By Paul Parcellin, Staff Writer
January 15, 2014

Even if you are new to online marketing, you probably know that emails can sometimes land in a recipient's spam folder instead of the inbox. Internet service providers regularly screen incoming mail to sift out unwanted advertisements and other undesirable content so that users won't be bothered by uninvited messages and mailboxes won't become cluttered.

If you're sending out a lot of email messages, the words you put in the subject line are important. You should write an intriguing headline that will catch the reader's interest, of course. But also remember that some words in both the subject line and the body of the message will cause email to go directly to the potential reader's spam folder. That's because ISPs screen out messages that fit a junk mail profile.

Many of the words seem innocuous enough, but they send up a red flag to spam filters. One of the Internet's most popular words, "Free," for instance, will likely get your message relegated to the spam folder. Other well-known marketing phrases, such as "Increase your sales," "Visit our website" and "Will not believe your eyes" will likely also cause your message to disappear into the email netherworld, unseen by some, if not all, of your targeted readership.

As you've probably gathered, words or phrases that seem to scream "Advertisement" will automatically doom your message to the chopping block. Here is a list of 100 spam trigger words and phrases to avoid. By sidestepping those terms, you'll probably stand a better chance of getting your email messages in front of your targeted readers' eyes.

Even if you choose your words wisely, you will no doubt wonder how many of your messages disappear from sight before readers get to see them. One possible solution that can help you gain insight into your success rate is Mail Monitor. It is software that offers email senders the ability to test email messages in multiple browsers, provides a detailed spam filter report for each email you send, tracks delivery rates to the inbox for dozens of ISPs and allows you to make sure that email servers are not blacklisted. With a tool such as Mail Monitor in hand, you can use the data it produces to make educated decisions and adjust subject lines, from lines, creative content and IP addresses to ensure that your messages get to the recipient.

In addition, you can check your email to ensure it won't get trapped in a spam snare by using:

•, a downloadable tool for Windows that uses SpamAssassin.
•, an alternative if you would rather avoid downloading a software service.
•, which uses a form-based solution to test your emails.

If you do send spam, beware - you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law. The CAN-SPAM Act sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages and gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them. It also provides some tough penalties for violations.

CAN-SPAM doesn't just apply to bulk email messages, either. Any commercial email that promotes a business or even promotes content on a website is also covered by the act. Getting caught for violating the rules can hit you hard in the wallet. Each time you violate the spamming law you are subject to penalties up to $16,000, so it's advisable to be CAN-SPAM compliant. Note that there are also state specific unsolicited commercial email laws, rules and regulations.Here are some of CAN-SPAM's main requirements:

• Don't use false or misleading header information. Your "From," "To," "Reply-To," and routing information - including the originating domain name and email address - must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
• "From" lines must include a domain name that is registered to the sender which can be determined by performing a WHOIS look-up, or the name of the sender or marketer on whose behalf the email was sent. This means that you cannot use a generic "From" from line sent from a proxy/privately registered domain name.
• Don't use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
• Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
• Tell recipients where you're located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address.
• Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future.
• Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message.
• Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can't contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law.

Email service providers can help you organize your email marketing campaigns, and they also provide extra services that help add value to the content that you send out. Here is a list of the more prominent service providers, and some of the feature that they provide.

Aweber: Along with unlimited photo storage space, Aweber's top features include auto-responder follow-up, which allows you to send a sequence of automatically delivered emails, and RSS to email, which allows you to automatically create emails from your blog posts. Also provided are a drag-and-drop editor and HTML email templates.

iContact: Social media tools allow you to publish directly to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and track the popularity of your posts. Also provided are email templates, MessageCoder, a message creation tool for those experienced in HTML, and MessageBuilder, a drag and drop message creation tool.

MailChimp: Tools include Email Beamer, which lets you put together an email in Outlook, Gmail, or on your mobile device and send it to your mailing list, Email Designer as well as Email Templates. In addition, you get auto-responders, spam filter diagnostics, email client testing and RSS-to-email.

Silverpop: Multichannel messaging, Web pages, forms and surveys, campaign automation, reporting and analytics and transactional email

Here's some other information that you should know about email marketing and avoiding spam filters:

Avoid having your messages identified as "phishing" emails, messages sent by unscrupulous individuals who are out to steal your identity. Phishing emails masquerade as messages from legitimate companies, and their purpose is to get you to click on a fraudulent link. They might look like a message from your bank or a utility company. One tip-off that a message might be part of a phishing scheme is that the message contains spelling and grammatical errors. Instead, provide clear, error-free text, and don't request personal information from those on your mailing list - it may seem to others that you're running a phishing scam.

If you send HTML email messages, be sure to include a text version of the message, as well. That's because spam filters will sometimes single out HTML-only email traffic as spam. It's a good idea to include a text version, in any case, because some recipients may not be able to read HTML messages.

Blacklisted domain addresses are those of known spammers, and they are blocked from sending mail to providers. If your email server winds up on a blacklist, you'll have a hard time getting mail delivered.

Return Path's SenderScore or can tell you if your server has been blacklisted. If you have been added to the list, you must go through the tedious process of contacting the company or companies that have blacklisted you, and work with each to have you removed from the list so that normal mail delivery can resume.

Most of the time, it's better to not attach images to your emails. But if you must, it's a good idea to follow these tips:

• Don't send any image-only emails
• Send a couple of lines of text with each image
• Optimize your images the best you can
• Use well formatted HTML for email

Avoid sending executable attachments, including .exe, .zip, .swf, and files in other similar formats. Generally, you should not send attachments to people on your mailing list who are not expecting them.

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