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The Future Of E-Mail Marketing: Its Threats and Cures

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Anyone who has been online for any length of time is aware of the alarming proliferation of spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE).

The trend is expected to continue, as an increasing number of marketers, eager to cash in on the free E-Mail Marketing medium, exploit the situation without giving any thought to the bandwidth they are wasting and the people they are annoying.

Spam and virus filters have become standard on most e-mail servers, permanently blocking suspicious and obviously unsolicited e-mail.

Some people are predicting that, with the rise of flooded e-mail boxes and spam filters that block even legitimate opt-in messages, the demise of e-mail as a marketing and publishing channel is not far behind.

Marketers need to become more sophisticated about the medium in order to make their e-mail marketing as effective as it was prior to spam phobia.

How To Make Sure Your E-Mail Is Delivered
Do you know the most important thing about e-mail? Many experienced marketers say, “Getting your e-mail opened.”

Actually getting your e-mail opened is the second-most-important thing. The most important is getting your e-mail delivered.

As a service to their users, more and more e-mail providers offer filters intended to radically reduce the amount of sham their users receive.

What is a legitimate e-mailer to do?

Let’s say you send a mailing to your opt-in list, some of whom have services that block bulk mail and redirect it to the recipients Bulk Mail box, the equivalent of sending it to Siberia.

This happens frequently, especially if you have a huge mailing list. If your list is large, you may avoid such filters by breaking up your mailings into smaller chunks.

In addition to blocking bulk mail, a majority of e-mail programs allow their e-mail users to filter out spam and other junk mail.

People can, for instance, ask to have e-mail that contains certain words such as sex or girls or one-time mailing in the subject.

More and more people are availing themselves of such filtering capabilities. People can also filter out specific mailers.

This is good and bad news, since they can also opt to let certain e-mailers in, but this often takes a specific action.

Some e-mail programs, like Outlook, automatically filter out e-mail that has the word free mail capital letters in any part of the e-mail if they find sales@anydomainname.com in the Form field.

How to Avoid the Spam Blockers
Before you press the Send button on your promotional e-mail, newsletter, or e-zine, see if it contains any of the following offending words and phrases:

Amazing  Money
Buy now  New
Congratulations Opportunity
Dear friend Order now
Free  Powerful
Great offer Profit
Guarantee Sale
Investment Special Promotion
Maximize Winner

In addition, customary phrases like “Click here” (or “Click below”), “Unsubscribe” or “To be removed” are also blocked, because these phrases are frequently used by spammers and other purveyors of unsolicited commercial e-mail.

If you’ve included any of these words-or any dollar signs, exclamation points, or anything in all capital letters, for that matter-in your outgoing e-mail, you may want to rethink what you have written.

That’s because SpamAssassin (or similar systems) may inadvertently identify your e-mail as spam and block it from being delivered. 

SpamAssassin, one of the most popular open  source antispam applications, has several hundred spam filters and allows mail administrators to customize which e-mails get through and which ones are automatically blocked and sent to spam limbo, meaning they are redirected to the recipient’s Bulk Mail bin or purged altogether.

Even if the e-mail you are sending is legitimate opt-in e-mail that the recipient has requested and wants to receive, it can be hijacked by e-mail providers or Internet service providers (ISPs), who are becoming increasingly watchful about protecting their clients from junk e-mail.

You can see how easy it is to get caught in the crossfire and end up in the same dump as spammers.

The sad fact is that some legitimate e-mail marketers and newsletter and r-zinc publishers don’t even realize that their e-mail is being rerouted to spam limbo, and they wonder why their click-through Mid conversion rates are dismal.

How do you get around this?

You can either play by the rules and not use the offending words and phrases altogether, or you can devise creative ways to conceal the words and phrases from the spam radar. 

For example, you can insert symbols within the words; for example, use “free” or “fr” “ee” instead of “free.”

Don’t get too creative; your sentence or thought must still be understandable to your readers”.

If you want your e-mail to be read and not filtered out as spam or junk mail, you must pay attention to these guidelines and keep up with the constant changes providers make.

Does Your E-Mail Test Positive as Spam?

You could make use of a strategy for sanitizing your e-mail of items that may trigger a false positive by running it through Lyris’s ContentChecker before sending it out.

This is a free service that uses SpamAssassin’s rules to rate your e-mail.

You can find it at www.lyris.com/contentchecker.

When you get there, paste your text into the form provided on the website, and you’ll instantly get a score.

If your score is greater than five, it’s an indication that your e-mail strongly resembles spam and might be blocked or filtered by major e-mail providers or ISPs.

If it’s less than five, you can be assured that your e-mail will be delivered without incident.

Lyris will also send you a detailed analysis of what led to your score, identify the offending elements, and make recommendations on how to revise your message to conform to industry anti spam criteria.
Is e-mail marketing on its way out?

What guidelines are you using to make your e-mail be read and not filtered out as spam or junk mail?

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