Posted by Divya Tandan on Jan 23, 2022
You and your organization rely on the smooth flow of communication between members to share important information. If your emails are being blocked or identified as spam, it creates a disconnect in your organization because important details may be missed.
All email clients now have automatic spam filters that rate every incoming message according to set criteria to determine whether or not they might be spam. While it isn't possible to predict every factor an email client uses to identify spam, it is possible to adopt some basic practices to help avoid having your organization's messages get blocked or get relegated to the junk folder.

Know what spam sounds like

Spam filters check the entire content of your message and detect certain factors, phrases, and wording they regard as spam and then score your email. The filters analysis is largely based on what others have identified as spam in the past. If your message reads too much like previously identified spam mail, they will mark it as spam as well. So how does spam exactly sound? Think about all the phrases all those emails you move to your junk mail contain. Talking about large sums of money, including words like 'free' or using 'dollar signs' in your subject line, excessive use of exclamation points, all are indicators of what is considered a possible spam message. SpamAssassin, a mail filter used to identify spam shared a sample set of criteria that if found in your email results in a higher spam score:
  • Money back guarantee (2.051 points)
  • Contains urgent matter (.288 points)
  • Talks about lots of money (.193 points)
  • Describes some sort of breakthrough (.232 points)
  • Looks like a mortgage pitch (.297 points)
After accumulating all points, if your spam score exceeds a certain threshold, your email will go directly to the recipients junk folder.

Know what spam looks like

Your words aren’t the only thing that gets your messages marked as spam. The appearance of the email can also trigger the spam filters. Things like brightly colored fonts, image to text ratio, emails containing large attachments, all are factors that lead your email directly to the junk folder.

Let's consider the following email:
“Our association is on the verge of an IMPORTANT BREAKTHROUGH!!!! Over the last year, we have RAISED almost $50,000 from our community for our Educate2Network initiative. We NEED TO RAISE ANOTHER $5,000 BY THE END OF THIS MONTH in order to set our fundraising record!! If we manage to do this, the state office will MATCH the donations collected DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR and invest that sum back into our program!!!! We NEED YOUR HELP! 

Clearly, the content in this message is important for the organization, and while the thought behind capitalizing, highlighting and using different font sizes certain phrases might be to draw attention to those points, the reality is, that by doing so, you increase the risk of low email delivery rates. Did you know that the use bright of colors, especially red and green and using fonts that are too big or small are triggers that flag emails as spam.

Avoid sounding like an ad. Skip the sales pitch language whenever possible, reduce technical jargon and keep your message as simple as you can. The same concept also applies to your newsletters. 

Spam filters also look behind the visible text and images, at the source code of your message. If your email is formatted with buggy HTML the spam filters might flag it as malicious code, which is why we never recommend copying content directly out of Microsoft Word to an email editor, but rather pasting your content from Word to a program like Notepad first, and then to your email editor. This is because when you paste content directly from a software like Word, you unknowingly also copy all the invisible formatting code used by that software. Within MemberNova, you can also use the "Paste from Word" option, which will remove all the additional code, leaving you with a beautiful email, ready to be sent.

When you use MemberNova to send your emails to members, your message is sent through our servers and we take great care to ensure that our sender reputation remain high with ISP's. We'll always do everything we can to combat factors that we can control to reduce spam scores.