When it comes to email marketing, your greatest enemy is the “Report as Spam” button. When Rob Dyson and Michael Westphal (our resident email deliverability experts here at Pardot) presented “The Ultimate Email Deliverability Checklist” at last November’s Pardot User Conference, they recommended keeping spam complaints at rate of .1% — or 1 complaint for every thousand people emailed. This may seem like a lofty goal, but here are five tips to get you started on increasing your email deliverability score.

Make your opt-outs easy, and fast. This is the number one way to ensure that you don’t get reported as spam. You’re not doing yourself any favors by continuing to send emails to people who don’t want receive them — an opt-out won’t hurt your reputation but being reported as spam will. With many marketing automation platforms, a recipient who opts out will automatically be removed from your list, but if you are not using a system that does this automatically, make sure you are regularly updating and quickly getting opt-outs off of your lists.

Be consistent. This may seem like common sense, but don’t go two weeks without sending an email and then send three in one day. If possible, let your recipients know upon signing up what you will be sending them and when (better yet, let them chose how often they receive your emails), and stick to this schedule. Not only does this make your business seem more organized and credible, it makes it far less likely that a recipient will get fed up with an inbox clogged with your emails and hit the “Report as Spam” button.

Chose your words carefully. Basically think of every obnoxious ad that you’ve ever received and make your email sound as least like these as possible. Phrases like “No commitment necessary!” and “For only $_.__!” are the best way to ensure that your email is sent straight to the spam folder. Also, avoid starting emails with “Dear,” and instead use the greetings “Hello” or “Hi.”

Avoid content with forms, javascript and flash. Often if you copy over a website or landing page directly into an email, you can end up including these types of content. Including content of this nature can cause security issues and pretty much ensures that your email will be caught in a spam filter. Instead have your email direct the recipient to a landing page and let them fill out the form on the actual website.

Don’t buy lists. When you buy lists, you can easily end up sending emails to invalid email addresses, spam traps and unsuspecting (and unwanting) recipients — putting your odds of being reported as spam through the roof. Instead, check out this great blog post by Chris Heiden on the alternatives to buying lists.

For more tips on successful email marketing, be sure to attend this Thursday’s webinar, “Secrets to Inbox Success” with Rob Dyson.

Molly Hoffmeister

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