Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

Be loved by the In-box

These days there’s a lot of talk about lists. Visiting grandchildren today and thinking of Santa who keeps a list, and he’s “checking it twice.”  And thinking about it, our lives come down to lists. There’s the voter’s registration list, the grocery list, the vendor list, the client list and assorted mailing lists. You might say the list (bad pun intended) is endless.

When it comes to e-mail marketing, there’s one list you always want to have in the back of your mind:  the list of forbidden spam words.

We all have e-mail In-boxes, and along with those In-boxes come the ever-helpful spam filter, blocking irrelevant, annoying e-mails advertising cheap financial advice, ridiculous sweepstakes and Viagra. But occasionally, it will filter out worthwhile e-mails containing information relevant to the user – such as your e-Newsletters.

Why does it happen? More often than not, your email was blocked because it used one of the taboo words your client’s spam filter has blacklisted. The appearance of any of these words – particularly in a subject line – can doom your e-mail to a cold, lonely grave.

So how can we recognize these evil words and vaporize them before they cause us any trouble?

Some of those words include:

 Cheap                  Cash Bonus              100% Free        Affordable      Apply Now
Free Offer              Guarantee                Home Based     Increase Sales  Incredible Deal
Limited Time Offer   Make $                  Save $              Prices            Opportunity
Order Now             Refinance                 Weight Loss     Stop Snoring  Reverses Aging
Thousands             Remove                    Promise You    Mortgage Rates 

 As you can see, many of the words or phrases are obvious. Anytime someone sees or hears the words “100% free,” warning bells should go off. But there are also some seemingly innocuous words among the mix. Words like “prices,” “mortgage rates” and “opportunity” could be used in a worthwhile context, but still be seen as a red flag by spam filters.

For some more words that are banned, WordPress.org keeps a list. The point is, lists like the above are helpful, but they’re still not a surefire guarantee that your e-mail is certain to reach its recipient.  As Stephanie Miller of Deliverability.com states, “it isn’t really about a list of words, per se, it’s how the filters see constantly evolving combinations of words being used.”

The key is to develop marketing copy that is original and creative, without resorting to tired clichés or generic catchphrases. This is where an experienced marketing firm can be an invaluable asset. If your e-mail comes with a subject line that’s so creative it’s never been done before, chances are it will whiz right by the spam police before they even get a chance to glance at their radar gun. 

You can also gauge the deliverability of your e-mails. Before distributing them to your clients, try sending one to yourself, your friends and employees who may be using different e-mail service providers to see if they receive them.

You don’t want to be labeled as a “spammer.” With a little due diligence and creative partner like corecubed, your e-mail communication will be able to steer clear of bouncers and be the life of the Inbox.