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So, you’ve busted your tush creating content, poured your heart and soul into it. 
 
You wrote shitty first drafts, edited, edited some more, thought of awesome ways to pitch for your new offer, created your campaign and scheduled it.
 
And then…. BOOM… you end up in the promo tab or the SPAM folder, your hard work never seen or hardly ever seen or read. 
 
Frustrating, right? I know. 
 
Through trial and error, I have figured out some tips and tricks to keep you out of the SPAM folder and at least under the ‘Updates’ tab in Gmail or the main inbox folder with the likes of Yahoo and Outlook.
 
You see, them SPAM and promo filters are getting more clever every time they update them. I am not going to pretend I understand all of it but what I do know is that they scan for a bunch of things including:
 
  •  Graphics and links within the body of the email
  • The IP address it was sent from (your mail service provider. Use a reputable one!)
  • Whether your emails have ever been marked as SPAM by one of your contacts
  • Your engagement rate is low
  • You didn’t get permission to email them (generally when you add email addresses manually to your list)
  • Subject lines/words that are considered spammy
  • No physical address listed
  • No unsubscribe link
Pretty straightforward, right?

Here are my 5 commandments for marketing automation:

1. Clean up your list 
Have a process of tracking your contacts activity. If a contact has not read your emails in 3 months, it’s safe to say they probably never will. Be ruthless and remove them. Don’t try and tempt them with anything to just click that button because that’s like begging someone with presents to be your friend. It ain’t pretty! 
 
2. Make your emails look like you are sending them to friends
If your emails are written like an email going to a friend then the chances are much higher you’ll at least end up in the ‘Updates’ folder of Gmail and a straight pass into the main folder in the likes of Yahoo and Outlook. Too many graphics, too many links are all major red flags to these filters that yours is a promo email. Don’t use too many words and sentences like ‘Buy Now’, ‘Last Chance’, Going going gone’, etc… You get the gist. 
 
3. Treat the details of your contacts like you want yours to be treated
Don’t add the email address from Jo Blow who enquired about your services through your website to your marketing list. He didn’t ask for that. If they don’t sign up through the sign-up forms on your website it’s pretty much not legal. You need explicit consent per GDPR rules since May 25th. See my article on that. This will also prevent people marking your campaign as SPAM.
 
4. Analyse and check your past campaigns
There’s gold in those. You will know exactly what you readers love most and what they didn’t receive so well. The open rates don’t lie. Analyse, adjust and try again. 
 
5. Engage personally with new subscribers
This is a biggie too! Forge a great relationship with your new subscribers. Send them a personal note, let them know you noticed them. There’s nothing like some recognition and appreciation in this mainly anonymous, digital world we live in
 
At the end of the day, you want yourself a posse of cheerleaders, people encouraging you, so nurture the contacts on your list as if they are your best friends. They follow you for a reason, so give them quality content, love them with all your might, ask them to take action by emailing you back with questions, concerns or general feedback and help them out when they do reach out to you!
 
The more you get them to engage the higher your engagement will be and the more likely it is for you to end up under the Updates tab or even better, the holy grail, the Primary tab. 
 
Now, I also hear you say, but can’t I just ask them to whitelist me in my first emails?
 
Yes, you can. Let me bounce this back to you, how many times do you actually do that yourself? 0.001% of the time! Mmmmmmhmmmmm. Consider that question answered.
 
The problem with whitelisting is that it doesn’t really rule out you not ending up in SPAM or underneath the Promo tab. I follow people religiously, I have even whitelisted them and they still end up in Junk or Promo tab.
 
When I look at those emails they are generally loaded with links and graphics and contained a lot of ‘Sales Lingo’ so I know immediately why they have ended up there.
 
These few steps are pretty easy to implement and adhere to if you want a highly engaged, quality list.
 
It’s how I helped the wonderful Gemma Went‘s list go from an average of 6% open rate to a whopping 44% open rate. It generally doesn’t stay that high because lists grow and people drop off again after cleaning up a list drastically. With the right measures in place, you can keep it at a consistently higher level than average.
 
 
With the right measures in place to track engagement and getting rid of anyone who doesn’t engage, you’ll keep a healthy list and a much higher deliverability rate.
 
Implement and celebrate! 
 
Much Love,
Joyce xo.
 
If you have issues with deliverability after implementing these steps or you would like to have a chat with me in regards to it, send me an email joyce@joycedebakker.com or complete the form on my contact page