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No one likes to receive what they perceive as spam email. If an email that appears to be spam reaches an individual’s inbox, he or she is unlikely to take the time to open and read it. Instead, it’ll go straight to the trash bin.

However, for many people, this is a relatively rare occurrence. Email service providers have developed sophisticated methods of identifying and filtering out messages that are deemed likely to be spam.

Obviously, email marketers must strive to avoid having their messages fall into the spam filter. Here are three keys to achieving this end.

1. Subject lines
One of the primary ways that email service providers determine that an email is likely to be spam is by analyzing subject lines. Certain keywords, phrases, characters, or punctuation can be identified as signs that a given message is likely to be spam, and filters may disallow such emails from reaching a user’s inbox.

There are numerous online resources that can provide guidance on subject line best practices (and worst practices), but a few of the major tactics generally suggested to avoid include:

* Any use of the word “free”
* Writing in ALL CAPS
* Exclamation points and other non-alphabetical characters
*Personalization

2. IP address
Another key to ensure email advertising messages do not end up caught in the spam filter is acquiring and maintaining a strong IP address. According to Nye, some email service providers share a particular IP address among several of their clients. Usually, this is not an issue. However, IP address is another major factor that spam filters consider when determining which messages to let through and which to stop.

A company that shares an IP address with another firm that has garnered a reputation for sending spam email may find that other email service providers have difficulty distinguishing between the two of them, and both firms’ emails may be treated as spam.

3. CAN-SPAM compliance
CAN-SPAM compliance is critical not just to avoid breaking the law, but also to avoid spam filters. Email service providers will undoubtedly take note of any businesses charged with violating the CAN-SPAM Act, and that organization’s emails will thereafter be seen as likely spam.

By: Tom Wozniak, Executive Director of Marketing