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Content Strategy

Make sure your content is consistent with the expectations set at sign-up – and is relevant to your customer segments

Provide your customers with a preference center where they can make choices based on their personal interests and type of email (newsletters, offers, statements, etc.)

Monitor the frequency of your campaigns to ensure it is consistent with expectations set at sign-up

Use branding in From, Reply-to, and Subject lines to ensure that the recipient associates the mail with your business; if you send multiple types of mail, make sure the branding is consistent. Read more.

Test content to ensure that the preview pane is appealing and clearly identifies your company.

Unsubscribe Processing

Provide an easy unsubscribe process, ideally, with one click. Do not demand that the recipients must login to unsubscribe. If they don’t remember their passwords or it takes too much time to unsubscribe, they will click the spam button and hurt your reputation, which will make it harder to get all the other emails to the inbox for the rest of your recipients.

Offer multiple ways to unsubscribe including replying to email and preference centers

Provide website confirmation of the address that is requesting unsubscribe and set expectations for how long it will take to process the request. In addition you may want to confirm the unsubscribe request with a follow-up message

If you offer multiple types of email, be clear and provide subscribers a choice in determining what type of mail they want to unsubscribe from.

Be consistent with ‘From’ details

Using the same ‘From’ name and email address on your emails is an notable part of getting it delivered, according to Gmail’s sender guidelines. Whether this is because Gmail uses this to calculate some kind of reputation, or because it helps recipients identify campaigns is unknown, but both are good reasons to stay consistent. The way this relationship affects your campaigns isn’t entirely different from say, how the relationship you have with your work colleagues and clients influences how they treat your day-to-day email. For example, if you have a reputation for sending concise and informative messages, then those who receive your email are likely to give them more attention than if you are just forwarding joke emails all day. This means that if the receiver of your newsletters or other emails get used to your content and doesn’t find it interesting, they only have to see your from details (sender name/address) to understand that they don’t have to open your emails. And the other way around, if you change your from details, they don’t remember the sender and is more likely to hit the spam button. So be careful with changing your from details, and send good content so the receivers understand it’s worth the time to open up your emails.

Use a valid reply-to email address

Think about these two scenarios:

  1. Using “I’m not interested in hearing from you by email, regardless of whether email is better or easier for you. I just don’t respect you enough to take the risk that a dozen people might reply and insult me.” The guy who wrote this has described one of the problems with using no-reply addresses. Please have a read on the full blog post here.
  2. Using “EVERY email you send should be considered an opportunity to increase engagement with your users. Tell them them that they can respond with questions, comments, whatever.” This was written over at

​It is not just polite to encurage replies to those who actually gave you their address, but it can also be very helpful for you as a company. Listening to your customers feedback can help you deliver better emails or actually get some positive feedback on what you are doing right. If you think of it as a sales channel you probably want as many as possible to contact you.​

Is there a relationship between replies and delivery rates?

Both MarketingSherpa in their post on the algorithm behind Gmails Priority inbox feature and ReturnPaths “Field Guide to Yahoo! Inboxes” provide insight into how Gmail ranks the “importance” of emails based on recipient actions like opens and replies:

  • ​“Importance ground truth is based on how the user interacts with a mail after delivery.”
  • “Engagement has always been an important measure of subscriber interest for senders, but ISPs are starting to make significant investments in research, in-house spam filters and third-party software to help measure subscriber engagement to better determine appropriate folder placement… Inactive subscribers will ultimately hurt your ability to get delivered.”

​Or in human terms: If recipients reply to your emails, then Gmail is more likely to consider them to be important. It is not unlikely that Gmail is using the same algorithms to decide if an email should go to the inbox or not. And getting delivered to the inbox is a real benefit.

But I don’t want all the Out-of-Office replies!
A common reason for using a no-reply address is that it’s too difficult to manage all of the automated responses that gets back to you after each email sent. Messages like delivery failure notifications, or “Out of the Office”. But here are automated ways to handle this, many of which don’t take much time to set up. For example, forwarding replies to a Gmail account can be particularly effective, as not only does it handle spam particularly well (an unfortunate consequence of putting an email address out there), but you can setup filters/rules to keep human and robot responses apart, as well as create automated responses.

​And if you send really large amounts of emails, try to divide reply-addresses into different categories or locations, so each part of your company can handle their own replies (maybe through Gmail as above) so the effort is not with one centralized person.

Balance images with copy

When our clients contact us and tell us that their emails has gone in the spam folder, and they have done everything they can to do things right (good lists, authentication, etc), there is one thing that probably is causing the problem: There is too many images and very little copy! The “one image email” is something in the past but still there are many out there that does not have enough text. “HTML has a low ratio of text to image area” is one of the top reasons why the email goes to the spam folder if you do everything else right.

​The other advantage to minimizing text and increase copy is that for all those who does not download images by default actually will see your content.

Avoid using URLs as shorteners

Sometimes when URLs/links are very long, it’s easy to understand why you should use URL shortners (like But in emails you should NEVER use URL shortners for your links and/or images. To understand why it is important we need to start with explaining “domain reputation”. All domains, including yours, have a reputation whether it’s good, neutral or bad. If your domain is connected to spam, viruses or other types of negative traffic your domain reputation will be bad. Email spam filters actually checks your email for links (also links to images) to see if any of the domains you are using has bad reputation. They don’t want the receiver of the email to click on any links that might get negative consequence.

If one of the links in your email has a bad reputation they might block the email. So let’s say that you are using links that has been run through a URL shortner in your emails. You are not the only one that has used the domain the URL shortner is using, and probably there are many using it in a negative way. So in short (no pun intended), URL shortners use domains that does not have the best reputation and using them in your email might deliver it to the spam folder. So don’t use URL shortners for links in your email.

Avoid using URLs as text

When linking to an article on your webpage, or any types of links, do not write out the URL in the email. Instead, write some text and link this text to the URL. Why? It seems that spam filters does not like the fact that what the recipient see as text is not the same link as the landing page. This is because the spam filter thinks you are trying to get the recipient to click a link that is different to what they think they are clicking. “But they both go to the same page?”, you say.. Well, they don’t. I’ll explain:

​Normally you think of your link as this, a text that you are linking and the URL itself.

<a href=""></a>

​But since systems like Symplify actually replace your link to get click statistics, it will look something like this instead once the email gets sent:

<a href=""></a>

​For a spam filter it looks like you want the recipient to believe you are linking to but instead actually links to It looks like phishing. Instead use a link like this:

<a href="">Visit our website</a>

This will be no problem since after Symplify has replaced your URL it will look like this:

<a href="">Visit our website</a>

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