In part one of this series on email list hygiene, we covered the difference between a spam filter and a spam trap and how they’re used together. Part two detailed five points on how to keep your text clean and well formatted to avoid being labelled as junk. Part three went further, touching on how to use images appropriately, keeping your code clean, and other message best practices.
In this part, we’ll dive into some best practices and habits you’ll want to adopt outside of just content. After all, anyone who has signed up to your email list has done so to stay in contact with you!
Make Sure Users Want to Hear from You
The easiest trick to avoid spam filters is to make sure your users want to be emailed by you. A double opt-in is when a user provides their contact information and is then immediately sent a one-time confirmation. This is to confirm that the email address really belongs to the user.
The best reason to use a double opt-in is that it stops users from inputting false addresses. It also makes sure your subscriber really wants to hear from you keeping your list clean. No matter how large your list is, if only a few people want to open your emails then the list is not very effective.
Your first email should also ask users to add your address to their contact list. When your address is added to the contact list, it whitelists your address to the ISP.
Don’t Wait to Start
One of the biggest mistakes is to wait until a mailing list reaches an arbitrary size before a company begins to email. If you wait to email any of your users for weeks or months as you wait to reach an arbitrary list size, your users may have forgotten they signed up when you finally do send them something. Those users are more likely to mark a message as spam.
Spam filters can also be triggered by when an email address suddenly sends massive amounts of messages to their subscribers. If you’ve already built a large list, it’s better to start sending to a smaller number of users first and slowly building up.
Just as it’s important to email a subscriber as soon as they sign up, sending emails at regular intervals is critical. You want to make sure that your subscribers don’t forget about you by sending messages often otherwise they may mark your email as spam. However, if you send too many messages you run the risk of annoying your customers and having them mark your messages as spam anyway.
How often to send requires testing to find the right frequency but make sure it is at least once a month. The key here is consistency so your subscribers will know when to expect your emails.
The key here is to make sure your customers and users routinely hear from you and do so from the moment they sign up. It’s easy for them to forget they’ve even opted in to your list which increases the risk they may mark it as spam.
Part five will be the final part in this series and go over one of the more counterintuitive aspects of making your list rock: removing users!