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Keep your emails out of junk folders…

note: we're sick of spamLast week, I wrote about reducing the amount of spam you receive in your inbox. The other side of the issue is having your legitimate emails being caught by a spam filter and not reaching the recipient.

isp providers and email programs both use rules to sort out real emails from spam – that’s how some emails never reach you and others go into your junk folder instead of your inbox. That’s great for keeping your inbox clear, but not so good when your emails aren’t arriving…

I spoke this morning at a seminar for the Yarra Ranges council and mentioned how certain words can get your email classed as spam even if you use those words in an innocent way. Many mass email tools can review your emails and tell you which words may cause a problem, which is handy. Alternatively, you can find lists of such words online (some examples are here  and here.)

For words that are in the spam rules, you have a few choices:

  • use the word where necessary  as some words are just too hard to avoid – for example if you sell fishing rods it is very hard to avoid writing ‘fishing’ (yes, fishing is a word to avoid!) If you only use one or two words and otherwise pass the spam tests, your email has a fair chance of getting through
  • find an alternative word to use. For example, use ‘go to’ instead of ‘visit’ or ‘click here’
  • write the sentence differently – to stay with our fishing example, we could write ‘we went to catch some fish’ to replace ‘we went fishing’
  • break the word with symbol (this is why you see ‘V.isit us for a f.ree valu.ation’ and the like.) This divides trigger words into two part words which spam filters don’t worry about, although some are also being added to rules. I hate the look of doing this but am coming to accept the necessity of it unfortunately.

Avoiding the use of such trigger words can help you get past spam filters, but these are not the only rules to be aware of. Spam assassin provides some tips for keeping your emails out of spam folders, as does Bob Thomson.

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