"Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam... lovely Spam! Wonderful Spam!" - Monty Python
We use MailChimp for sending and tracking our email newsletters. Recently, they sent us a very interesting article about how certain email design traits can get you blacklisted as a spammer. So, not only do you need to be careful about using permission-based lists, you also need to take care with the design of your emails. In a nutshell, MailChimp did an experiment using human reviewers to determine if they perceived an email as spam, simply based on design. The reviewer had approximately 21 seconds to determine if the email was spam or not. The results revealed a great deal about how people look at email design. The complete article shows examples and details about their experiment that we thought you would find useful when working on your company email campaign design.
Did you know there are dedicated abuse desks at your Internet Service Provider and independent anti-spam organizations that review spam complaints from email recipients? It may only takes a single complaint for your email to land on the abuse desk for review. As you can imagine, spam reviewers go through a million complaints a minute, so they are making split-second decisions on whether to blacklist you or not. Most will act on a gut-level feeling often based simply on how your email looks.
Once you're blacklisted, even if by accident, it is extremely difficult to get off the list. MailChimp spent 3 weeks calling and emailing one of the anti-spam organizations on behalf of their client with a "spammy-looking" newsletter.
Here are some pointers to avoid getting blacklisted:
- Hire a professional to design your email campaigns. Sloppy layouts and poor quality images automatically get associated with spammers.
- Image vs. text balance is very important. Make sure to include your branding, logo and relevant images. Text-only or text-heavy emails are often perceived as spam, as are image-only emails.
- Don\'t send your newsletter as one giant image and always provide a link to "view this email in a browser". Assume your recipients will have images turned off by default in their email application.
- Invest time in creating a great "reputable-looking" header graphic. People are accustomed to seeing a logo at the top. Spammers often use text-only headers.
- Avoid generic-looking templates. Recipients should be able to recognize your emails, so incorporate your branding and build familiarity, not suspiciousness.
- Stay in touch, but don't be annoying. Sometimes infrequent communication can result in recipients forgetting they even signed up for your list.
Just remember, your company's reputation is at stake, so every time you communicate with your current and potential customers you have an opportunity to either polish or tarnish that reputation. Protect your investment - make sure your email newsletter looks as beautiful and professional as you can! Hire a professional... wink, wink.