Real Estate Marketing Academy

Email Marketing Tips: 6 Ways to Avoid Your Customers’ Spam Folders

By Colin Ryan

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how to keep your marketing emails out of the spam folder

Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with past real estate clients, nurture leads, and earn referrals — provided, of course, that your recipients are getting the message.

According to a recent report from Return Path, marketing emails account for 70 percent of all spam email complaints. To make sure your newsletter or promotion isn’t part of this statistic, here are a few tips for crafting your real estate email campaigns.

Keep your lists up-to-date.

Most spam filters will penalize you for sending emails to “bad” accounts — email addresses that no longer exist, have been disabled, or have full inboxes. Be sure to prune these from your list regularly.

You should also make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe by providing a clear link in the email itself. Sure, you’re losing a lead — but it’s better to part ways with someone who’s not interested than to have someone mark you as spam out of frustration.

Pay attention to your “From” address.

When sending a newsletter, choose an outgoing address that will make recipients feel comfortable. Start by making sure the domain is easily associated with your business. Instead of a randomly generated address assigned by your email delivery system (1a2b3c4d5e@domain.com), try using a recognizable name (kgallagher@domain.com) or a term related to the content (support@domain.com, newsletter@domain.com). You should also avoid donotreply@domain.com, as it might give the impression you’re not interested in feedback at all.

Choose your words carefully.

The easiest way to end up in someone’s spam folder is to load your emails with trigger words (see here for an exhaustive list):

  • Salesy – free, price, cheap, mortgage, cost, loans, affordable, credit, finance
  • Superlative – amazing, awesome, fantastic, guaranteed, millions
  • Urgent – now, limited time, special, promotion, offer, today

This is especially true for your subject line. Use your subject to indicate what your email can offer recipients without overselling, and save your calls to action (sign up, call now, etc.) for the body.

Go easy on the images.

In general, you should take care when including images in your emails, for a few reasons. One, images are much larger, and the longer your emails take to load, the less chance your recipients will have patience for them. Two, some recipients may not be able to view images, and a broken message might as well be spam. Three, spam filters don’t understand visual content very well, which means they’re more likely to be suspicious of messages that are heavy on images.

Instead, focus on crafting emails made up of mostly text, and include a plaintext version with every message you send.

Choose a reliable service.

There are lots of email delivery services out there to help you manage your email marketing campaigns. Some are more reputable than others. Be especially wary of obscure platforms that tout their low cost. These often play host to spammers who would otherwise be booted from more upstanding companies. Users of such cut-rate delivery services are likely to be flagged and banned by the big email providers.

Instead, choose a well-known and respected service with lots of satisfied customers. You may pay more up front, but you’ll save in the long run.

When in doubt, test.

If you feel like you’re not reaching a lot of the leads on your list, or if you have questions about the content and presentation of your campaigns, you can easily test how spamworthy your emails are. One method: create a few dummy email accounts with popular providers like Hotmail and Gmail, then send samples and observe the results.

Alternatively, you can use spam checkers like Contactology, Mailingcheck, Programmer’s Heaven, or IsNotSpam to test your messages.

Have other suggestions for avoiding a customer’s spam filter? Tell us in the comments!

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