Once you've read the guide on how to write effective cold emails, you can follow these rules to make sure that the ESP doesn't mark you as spam, even if the recipient never would.
There are two main factors taken into account when it comes to an Email Service Provider flagging you as spam:
- Your sending domain
- The content of your email
Your Sending Domain
The sending domain is not just your email address or what comes after the @ symbol. It is the actual location where your mail server lives, or the domain where it is routed through.
Anyone can send an email from their server and pretend that it is coming from you as the "from" address. We protect ourselves from that and improve our deliverability with SPF records.
But the domain that you mail with, or the domain that you sign emails with, can be considered spam if previous recipients already marked you.
If your domain is already flagged as spam, then almost every outbound email you mail via that domain will be categorized as such.
On the same note, even if you use a trusted sending domain (such as an email marketing company's shared domain), but you change the From address to a spammy domain, then your email may go to spam.
It's important to follow these rules to make sure any automated systems don't mark your domain as spam either:
- Use a domain that hasn't been marked as spam or is not on any blacklists, such as MXToolbox.
- Use a from address that matches your mailing domain. Subdomains are okay.
- Use a reply-to address that uses the same domain as the mailing domain. (In ScopeLeads, the from and reply-to address are the same).
- Setup an SPF record to show the ESP that your from address has permission to mail on that domain.
- Setup a DKIM record to add an extra digital signature to your emails.
- Do not send many emails from a @gmail.com address. Use an alias domain or get a proper G Suite account.
- If the domain is new, don't send too many emails. Ramp it up slowly, preferably with emails to your friends, family, and colleagues first, between 10 to 20 emails per day for a couple of weeks, so that the ESPs can learn that you are safe. This step goes a long way to improving your future deliverability.
- Don't send too many emails through a free SMTP account or in a trial G Suite account. Add your credit card and exit the probation period first, if one exists.
If you follow the above rules, then your emails are likely to land in the inbox, unless the content of them contains spammy material.
The Content of Your Email
There is a lot behind the scenes of an email that you may not be aware of. For example, there is a lot of code and additional information about where the email came from in the Header of the email.
Everything there is considered content too, even if you can't see it.
Follow these important rules to follow to make sure your emails contain spam-free content:
- Make sure the Subject of the email isn't empty, too long, or seem spammy
- Avoid CAPITAL LETTERS and try not to misspell words
- Try to rewrite words like free, buy now, paypal, credit card, deal, discount, etc.
- Use personalization when you can, with the merge fields provided in the system
- Personalize any email templates you buy or find online to match your voice or style. If they have been marked as spammy content by many recipients, then they may not work with you
- Hyperlink your links instead of pasting in the naked URL (click here vs https://scopeleads.io)
- Reduce the amount of images in your email. Keep in mind Open Tracking puts an image pixel already, so that is one image
- Turn off open and click tracking links in your SMTP provider if they provide it too, and only use ScopeLeads tracking
- Don't use open and click tracking if you are sending a small email or any email you don't need to track
- Keep your link to text ratio in your emails low, or avoid links altogether
- Don't format your email font or size with HTML
- Include your business address at the bottom of the email, with a note to respond if they want to unsubscribe. This will drastically reduce the amount of people that mark you as spam, when they can simply reply or click your unsubscribe link. It will also teach the ESPs that you are a real sender since they see people responding.
It's best to always use your judgement and don't just depend on spam score which doesn't take most of the above into account.
Sometimes your very own ESP or SMTP provider won't even send the message if it seems spammy or if the recipient is bad.
Look over your email list first to see if you can spot any faulty email addresses, or a more personal email address (matching the first name) you can choose as the primary contact if the Lead has multiple emails associated with it.
Last but not least, my best advice is to make sure you get results first before moving to any sort of bulk sending (Pro version). Send a proper, manual email to a few leads first and test your open, reply, and spam rates. Only move forward once you're confident you landed on a winning template for your business.
Still In Spam?
If you're still hitting the spam folder when you send yourself a test, and you've tried all of the above, try this:
- change sending domain to a fresh domain
- If still in spam, send a simple email to yourself with all tracking turned off in the Profile>Advanced settings
- If you're using GSuite, you can whitelist your own domain in your GSuite settings by following this guide.
- If still in spam, contact support
Happy, safe sending :)