Best Practices for Email Delivery and Avoiding SPAM Filters
These guidelines will help ensure emails you send from Apollo are not wrongfully identified as SPAM by email servers. Since SPAM and bounces (emails rejected upon delivery) go hand-in-hand, these strategies can help improve your emails' delivery rates. They'll also help minimize the frequency of your emails being manually marked as SPAM by people you contact, but that is ultimately up to the discretion of the recipient.
There are two contributing factors to email deliverability,
on a high level:
Here's a breakdown of how to reduce SPAM & bounce rates.
Domain Reputation and IT Setup
1. Setup a Tracking Subdomain – use this article as a guide.
- This is a secondary domain name (ex. yourcompany.com) related to your original domain name that is used for all your open, unsubscribe, and click tracking links which will help emails successfully deliver to inboxes. For more, follow this guide.
2. Update Your Apollo Send Limits (in Settings), then authenticate with DKIM, publish an SPF record, and publish a DMARC policy.
- Use this guide to complete this IT-related portion of your setup. Just be sure you have access to your DNS provider, where you purchased your domain name.
Email Content and Formatting
1. Remove links
- SPAM filters look for links, especially in Step 1 emails (the first time you're emailing a new contact from your email address in a sequence). Even your signature is scanned for links, so that can be a culprit and a smart place to ensure you've removed links, in addition to the body of your emails.
2. Remove images
- Images or attachments, especially in step 1 emails, can activate SPAM blockers and even bounces. Remove these assets and stick to text. Send your beautiful images and attachments in step 3 or later (once you've sent a couple other emails). Again, even images in your signature can cause issues.
3. Don't apply special formatting to your text
- Simply put, SPAM blockers scan for formatted text, so avoid using different colors, fonts, bolding, italicization, and underlining
4. Keep your paragraphs concise
- Lengthy content alone can activate SPAM blockers or even bounces, so keep your wording trim and to-the-point
5. Avoid words that trigger SPAM filters
- SPAM filters have evolved considerably in the past few years, and as such there isn't a short list of words to avoid. In general, try to communicate in a professional, personable way, and avoid words and phrases that sounds shady, urgent, or needy. Take a look at this Hubspot article for a more comprehensive list if you would like specific words or phrases. In general, ask yourself if this is an email you would want to receive.
6. A/B Test your messaging
- Always test out your messaging to find what gets the highest engagement! Use Apollo's A/B tests to try multiple versions of a similar message. If you find one version is getting blocked at a higher rate, you can look at the differences in your messaging to try and understand what might be causing that.
Optional Additional Measures/Considerations
1. Include unsubscribe links in your email signature. In general, make this decision based on how and why you're emailing your Prospects and if it makes sense to include an opt-out, but our feature allows you to use whatever text/phrase you like and automatically adds the link with your signature on all your Apollo emails automatically. Research shows that recipients are far more likely to use an unsubscribe link instead of marking your emails as Spam (which can affect your overall sending reputation and is therefore a much worse outcome) when they have the choice.
2. Deactivate click tracking. The functionality of click tracking manipulates links in emails, which SPAM filters can sometimes detect, so disable this feature if you're having issues (open and reply rates are tracked differently and are generally far less of a concern). This can cause a big change in your deliverability overall.
3. Set Up a Custom Tracking Subdomain
- Even if these tips are followed, keep in mind that spam filtering is always user-specific. So, if someone marks an email as spam, their email provider's spam filtering will update itself to naturally catch similar emails in the future. This explains why two people can receive the same email and encounter different filtering behavior.
- If you get SPAM blocked by a contact you email, that doesn't mean that the contact email address is not accurate, but rather that it does exist and your email was either automatically or manually marked as unfit or inappropriate for delivery.
- Steps to Improve Your Sending Reputation
- Sales Email Content Best Practices
- Email & Call Prospects at Scale
- Sending Limits