How to Beat a School’s Spam Filter

How to Beat a School’s Spam Filter

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Abigail Harradine
Published: 1st December 2019

1. Spam Trigger Words in your Subject Line

The subject line of your email is the most important aspect of getting recipients to open your email, so of course you want to really sell your offer in there. But the biggest faux pas we see in client’s subject lines is the word FREE in all capital letters. If you have to put the word ‘free’ in your subject lines, try to keep in lower case.

You may end up in some spam folders with this word in general, but free is a great word for getting opens so the pros sometimes offset the cons with this one.

The true definition of a double-edged sword.

2. Font Size

A lesser known spam trigger is the size of the text in your email. A huge attention-grabbing, too good to be true headline, coupled with the smallest of small print Ts & Cs. If you include text that is below 8pt or above 30pt this could land your email straight into the dreaded spam folder.

If you want text larger than 30pt we’d recommend creating this as an image, although too many images can lead us straight into faux pas number three…

3. Images

This one is a double whammy as there are two ways your email’s images can land you in spam:

  • Too many images

  • Super-large images

Let’s start with too many images. Having a large image to text ratio is a common mistake made by email marketers across the globe.

We see marketers take this a step further and send emails that are made up entirely of images, even images of text or bullet points. Not only will this land you in spam, but it also means that unless a recipient chooses to download your images they won’t see any of your content.

Your text should be visible straight away and should compel your audience to download your images and see the full offer in all its beautiful, digital glory. Get them clicking on your email and choosing to download images and hey presto, you’re starting to track their interaction.

Moving on to super-large images.

When a client asks me to look over their email before they hit send, one of the first things I do (right after checking they have used the correct personalisation merge tags) is check the size of the images. I don’t just mean how big they look - though a large banner image that takes most of the space above the fold isn’t ideal - I’m talking about the actual pixel size of the image.

Most emails built in Campus have a content area width of 550-600px, but I’ll often head into a client’s email and their first image is over 1500px wide. This is just asking for trouble.

There are tools in Campus, that within two clicks of a mouse, will fix image size issues, or ask your design team to keep your image sizes below the width of the email content.

4. Bright Colours – Fonts & Content

This one’s an easy one – spam filters are flagged by variations in colours and font sizes. So for your outreach marketing to cold contacts keep your colour palette simple.

5. Plain Text Email

Another likely candidate found teetering on the edge of spam is how the plain text email has been formatted – or worse still not formatted.

Many marketers often ponder: ‘Why should I bother with a plain text version when I know NO-ONE without a HTML email client?’

Well, ponder this - around 2% do still use an email client that will only show a plain text email. Secondly it’s a good idea to offer a plain text version for accessibility reasons.

But also very importantly, spam filters check the plain text version to identify if you are a spammer.

No plain text version = trigger. Plain text version not formatted = trigger.

No go out there and whip that spam filters backside!

Happy emailing.


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