EMAIL is a great way to boost engagement with your audience, but you must avoid spamming your email list!! Despite your good intentions, the SPAM filters may still tag your emails as spam. You want to grow your email subscriber list, and you should send them regular updates and value-added emails. You’re building relationships, demonstrating your expertise, and getting them to know-like-and-trust you. But you MUST AVOID SPAM at all costs! Here’s how:
The Federal Trade Commission demands that your emails must have these features (or you’re breaking the law!):
- Include a real, brick-and-mortar address – even if that’s only a PO Box
- Every email must include a clear UNSUBSCRIBE button or link. BUT: do NOT use the term “click here to unsubscribe” because “click here” is a spam trigger for some spam filters.
- That unsubscribe link must function for at least 30 days after sending the email.
- If someone clicks on that unsubscribe link, their email address must be removed from your list within 10 days.
- Finally, never be deceptive in your email HEADER, FROM, SUBJECT, or REPLY-TO fields.
For example, you may be familiar with seeing emails in our inbox that appear to be “from” yourself; I know I’ve received these. If these make it through my email spam filter, I don’t even open them. Fortunately, none of us is guilty of trying to deceive our subscribers! We only want to provide value.
Before you start stressing about how to set up that “unsubscribe” button in your emails, know that your Email Service Provider (ESP) already does that automatically. If not, time to consider a different ESP.
Avoid Spam Filters by Avoiding Spam TRIGGERS
Regarding triggering spam filters, healthcare practices have a few advantages when sending emails to our subscriber lists.
For example, we’re not likely to be using these terms in our subject lines: “free,” “limited offer,” “Viagra,” or “low rate mortgage.” There are similar terms to avoid, but again, those of us in healthcare are not likely to use them in our emails. That’s a good thing, because these are red-flag terms for spam-filters.
Any time your subject line makes you think of smarmy sales guy, use a different term!
However, you may be tempted to use some formatting features or punctuation that can land you in trouble with spam filters, despite innocent intentions.
Email features that scream SPAM and that may trigger spam filters:
- RED, YELLOW, or ORANGE fonts
- Large UPPERCASE fonts
- Too many exclamation points !!!!
- The phrase, “Click Here”
Additional email features that can trigger the SPAM-filters:
- Active X
If you don’t know what those are, don’t sweat it – you’re not using them.
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Avoid Spamming Your Email Subscriber List
As a physician, I have a pretty huge personal email list. I also collect many business cards with emails at every medical conference that I attend (gotta maintain those CME!).
I would LOVE to add all of those email addresses to my practice subscriber list. But they did not opt-in to that list! That is, they haven’t agreed to sign-up for email updates. That means if I add them to my practice email subscriber list and send them emails, THAT IS SPAM BY DEFINITION!!
Don’t do it!
Do NOT Add These People on Your Email List:
- Anyone that you have a business card for
- People on your general Contacts list (Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, etc.).
- Anyone who you believe “opted-in” by purchasing your product 10 years ago.
How to Get Subscribers on Your Email List?
- Add an Opt-in (email subscriber sign-up) to your website!
- Make it “above-the-fold” and obvious
- Include it on every page of your website
- Use a “lead-magnet” as an incentive to subscribe
- Consider implementing the “double-opt-in” mechanism at your ESP (your ESP will have an explanation of that term, and its advantages for your subscriber list)
- Manually: nearly every ESP will allow you to manually add a subscriber to your email list, but do this ONLY if you have permission from that subscriber
Finally, use your email list to build relationships. Always be adding value: send them short updates about your practice; send them tip-sheets and guides; send them news in your field of practice.
Keep to these guidelines and your emails are sure to be valued by your subscribers, and will avoid spam filters!
As always, please leave a comment below to let me know what I missed, to share your experiences, or just to let me know about an awesome red wine you’ve enjoyed recently.
How to Avoid Spam Filters, at MailChimp
Avoiding Spam, by Neil Patel & Ritika Puri at QuickSprout