Email spam on computer

Email marketing? How to avoid the spam filter

From polishing your reputation to using clean email lists, here are the keys to entering customer inboxes.

Email is the single most effective marketing tool for many businesses – and being blocked as an email spammer can be their biggest headache.

It’s getting more difficult to get into inboxes, as the battle between spammers and Internet service providers rages on. Nearly one in four commercial emails doesn’t make it to the inbox and is either shunted to spam folders or blocked altogether, according to a March report by Return Path, a New York email deliverability monitoring firm. Six months earlier, that figure was one in five.

Small companies often run afoul of spam filters, even if they have opt-in email lists of supposedly willing recipients. Many who are new to email marketing start off on the wrong foot, says Dennis Dayman, chief security and privacy officer at Eloqua, a Vienna, Va., marketing software and services company. “They ‘spray and pray’ and hope that someone will click and buy,” but are hit with angry complaints and find their emails blocked as spam, he says. Ironically, many companies send too few messages to have their way smoothed by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as known commercial email senders.

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