MAKING SURE YOUR MESSAGE GETS DELIVERED
Email programs and SPAM filters have become more sophisticated.
- The way you create your message can seriously impact its deliverability.
- If a message is captured in a SPAM filter it will still show as delivered on your tracking report – but in reality it won’t have delivered and you’ve impacted your response rates without even knowing it.
- You want the cleanest, most pure HTML code possible.
- Ensure all of your coding has close tags – while open tags may render correctly on the web and in some email clients, open tags are the #1 cause of HTML messages being rendered incorrectly. (<font> with no </font> - particularly watch for open table tags <table> with no </table>)
- Strip all unnecessary code from the email – Dreamweaver and Frontpage both put comment tags and hidden programmer’s language. Strip this out. It can bea SPAM trigger as well as cause problems in rendering. (<!-- __>)
- Remove “tbody” tags – these are put into code by Dreamweaver and other
programs. Stripping them out does not affect how the message is displayed
but leaving them in can cause problems.
- Avoid using style sheets. Whenever possible code each element individually –
i.e. assigning fonts and colors to each line rather than using a style sheet.
- If you use style sheets, embed them inline as part of the message rather than in
the header of the message (which is often stripped out by many email clients)
or calling out to a hosted style sheet.
- Avoid using thick borders – greater than 2 – trigger SPAM filters
- Watch your html to image ratio. This is the #1 trigger (besides bad language)
of SPAM filters. If your message has too many images compared to html text it will get captured.
A couple notes on links and graphics...
- Links should be live <a href> links within the code.
- Graphics cannot be embedded within the e-mail. All graphics must be hosted
on a server and “called out to” within the HTML code. We recommend that the combined size of all your images not exceed 60KB so that your message loads quickly when it is delivered to an inbox. If graphics indicate a click-through, be sure to include a URL along with the image source “call out” (img alt tag) within the HTML code. ! Be sure to use image alt tags as another way of giving recipients access to the content of your message even if images are blocked.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO INCREASE DELIVERABILITY
Due to the current federal law, the filtering systems through which e-mail messages travel have a coding system that assign a point value to each message. Points are assigned based on specific triggers. These triggers are words or symbols that are contained in the subject line or in the body of the message. There are also html coding triggers. It is a combination of these words/symbols/coding that will assign total point value to your message. If the point value reaches a certain number the filter will signal the server to code the message as a possible mass spam message, therefore not delivering the message.
Subject line trigger words include...
- Deal/ Deals
- Win/Winner/ Winning/ Won
- Exclamation/Question Marks (!/?)
- Percent or %
- Gappy Text (R S V P or F R E E)
- “Now Only”
- Dollar Sign ($)
- Save/Savings/Saving Sale
- Limited Time Offer Immediately
- FREE (in all caps)
- Online/ Internet
- The SUBJECT (in all caps)
- Numerals (1, 50%, etc.)
- personalized subject
Body content triggers words include...
- New Customers Only
- OpportunityNo Cost
- Absolutely/Completely Free more
- Full Refund
- For Free
- No Obligation
- Limited Time Offer
- Marketing Partners
- One Time Email Offer
- No purchase
- 100% guarantee or 100% Free
- Internet promotion
- Do it today
- Supplies/Quantities limited
- A Verb (add/lose/make) up to “X” or more
- Risk Free
- Money Back
- Act Now
- Dear Friend (or other generic term)
- Get It Now/Get Started Now
- Free Sample/Preview
- Order Now
- Click Here
- You Have Been Selected • Because You...
- Opt-out/ Opt-In
- Don't Delete
- An example of how to rephrase: Instead of using “click here to opt-out” you could phrase it “follow this link to no longer receive mailings” or “follow this link to be removed rom our list”.
HTML coding triggers include...
- Java Script – most filters block all messages containing Java Script.
- Style Sheets – Do not use attached style sheet. Use embedded style sheets cautiously.
Email “readers” interpret style sheets differently. This may cause a problem in the way that your message is displayed. Some email programs strip out even embedded style sheets, particularly when they are embedded between header tags.
- Unbalanced body and html Tags. Anytime you have an opening tag, you must have a corresponding closing tag.
- Missing “table” close tags.
- “tbody” tags. Removing all tbody tags has no effect on the appearance of the message.
- HTML Message is a Saved Web page- If the message is a saved web page, there will be a comment within the HTML indicating that.
- Remove Comments – HTML editing programs (FrontPage, Dreamweaver, etc.) add unnecessary comments to the finished document. These are recognized by <!-- -->. Filters view this as Spam.
- Color and Fonts – It is always best to stay within the safe 6x6x6 color palette and use only standard fonts.
- Avoid using multiple code fonts within a message.
- Avoid using pixels to designate font size. Designate using points.
- Large sized fonts are triggers regardless of how they are coded (using font sizes that are 2 + or bigger).
- Avoid font colors gray, red, yellow, green, blue, magenta or “unknown”
- Thick borders – Avoid using a border size greater than 2.
- Text to Image Ratios – Avoid creating messages that rely too heavily on graphics.
- Untitled Documents – Make sure there is text in the “Title” field of the HTML code.
- Background Colors – Avoid using background colors. HTML emails with non-white
backgrounds are SPAM triggers.