Sending high-volume cold email campaigns isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s extremely easy. The difficult part is doing it without getting your messages flagged as spam and tossed in a junk folder.
Or worse, getting yourself blacklisted.
You can bring in enormous amounts of leads with cold email marketing, but if you want to make it a long-term channel, you need to do it right.
Cold List Email Marketing: Send Bulk Campaigns (Without Spamming)
For most people, spam is effectively a non-issue. Spam filters are clever and advanced, and many junk folders even automatically empty themselves every so often.
The only way most people actually see what’s going to their spam folder is if they, for some reason, actually go and look manually.
Which means that you don’t want your campaigns to end up there. Problem is, it’s very easy for that to happen.
Spam filters are on the lookout for a wide range of red flags – many of which you’d probably have never thought of.
What is Spam?
If you want to avoid spam filters, you need to know what spam actually is. Many people simply think of it as meaning “email marketing”, but it might surprise you to learn that it has an actual technical definition.
Note: The following is intended to be informative, and should not be construed as a legal definition or legal advice.
According to the CAN-SPAM Act, your emails need to hit the following points to avoid being classified as spam:
- Don’t use misleading or false headers: Your “From”, “To”, “Reply-To” and routing information need to accurately represent the person or business sending the message.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines: Your subject line must accurately reflect the email content.
- Be clear that your message is an ad: Your email needs to obviously and clearly communicate that it’s an advertisement.
- Include a valid physical postal address: This can be a street address, PO box, or other mailbox registered to receive commercial mail.
- Provide a clear, obvious opt-out method: There must be a conspicuous, clear option for the recipient to opt out of all commercial messages from you. This method has to be simple: you cannot charge a fee, require any personal identifying information beyond the email address, or require any step more complicated than sending a reply email or visiting a single page in order to opt out.
- Honor opt-outs rapidly: The opt-out mechanism in your email must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send the message. You are required to honor opt-outs within 10 business days.
You should also have a concrete reason to believe that the recipient is legitimately interested in what you’re offering.
Don’t send marketing emails to a list of random people – make sure you’re targeting people in the relevant industries. Not only does this help you avoid being labelled a spammer, it’s also a very important part of bringing in leads.
After all, people aren’t going to buy your product if it’s not useful for them.
The List is the Key
Opted-in lists are wonderful. They’re also tedious to grow. Sometimes painfully so.
Cold lists can inject a stream of new leads into your funnel, but it pays to keep an eye on your contacts list. If your list is full of bad data, sending campaigns to it will do more harm than good.
Many cold lists are full of email addresses that don’t exist, spam traps, irrelevant contacts, and other bad data. Even if there are some legitimate contacts in there, it’s not worth hitting all the bad ones too.
Here’s why: ISPs (internet service providers) give you a “sender score” that determines how trustworthy your emails are. Everything about your emails impacts that score, for better or worse.
Let’s say you’ve got a list of 1000 cold contacts. Half of them are real actual people, and half of them are a mix of mistyped or outdated addresses, spam traps, and other generally unhelpful entries.
Right off the bat, a large portion of your emails are going to hard bounce – that is, they’ll fail to be delivered because, for example, the address doesn’t actually exist.
That’s already going to impact your sender score, because it’s a signal that you’re not taking care of who is on your contact list.
Spam traps – email addresses that exist solely to identify spam – won’t cause hard bounces, but they represent even more of a problem. If you reach a spam trap more than once, you’re at very high risk of being blacklisted.
Ending up on a blacklist is a one-way ticket to the spam folder.
As for the “real people” half of your list, there’s risks there too. Some of your messages will land in spam folders. Some will be ignored. Some people will unsubscribe. Some might even flag your message a spam.
All of which damages your sender score even more. And that’s without considering the kind of content in the message itself.
Takeaway: You need to make sure your cold contact list has been through an email verification service – a process that cleans out the invalid addresses, spam traps, and other bad data.
This is generally a third-party service you need to pay for. If you’re using Clickback MAIL, however, there’s one built in.
Where to Get Good Lists
If your list is mostly bad data, it will naturally be a lot smaller after it’s been cleansed. This is obviously not ideal – especially if you’re paying for a list.
You can minimize that by sourcing your lists from reputable data providers (here’s a great article on where to purchase good lists).
They’ll generally have been verified by the vendor. You still need to run the list through another check before you send to it, though; even the best-quality lists decay over time.
Content is Critical Too
So far we’ve talked a lot about the technical side of spam filters, but your actual email content is just as important.
In a nutshell, it if looks like spam, it will get treated like spam. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to create perfectly valid content that will nonetheless send red flags to spam filters.
Spam filters keep an eye out for a wide variety of typical spam signals. These range from particular words and phrases to capitalization, punctuation, image-to-text ratio, font styles, and more.
If you need tips for crafting emails that don’t scare spam filters and still generate opens and clicks, our guide to cold email copywriting will help.
Keeping all of that in mind while writing is a chore. If you’re using Clickback MAIL, though, it has a built-in feature that worries about that for you. It checks your content in real-time and notifies you if there’s anything in your content that might alert spam filters.
For Best Results, Use the Best Platform
There’s a lot to think about when you’re sending cold email campaigns. You can make it easier on yourself with Clickback MAIL.
It handles all the technical concerns like email list cleaning, sender score, and content checking. You can focus on writing awesome campaigns and let the software worry about the rest for you.