I have no doubt that you have read all kinds of things about email deliverability, including getting your email address whitelisted with all the major ISPs and so on. Well, let me give you the straight deal on this.
Don’t waste your time.
Let me explain why with a very simple example.
You contact AOL and Yahoo and all those big guys and go through all that red tape to get your domain whitelisted. Great. Then some affiliate of yours spams the hell out of the Internet with your URLs and you’re on the backlist so fast your head is spinning.
You don’t have to do one thing wrong to get blacklisted. Spam complaints, regardless of whether you have done anything or not, will get you blacklisted…end of story.
Now, you can go on throughout your life making a business of contacting ISPs and filling out forms, or you can just go through the process of creating emails that aren’t likely to get filtered regardless of what domain you have. I have one domain that has been on the blacklist thanks to stupid affiliates for over a year now, and yet I still have over 98% deliverability of my emails.
The reason is that I don’t try fancy tricks with my emails and write to people like they’re supposed to be written to.
In other words, you see all those neat little things that marketers do like spelling free…
And a whole lot of other variations? Guess what? They don’t work. Today’s spam filters are actually looking for all these tricks and as a result, your emails will actually have less chance of being delivered with them than if you just spelled words the way they’re supposed to be spelled.
Now, having said that, there are a few things that you want to try to avoid when sending emails because they will lower your deliverability. I’m going to go over some of the main ones here.
This has nothing to do with the domain. I’m talking about the front part of your email address. Email addresses like [email protected] will have a lower deliverability than [email protected] The reason is that most spammers will use email addresses with numbers in them. So spam filters look for these addresses. So refrain from using numbers in your email address.
Sad to say, certain kinds of content, legit or not, is going to be labeled as spam. For you people who are in the adult niche, forget it. Email marketing is going to be extremely difficult for you to break into. Just about any keyword associated with this niche will trigger most spam filters.
Another problem and this is so ironic given that this is something you MUST do when email marketing, is the actual can spam disclaimer and removal instructions. Most ISPs, when they see these, will issue spam points for them. I find this amusing considering that if you don’t use them, you’re actually spamming. Life is way too funny sometimes.
Okay, let’s actually talk about spam score and what it really means.
ISPs realize that legitimate emails may contain some words that fall in the area of spam but the email itself is legit. That is why each word and infraction is given a score. Some words carry a heavy penalty and some are extremely minor. It’s when all these words add up that our email is classified as spam.
But what’s the spam score that puts us over the edge?
Essentially, a spam score greater than 5 is going to put us at great risk of having our emails not being delivered by the major ISPs.
Okay, so how do we calculate this?
That’s where the real problems come in. I have tested several spam score programs and compared the results of one to another for the same email. The results are staggering to say the least.
The differential between spam scores using no less than a half dozen spam detectors can be as great as 3 points. That could easily be the difference between being labeled as spam and not.
So what do you do? Well, this is the theory that I have developed and it has worked very well for me so far. Use the highest score as your benchmark. In other words, if you use six different programs and your scores are as follows:
Assume that the 5.2 is the most accurate and that your email could very well be marked as spam. Yeah, I know, it’s human nature to want to believe the best and look at the 2.6 score and say “we’re safe” but my experience has been that in many cases, the highest score is the most accurate.
Why do I say in many cases?
Each spam calculator has a different algorithm. That means each one uses different keywords. A spam score of 5.2 for certain keywords may only be that high because it is including keywords that other programs don’t use. A different email may trigger a lower spam score for that filter while another filter that scored low on a previous email scored high on a different email.
In other words, the spam detector that scored the highest on email one may score the lowest on email two. The scores will NOT be consistent for each program. In most cases, yes, there will be some consistency. But in some cases, you will find anomalies.
Here is a list of keywords that are pretty consistent throughout most filters along with their scores. Do NOT take this as gospel but only a guideline.
Reverses aging 3.37
'Hidden' assets 3.28
stop snoring 3.26
Free investment 3.19
Dig up dirt on friends 3.12
Stock disclaimer statement 3.04
Multi-level marketing 3.01
Compare rates 2.83
Cable converter 2.75
Claims you can be removed from the list 2.70
Removes wrinkles 2.69
Compete for your business 2.57
free installation 2.51
Free grant money 2.50
Auto email removal 2.36
Collect child support 2.33
Free leads 2.29
Amazing stuff 2.26
Tells you it's an ad 2.21
Cash bonus 2.20
Promise you ...! 2.15
Claims to be in accordance with some spam law 2.11
Search engine listings 2.09
free preview 2.07
Credit bureaus 2.03
No investment 2.01
Serious cash 2.00
Now, there is a huge list of words that trigger between .2 and .5 for most filters, which isn’t very much at all. You will notice that “free” is on this list, meaning that it isn’t the big offender that people think it is, at least not by itself. And there are ways to get around the word free anyway that I will show you in a second.
Anyway, here’s the big list.
Accept credit cards
Act now! Don't hesitate!
Addresses on CD
As seen on
Auto email removal
Be your own boss
Being a member
Brand new pager
Cannot be combined with any other offer
Cancel at any time
Can't live without
Cell phone cancer scam
Cents on the dollar
Check or money order
Claims not to be selling anything
Claims to be in accordance with some spam law
Claims to be legal
Claims you are a winner
Claims you registered with some kind of partner
Click here link
Click to remove
Click to remove mailto
Compete for your business
Confidentially on all orders
Consolidate debt and credit
Stop snoring get it now
Credit card offers
Different reply to
Dig up dirt on friends
Discusses search engine listings
Do it today
Earn per week
Eliminate bad credit
Expect to earn
Fast Viagra delivery
Find out anything
For instant access
For just $ (some amt)
Free cell phone
Free grant money
Free hosting Free installation
Free priority mail
Get started now
Have you been turned down?
Human growth hormone
If only it were that easy
In accordance with laws
Join millions of Americans
Limited time only
Long distance phone offer
Lose weight spam
Lower interest rates
Lower monthly payment
Mail in order form
Message contains disclaimer
Money back Money making
Month trial offer
More Internet traffic
Multi level marketing
MLM Name brand
New customers only
New domain extensions
No age restrictions
No claim forms
No credit check
No medical exams
No purchase necessary
No questions asked
No strings attached
Offers extra cash
Offers free (often stolen) passwords
Once in lifetime
One hundred percent free
One hundred percent guaranteed
One time mailing
Online biz opportunity
Only $ Opportunity
Opt in Order now
Orders shipped by priority mail
Pennies a day
People just leave money laying around
Print form signature
Print out and fax
Produced and sent out
Profits Promise you ...!
Pure profit Real thing
Remove in quotes
Reply remove subject
Requires initial investment
Reserves the right
Round the world
S 1618 Safeguard notice
Save $ Save big money
Save up to Score with babes
Section 301 See for yourself
Sent in compliance
Serious cash Serious only
Shopping spree Sign up free today
Social security number
Stock alert Stock disclaimer statement
Stock pick Strong buy Stuff on sale
Subject to credit
Supplies are limited
Take action now
Talks about hidden charges
Talks about prizes
Tells you it's an ad
Terms and conditions
The best rates
The following form
They keep your money -- no refund!
They're just giving it away
This isn't junk This isn't spamming
Urgent US dollars
Viagra and other drugs
Wants credit card
We hate spam
We honor all
What are you waiting for?
While supplies last
While you sleep
Who really wins?
Why pay more?
Will not believe your eyes
Work at home
You have been selected
Okay, how do you get around the “for free” or “no cost” problem? Say you want to say in your email, “My report is for free” or “You can get my report at no cost.” Either one is going to get you hit with a couple of percentage points. What I do is use a saying that means the same thing but doesn’t use any words that trigger the spam filters.
Here’s what I do.
“You can get my report without digging into your wallet.”
“You can get my report without spending a penny.”
They say the same thing as free, but without the “free” trap.
Works like a charm.
Okay, what are the top online free spam checkers and what kind of results can you expect to get from them?
Well, to answer that, what I’ve done is put together an email that is almost certain to have the spam filters go wild and then I ran it through the sites.
Here’s the email.
Email Address: [email protected]
Subject: Free Report On Making Money Online
Want to make a lot of money online? I’ve got a free offer that is almost impossible to pass up. You’ll receive:
All risk free!
All you have to do is go to the site below and order now!
Okay, the first thing I did was run it through this site:
I received the following spam score and explanation
Now notice that the score is only 5.3 and that they say that over 13 is when you’re really in serious trouble. I don’t agree with this at all. Anything over 5 and you’re flirting with danger. I expected this score to be higher, but then again, it’s a short email too.
I then sent an email (yes, this site requires you email them) to:
I got back the following report:
Your TOTAL SPAM SCORE for your e-mail was 4.9.
How To Interpret Your Score:
The higher the score, the more likely the e-mail
will be considered spam by ISPs, which means the
more likely it is to get filtered. Levels...
0.0 - 4.5 - nice and clean, no problems except tiny
ones below; no action required
4.6 - 7.0 - the strictest may object; clean up the
easy-to-find issues (below)
7.1 - 10.0 - getting into dangerous territory; clean
up any big issues and the easy-to-find smaller ones
10.1 - 13.0 likely over ISP limits; requires good
review and cleaning up
13.1+ major problems; overhaul needed --
systematically clean, point by point and then
re-test (this may require two or three checks).
In order of importance, here are the mistakes that we found
in your e-mail...
(1.5 points) BODY: Free Leads
(1.1 points) URI: Includes a link to a likely spammer email
(0.9 points) From: ends in numbers
(0.7 points) BODY: Risk-free. Suuurreeee....
(0.3 points) From: does not include a real name
(0.3 points) BODY: Encourages you to waste no time in ordering
(0.1 points) An exceedingly large amount of HTML coding is often used to disguise common spam phrases. Consider reworking slightly.
(0.0 points) BODY: HTML included in a message
They seem to use the same formula and yet the score is lower. Strange.
I then sent the same message to:
I got the following back:
Again, we’re in that 5.0 area. So far, these have all been consistent.
I then ran the email through my Aweber account. Now, I value Aweber’s service and trust them for spam scores.
Here’s what I came up with from Aweber.
Notice it’s the lowest score of all of them. Now, what if they’re wrong? What if this is really a 5.3 email? If 5.0 is the severe cutoff point, that could mean the difference between your emails being delivered and not being delivered.
Okay, there is a bigger lesson in all this and here it is.
Take spam scores with a grain of salt. They’re only meant as a guide and not something you should write in stone. Sure, a score of 1.0 is a lot better than a score of 10, but for the most part, rely on your common sense and NOT on software.
In the next chapter, we’re going to go over one of the most important aspects of email marketing, especially when you’re talking about building your own list.
More specifically…how they heck do you get these people to opt-in, to begin with? I mean, if you can’t build a list, the emails aren’t going to do you any good.