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Three tips to avoid spam filters when sending emails to prospective students

Jay Donovan, 20 Jan 2016

Email is personal, direct and has the highest return on investment (ROI) than any other marketing channels. It’s the best platform for you to provide information about your brand to clients, and more importantly, make it all about them.

Often times, the emails you send as part of a campaign are flagged as spams. There are several reasons why that happens, which include:

  • the quality of the subject line, teaser, call to action and content
  • safety and credibility of links in the email
  • presence of absence of images
  • image- and link-to-text ratio
  • reputation of IP address and sender domain.

Nevertheless, there are ways you can avoid spam filters. With the experience of broadcasting hundreds of email marketing campaigns for unis around the globe, we have outlined three tips to maximise your email marketing deliverability, which helps to increase your open rates and traffic on your website.

Develop relevant and engaging subject lines

Spam filters and your recipients will first look at the subject line of your email. Choose your words for a subject line carefully — you want it to be attention-grabbing and engaging, but not ‘spammy’. Here are some of the words and phrases you should avoid:
  • online degree
  • opportunity
  • university diplomas
  • freedom
  • success
  • hello
  • open
  • offshore
  • congratulations

Furthermore, avoid using a lot of capital letters and punctuations when writing your subject lines as this practice tends to trigger spam filters too. Keep them clear, short, simple and relevant.

Design and build professional quality emails

If your emails look unprofessional and the code behind the visuals is not up to scratch, you can come across as a spammer.

While it’s commendable to build the emails yourself, it’s best to outsource it to the experts. The professionals will help you to maintain a proper content format, ensuring that your emails will be free from messy HTML, extra tags, invalid and shortened links, suspicious formatting and financially motivated content.

A well-designed email that has an appropriate image- and link-to-text ratio, works in all the relevant browsers and built with the user in mind will have a greater chance of getting through spam filters and getting a positive response from the student.

Use a reputable and ethical email service provider

Moreover, the best thing you can do to get past spam filters, is to use a reputable and ethical service provider who understands the complexities of email design and delivery.

Effective email service providers know what spam filters are looking for in regards to technical specifics — they can advise you about setting up an email authentication such as SPF and DKIM and protecting your IP reputation, as well as ensure that you comply to the CAN-SPAM Act by including your business’ physical address and the unsubscribe option in your emails.

Outsourcing also gives you scalability — you get to push the campaign further or cut it back without jeopardising your staff. You can collaborate with the providers to come up with the best campaign strategy, combining your business acumen with their creativity to craft a campaign targeting the right student at the right time through the right content.

Email marketing is effective in gaining leads and converting them into commencing students; however, your email being flagged as spam is a real hiccup in this process. It’s crucial to avoid spam filters by staying compliant and understanding the bigger picture of your email campaign.