Love your emailIn Part 2 of posts on email marketing, Julie Joseph looks at how you can make sure your email marketing is reaching the right recipients and isn’t hindering, rather than helping, your business.

Don’t waste your resources

You want to make sure your emails reach the inbox I am sure, but I know a lot of small businesses who overlook this key aspect of email marketing. This means the money spent on acquiring email addresses in the first place is wasted if you are not reaching recipients. Furthermore, poor deliverability practices will lead to a bad reputation with major ISPs who will respond by blocking or junking your messages. This will mean they don’t get through to those people who DO want them resulting in an ever greater waste of resources.

Reputation, Reputation, Reputation

The single most important factor for good deliverability is your sender reputation and this comes down to 2 things – the number of spam complaints and the number of ‘bad’ addresses on your list. It is therefore vital you maintain a quality list. The following tips will help you to reduce spam complaints and remove bad addresses immediately.

  • Set and manage expectations from the start by letting people know what they will get from you in terms of frequency and content
  • Use a double opt in process or send a confirmation email to helps remove bad addresses immediately (and one by one rather than in bulk).
  • If someone makes a spam complaint or their email address bounces (usually this means it does not exist) then remove them from your list. Most Email Service Providers will let you do this automatically.
  • Choose a recognisable Brand Name for your emails which will generate trust (rather than an employee name for example)
  • Minimise bounces by sending out emails regularly (at least once a month).
  • Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe and manage preferences (such as different types of content), if they cannot find the unsubscribe button they are more likely to hit the ‘Report Spam’ button than simply stay on the list.

Engage and Target

Be aware that you can expect to lose around a third of your list a year as people change email addresses, move company, lose interest or you become naturally less relevant to them. There are ways you can minimise this with engaging, highly relevant and targeted content but you should accept that you will lose subscribers and look at minimising their impact on your overall reputation.

Also look at content since spam filters at the email provider will score points against your email if they poor code, spammy content and a variety of other factors. If your message is considered too ‘spammy’, the filter will route your message to the junk folder, block it or delay delivery. See for more information on what may trigger filters.

Innocent words or SPAM?

There are a variety of coding considerations, but you can help minimise issues by running the code through a HTML validator, ensuring code is W3C compliant, test viewing your messages on different platforms and browsers including in preview panes and with images off. Good emails will keeping ‘spammy content’ to a minimum. There are innocent words that can hurt you (“Sizes to XXX”) so ensure these are diluted with less spammy words. Avoid forms or content requiring scripts as these may be removed or cause your message to be blocked. Above all, send relevant and wanted content.

By maintaining a list of active addresses and sending good content not only will you maintain a good reputation, you should also improve interactions and relevance!


Julie Joseph is owner of JJ Consulting. She has 20 years sales and marketing experience including 15 years focused on Digital Marketing. She has worked with clients across many sectors including major players from Media, Retail, Transport and Finance and presented at various industry events. Please see for more information.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /