amount of spam perhaps as much as 20%–30% of legitimate e-mail does not get through to its intended recipient.
Various spam filters such as Spam Assassin block some legitimate e-mails in addition to spam. That’s bad news for golf pros looking to use their lists to attract customers. The good news is that by paying attention to some key factors you can still get most of your messages through!
Spam filters these days are much more sophisticated than the typical e-mail filters of the past. The new ones can be made to delete an e-mail message that contains a number of “bad” words. Filters such as Spam Assassin look for patterns and add or delete points for certain factors.
If your total score reaches a predetermined level, the message is flagged as spam. By looking at what adds points (bad) and subtracts points (good), you can learn to construct e-mails that will do better with the filters, if not escape them entirely.
1. Avoid suspect spam phrases. There are hundreds to avoid if you want your e-mails read, but here are a few key ones…
- You Won
- Special Offer
2. Be careful with your subject lines. Spam Assassin is particularly interested in subject lines. Here are a few subject line no-no’s to learn from:
- Contains “FREE” in all caps
- Starts with “FREE”
- Starts with dollar amount
- Subject is all in capitals
- Subject talks about savings
3. Use capitalization carefully. Capital letters are seen as “yelling” and spam-like. Excess capital letters cost you points.
4. Use color judiciously and keep html simple; highly stylized formats can hurt your score. Realize that high art is likely to cost you something. A font color tag that isn’t formatted quite right can cost you points and if you are using special font colors that aren’t in the palette of 217 web-safe colors, you are dinged big time.
5. Let readers know it’s a newsletter. Fortunately, being a legitimate newsletter lowers your spam score so make sure you tout being a newsletter in your headers.
6. Message size of 20k to 40k helps. Since so many spam messages are short and under 20K, Spam Assassin gives you credit for a message size between 20K and 40K
7. Use a signature. You’re helped if your e-mail contains an e-mail signature—since so many spam messages don’t.
8. Don’t mention spam law compliance. It’s unwise to claim that you observe all the spam laws. Only spammers say that!
9. Carefully word your unsubscribe system. It seems ironic that legitimate opt-in e-mailers are penalized for having information on how to unsubscribe. But since so many spammers have bogus systems, it is apparently a spam indicator. You need to include ways to unsubscribe, of course, but avoid the phrase “click here to…” and substitute something like “use this link to…”
10. Use a spam checker to test your message. We’re now seeing some services and software you can use to test the spam quotient of your e-zines and e-mail offers before sending them out like the one included in our websites.
By using all of these tips, more of your e-mail will reach the intended recipients.
The Message Quality Score (MQS) tool analyzes your message for spam content (before you send it out) plus tells you what modifications to make to ensure the best possible delivery and open rates.