Pepi flying

My Anti-Spam Super Power helps my crew fight to get your emails into the inbox!

Like Superman, I have my own kind of kryptonite, and it’s called bad data. Getting rid of bad data is the first step to take when fighting the spam box. Then my Anti-Spam Super Power can kick in!

Pepipost was born for good email sending.

Pepi and crew work every day to keep our email ecosystem clean, and for good reason.

You work hard on your email campaigns and you spend money to get your messages sent out. You build trust with your customers and you know they appreciate your content, but a few wrong turns, and BAM, you have a spam problem.

We have deliverability services to help you solve the problem. But read on for more information on delivering to the inbox.

Myths and Misconceptions About Spam

#1

Everybody has spam.
Not true. We have customers with 100% inbox delivery. It’s not a mythical Unicorn.

#2

My emails only go to spam if I use the wrong words in my emails
Not true. Spam algorithms are changing with time, and no longer rely on those “spam words.” While it’s true that the global spam average is dropping, it’s also true that the Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) and mobile device manufacturers are making it easier for your customers to opt-out, report spam and hide away your emails.

#3

If I have a spam problem, I can just switch to another IP address
Maybe this worked in the past, but not any longer. Your history will follow you; your domain ownership, your email content, all are signals to the ISPs. If you switch, you must do some work to clean things up first.

#4

I don’t think it’s worth my time and effort to fix. After all, I’m still getting activity from my email campaigns.

Spam does not heal itself. In fact, when the causes of spam are left unchecked, they will grow along with your list and continue to multiply. You can expect that it will not get better and will probably get worse.

What are the signs of spam?

Marketers and technologists often find out they have a spam problem from their customers, who don’t receive important emails. Some other symptoms include reduced email performance (lower open rates and lower revenue associated to emails.

Unless you are using a technology to monitor spam, such as Return Path, you will likely never see the issue in your reports beyond reduced performance, as all emails will continue to appear “delivered”, but not to the inbox. Free resources can give you some limited idea of how big the problem is, through SenderScore.org or other resources. You can check your IP addresses used to send out email and see if there are indications of an issue. You can also use Postmaster tools, such as Google’s Postmaster, that will give you an overview of domain and IP reputation.

Spam Traps: Sounds like a good thing? But it’s not.

When you hear the word “spam trap” or “honey pot”, on the surface it sounds like a positive thing, or something for breakfast. But for a marketer, it is a problem. ISPs needed to find a way to identify people who were sending out spam as their business model; meaning, sending out bulk email to people without permission about things they didn’t ask for and probably don’t care about. They found a way to do that, by monitoring email accounts that were abandoned by their owners and/or creating “honey pot” email addresses.

Let’s say that George setup an email account, bought some things, signed up for some other things and then stopped using it. After six months, the account was closed and marketers who were sending George emails received a hard bounce message. Six months later, the ISP sees that companies are still trying to email George, so it allows the old email address to receive messages without a bounce. Anyone who continues to email George would be considered a spammer at that point.

Another method used by spammers to get new email addresses is to scan websites for fresh addresses. Honey Pot addresses are created and posted to websites for this reason; they don’t belong to a person. When the account begins to receive email, the sender is flagged as a spammer. This is one of the reasons you need to be careful when buying an email list.

How does a sender know if they have spam traps in their list? They can check their IPs, using a tool like SenderScore.org, or use Postmaster tools. They won’t know which ones; they’ll know how many. The problem email addresses will be in your data, which will need to be cleaned.

Spam Complaints: The Power of a Click

It’s very easy for someone to complain about your emails. The reasons people could complain are:

  • Don’t remember opting in, or didn’t
  • Don’t like the email
  • Don’t like the company, for whatever reason
  • Opted out, but still receiving
  • Receiving too many emails
  • Don’t recognize the sender
  • Don’t think the subject line is relevant

The easiest way to combat complaints is to put the customer experience at the forefront of your email strategy.

  • Send enough email so that people remember you
  • Use consistent sender address and avoid changing to people’s names (unless you start out that way and the recipient knows who it is)
  • Process opts-out quickly and tell them how many days it will take
  • Allow all the recipients to set their own cadences and content types to the extent you can

Getting Out of the Spam Box and Into the Inbox

Now you’ve identified that you have a problem, you’ll need to consider some solutions. If the domain has been blacklisted, you may need some help from an ESP or experienced email experts. Pepipost has direct connections to ISPs for this reason. If your spam issue impacts each ISP, your data is most likely your biggest enemy and you’ll need to track down those long-term inactives, previously bounced but not removed, etc. If your spam issue is only with one ISP, it’s likely their algorithm and/or your setup with them; are your domains authenticated; do you have feedback loops setup; are you leveraging postmaster tools; are you sending too much email; these are just a few things to consider.

Once you have cleaned up your data and audited your environment, the easiest next step is to move onto a new IP, with a warm-up plan that is focused on good email sending. Send to your most active people in small amounts and build over time, monitoring continually. Take your time, and don’t listen when people try to rush you. The data will tell you when you should speed up or slow down.

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