Alert Solutions Blog

Avoid the Email Spam Trap: Don’t Include These Words in Your Subject Line

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Oct 15, 2015 @ 13:10 PM

Your email marketing campaign’s subject line, though maybe just a few words, is very important. So important, that it not only helps get your email marketing campaigns opened, but also helps get them delivered in the first place.

Email spam filters are what draw the bridge between subject lines and successful email deliverability. Just one word or phrase to trigger the spam filter, and your email marketing campaign may never reach its intended recipient.

HubSpot has helpfully shared their list of keywords that may trigger email spam filters. Here is just a small sampling of words and phrases to avoid:EmailSpamTrap

Financial: Cheap, Debt, Discount, Income, Insurance, Money, Price

General: Freedom, Hidden, Password, Sample

Marketing: Click, Form, Marketing, Performance, Sale(s), Subscribe

Email spam filters can also be triggered by multiple-word phrases. Some examples are, “month trial offer” and “get out of debt”.

QUESTION: Do email spam filters scan the content of the email body too?

ANSWER: YES! Filters scan both the subject line and body of the email for words or phrases that could deem the email as spam.

As a reminder, subject lines are just one part of your email marketing campaign’s successful deliverability. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are increasingly reliant on an email sender’s reputation, which is based on the following five factors:

1. Volume
2. “Hard Bounce” Rate
3. Spam Filter Hits
4. Complaint Rates
5. Authentication

To see the full list of spam filter triggers from HubSpot, click here. It’s a good resource to have next time you’re crafting a subject line!

To learn what else can be done to improve email marketing deliverability, download Alert Solutions’ Email Deliverability Guide.

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Topics: email deliverability, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Email Marketing Experts Share Their Biggest Email Deliverability Hurdles

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 @ 12:07 PM

According to Return Path, one of the biggest challenges facing email marketers today is that they don’t understand their email deliverability problems.

To make matters worse, email marketers usually don’t have access to the decision data that causes emails to be blocked by email providers and spam filters in the first place.

This is why it’s increasingly important for email marketers to understand the root causes as to why their email marketing campaigns don’t make it to the inbox. A recent blog post from MarketingSherpa helps to makes sense of it all.

Here are some of the biggest email deliverability hurdles according to email marketing experts:emaildeliverabilityhurdles

Hurdle #1: Email List Quality
Return Path suggests companies should keep a close eye on their email lists to make sure they’re updated and relevant. Poor list hygiene can be responsible for poor sender reputations among email providers, which leads to reduced email deliverability. Before clicking ‘Send’, it’s also important to make sure your lists are segmented correctly to provide recipients with the most relevant content.
Hurdle #2: Email Content
What’s relevant to one recipient may not be relevant to the next. This is the lesson behind email content; there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality anymore. In addition to content, the frequency of the email marketing campaigns you send is also preferential to many subscribers, so be sure to pay attention to it!
Hurdle #3: Technical Problems
Have you taken a technical approach to email deliverability? Email providers are relying more and more on email authentication technology such as SPF and SenderID to verify incoming messages. If your emails aren’t equipped, it may be contributing to your deliverability hurdle.
Don’t forget: Email message size can affect email deliverability, too! Check out our recent blog post.
For more information on improving your email marketing deliverability, download Alert Solutions’ Email Deliverability Guide!

Download Now!

Topics: email deliverability, marketing lists, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Need an Email Deliverability Boost? Check Your Message Size

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, May 21, 2015 @ 10:05 AM

An email message that is never delivered can never be read. This is the importance of email deliverability. But while many best practices are in consideration when creating an email marketing campaign, one factor sometimes goes forgotten: message size.

Does message size affect email deliverability? It sure does!

Consider the following topics:

1. How is message size determined?
The length and width of your email, as well as the amount of content and HTML formatting is what makes up your email’s size. The size of any images has no effect on email deliverability, although some spam filters flag messages with an unbalanced text to image ratio.
2. What size email marketing campaign is best?EmailMessageSize
Although there are many recommendations in the industry, the general consensus is that each email marketing campaign should not exceed a certain message size. Email testing and analytics company Email on Acid found that sending an email marketing campaign in excess of 100KB triggered the most spam filters. There is no evidence to suggest that the larger the message size, the more spam filters it will be caught in.
3. How can I create the email I want while staying within limit?
Content remains pivotal to the success of an email marketing campaign, so you must use it wisely. Target Marketing suggests template width limits of 500 pixels, especially when sending to both desktop and mobile recipients. Don’t forget! Some email service providers clip messages that are lengthy.
4. Does this include attachments?
No! Your email size does not include the size of any attached files. Alert Solutions recommends the attachment size not exceed 3MB, as anything larger could also negatively affect email deliverability.
Want to learn about more email marketing deliverability tips? Download our Email Deliverability Guide today!

 Download Now!

Topics: email deliverability, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Improve Email Deliverability in the New Year – 3 Tips to Follow

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jan 15, 2015 @ 12:01 PM

We discuss email deliverability a lot on our blog. That’s because it’s one of the most important factors in determining your email marketing ROI. After all, the better chance your email reaches the inbox, the better chance for a conversion!

Did you know that, according to Return Path, as much as 13% of email marketing messages sent in the US fail to be delivered? It’s likely some of your email marketing campaigns suffer the same fate.

Tried-and-true email deliverability tactics, such as regular list scrubbing and clear unsubscribe methods, are probably in place already at your organization.

But for businesses looking to get more out of their email deliverability rates in 2015, consider the following email_deliverability1unique tips:

1. Make Sure Your Email Marketing Campaigns are Authenticated
In short, email service providers increasingly rely on email authentication technology such as SPF and SenderID to verify incoming messages. Allow your emails to be authenticated by completing changes to your DNS settings. For more info: check this blog post or contact our email marketing experts.

2. Implement Unsubscribe Surveys
What better way to analyze your unsubscribes than to know the root cause? Implement unsubscribe surveys or feedback loops as a proactive approach to improve email deliverability down the road.

3. Launch Reactivation Email Marketing Campaigns
Inactive subscribers can hurt your email deliverability rates. But before removing these emails from your list, try launching a reactivation campaign to spur any residual interest.

Looking for more email deliverability tips and tricks? Read more articles under our email deliverability tag and download Alert Solutions’ Email Deliverability Guide today!

Download Now!

Topics: email deliverability, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Converting Email Subscribers to Loyal Customers - 3 Steps to Follow

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 @ 14:10 PM

Email marketing campaigns are essential tools for businesses to utilize in order to promote their company.  Email marketing campaigns help build relationships with their subscribers and convert them to customers. Sometimes just one email reminder with a little personalization and a call to action can keep the email subscriber intrigued until they are ready to commit to being your customer.

Here are 3 helpful steps to convert your email subscriber into a loyal customer.

1. Follow up with the email subscriber by sending triggered email marketing campaigns.
Email subscribers may go to your website with the intention of purchasing a product or service, and never finish the process, or they may not finish signing up for an additional email subscriber list but still give their email address. Keeping track of a potential customer’s data will allow you to send triggered email marketing campaigns. Triggered email marketing campaigns will get a potential customers attention, and have a click through rate at an estimated 152% higher than traditional emails, and 50% higher open rates.persondoingemailsurvey-1

2. Personalize the email marketing campaign to ensure the email subscriber knows they are important.
Statistics from a Marketingland article has shown personalized email marketing campaigns, “lift transaction rates and revenue per email six times higher than non-personalized emails.” A few examples of personalizing an email marketing campaign are including the subscriber’s name, and making the customer feel like they are a VIP or exclusive club member. Providing the customer with information like sneak previews of new products or services or providing them with a first look at a top-secret sale. When a customer feels appreciated, and they respect your brand – they are more likely to convert from a subscriber to a new customer.

3. Call to actions need to be clear and related to the email marketing campaign.
Every email should include at least one call to action (CTA) to engage your subscriber. They should be directed to participate in a sale, use a promotion code or visit your website. If the email subscriber is attracted and likes what you have to offer, they are more apt to click the link in the email marketing campaign. The CTA should be clearly defined, straight to the point and easy to see and access, so there is no confusion on what the CTA is representing.

- Use A/B testing to optimize the use of your email marketing campaign.
- Your email marketing campaign design should match your brand and website.

Customer conversion is crucial to growing your company. It is important to stay connected with your email subscribers as they are your potential future customers.

Looking for more helpful tips to improve your email marketing campaign? Download our Targeted Email Marketing Guide today.

Topics: email deliverability, personalization, audience targeting, trigger campaigns, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Get Your Email Marketing Campaign Delivered to the Inbox - 4 Dos and Don’ts

Posted by Erika Scialdone on Thu, Oct 02, 2014 @ 14:10 PM

Email marketing campaigns are a great way to inform and communicate with your current customers and prospects. Major issues some businesses face with email deliverability include when their email marketing campaign is marked as spam or when the subscriber unsubscribes. Is your company dealing with these issues today? Here are 4 do and 4 don’t tips that may help you keep new and old subscribers engaged, and interested!


1. Use Double Opt-In
Did you know 22% of opt-in email marketing campaigns don’t make it to the inbox? Have subscribers give their email address willingly and confirm the email once they have subscribed. In return, your company will have a better list of subscribers, and fewer emails will bounce back.

2. Have an Easy-to-Find Unsubscribe Link
When subscribers cannot find the unsubscribe link, the email marketing campaign you sent will most likely end up in the spam folder.

3. Set Expectations and Meet Them
Provide subscribers with a description of what they are signing up for, details about information they will receive and how often email marketing campaigns will be sent.
4. Follow Spam Laws
It doesn’t matter where your business is located, be sure to follow the CAN-SPAM Act and/or follow the anti-spam laws when you send emails.


1. Use Rented or Purchased Lists
Sending unwilling subscribers emails is violating their privacy. Send email marketing campaigns to opt-in subscribers only.

2. Include HTML Forms, JavaScript, Flash or ActiveX
Using the above codes may be rerouting your email marketing campaigns directly to spam, even if your subscriber has opted-in. Use proper HTML code for a clean email.

3. Link to IP Address or Unknown Websites
If there is a single link or domain located in an email, it could be associated with other complaints and delivered to

4. Email Sporadically
When email marketing campaigns are sent on a different date and time every month, subscribers are more likely to forget who your company is, and why they wanted to receive your emails. 

Follow these simple steps to a better subscribing list, and enhance your company’s ability for email marketing campaigns to be sent directly to the inbox.

To learn more about how Alert Solutions helps optimize the delivery of your email marketing campaigns, download our Email Deliverability Worksheet today, or for other blogs on email marketing best practices click here

Topics: email deliverability, compliance, email marketing, email marketing best practices

DMARC Specifications and Email Messaging: What Senders Need to Know

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 @ 14:07 PM

DMARC, which stands for "Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance", is a technical specification which asks mailbox providers not to deliver unauthorized email messages that appear to have been sent from the same domain. This helps reduce the potential for email-based abuse.

DMARC standardizes how email receivers perform email authentication such as SPF and DKIM. This means that senders will experience consistent authentication results for their email messages at AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! and any other email receiver implementing DMARC.

emaildelayWhat does this mean? 

Companies will no longer be able to send a bulk message from the domains, such as or, that have adopted DMARC.  For companies that do attempt to do this, any recipient who uses an email account provider implementing DMARC will not receive the email.

Until DMARC, there was no “official” rule that banned you from sending a bulk email message from an AOL email account.   Now Internet Services Providers are using DMARC to tell their users email accounts with their domain are not to be used for anything other than sending a personal message.

Companies should be aware of these changes in order to ensure their email marketing campaigns and other email notifications are being received.  By implementing DMARC, senders can receive detailed periodic reports, indicating which messages were rejected and why.  

DMARC is also beneficial in preventing spoofing/phishing of their domain. Since all non-aligned messages are rejected, SPAM sent using that domain would not go through either, which can help protect your brand.

For more information on email marketing best practices, download our email deliverability guide.

Download Now!

Topics: email deliverability, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws (CASL) to Take Effect July 1,2014 - Are You in Compliance?

Posted by Nina Russo on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 14:04 PM

Businesses should be very familiar with the CAN-SPAM laws in the United States in order to protect consumers from unwanted email solicitation.  In a previous blog post we had compared CAN-SPAM laws to Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL).  Although CASL has many similarities to CAN-SPAM, it is imperative that businesses with electronic marketing campaigns involving Canada completely understand CASL regulations, and are in compliance before it takes effect July 1, 2014.

According to a recent Return Path article, Neil Schwartzman, one of the foremost CASL experts and Executive Director for the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE) shared some highlights of the updated CASL regulations including:

  1. No Double-Jeopardy

    canadaantispam resized 600

If a Canadian sends an unsolicited commercial electronic message (spam) to anothercountry, CASL does not apply. In this case, the anti-spam legislation in that country would apply.   A table of specified countries will be provided. Conversely, individuals and companies sending electronic messaging of any sort must have implied or express opt-in consent to do so; CASL applies to them.

  1. Software Updates

The regulations are better defined for updates of software previously installed. There will be no full-disclosure notification necessary.

  1. Carve-Out for Fundraising

The law will not apply to registered Canadian political parties and charities attempting to fundraise through email. However, they must comply with the guidelines applicable to unsubscribe requests. Note that for American political parties and charities, the law does apply.

Schwartzman also cautions that one of the largest issues a business could face is in dealing with third-party email senders and marketers.  If a business is sending their creative through a list broker, and that broker’s list is not CASL compliant, the liability will be linked to that business providing the creative.  He believes the only safe and reasonable manner to manage this is through the placement of creative in existing newsletters, provided that the list-owner is CASL compliant.

In the article, Schwartzman also touches upon the implied consent grandfathering clause, which provides a reasonable timeframe to gain affirmative consent. A business has six months of implied consent for an inquiry. If the sender closes business with that recipient this is converted to a two-year period of implied consent. By sustaining a relationship with the recipient and tracking purchases and interactions, CASL compliance can be easily attained and maintained.

To read the full article click here.

Topics: email deliverability, compliance, email marketing

Email Deliverability – Timing is Key to Email Marketing Campaign Success

Posted by Cassie Breen on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 @ 14:03 PM

Today, email marketing is a large part of how businesses communicate with their customers.  Businesses can reach a large audience instantaneously; however, there are challenges in making sure an email marketing campaign is successful.

Even though an email is reaching you customers’ inboxes, it is not guaranteed that they will even see the email.  It is also a challenge to produce successful open rates and click-through rates from an email marketing campaign.

If your email deliverability is lacking, what could be the issue?  A recent article discusses how timing could play a large part in the success of email marketing campaigns and drastically impact email deliverability.  Dan Zarella from Hubspot conducted research on the best times and days to send your email marketing campaign.  Here is a breakdown of his findings:

  • 10pm–6am: This is the dead zone, when hardly any emails get opened.CustomerRoutine resized 600

  • 6am–10am: Consumer-based marketing emails are best sent early in the morning.

  • 10am-noon: Most people are working, and probably won’t open your email.

  • Noon–2pm: News and magazine updates are popular during lunch breaks.

  • 2–3pm: After lunch lots of people buckle down and ignore their inbox.

  • 3–5pm: Property and financial-related offers are best sent in the early afternoon.

  • 5–7pm: Holiday promotions & B2B promotions get opened mostly in the early evening.

  • 7–10pm: Consumer promotions are popular again after dinner.

Understanding this breakdown can help your email marketing campaigns get noticed in your customers’ inboxes.  Sending your emails at just the right time can help produce greater open rates and click through rates, leading to a more successful email marketing campaign.

To learn more about improving your email deliverability download our best practice kit.

Download Now!

Topics: email deliverability, email marketing

A Lesson in Email Deliverability – What’s with the delay?

Posted by Cassie Breen on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 @ 15:06 PM

One of the most utilized tools by individuals and businesses today is email.  Unlike “snail mail”, email campaigns give us the ability to connect with numerous people almost instantaneously.  However, because of the expectation of immediate email delivery, an issue rises with email delivery delays

When an expected email campaign is not received immediately after sending, many people may become annoyed and not understand why.  In order to understand email delivery delays, you must understand the delivery process of an email campaign:

1.)  Once you click send, the email is sent to an email server.

2.)  The mail server looks at the email campaign and determines where the message needs to be sent according to DNS records the recipient has set up.

3.)  The message is then sent and, many times, goes through an intermediary server set up as a spam filter or archive server.

4.)  The receiving server then sends the message off to the recipient’s email server.

5.)  The recipient then retrieves their message from their email server in their inbox.

Are there more steps than you thought?  Often, people do not realize the complexity of the email delivery process.  The Internet is a complex series of computers, connected via wires, fiber optics, and other computers. An email campaign travels a long distance, and a breakdown at any step along the way can cause the email to be delayed.

Since there are numerous steps in the process, there are a variety of sources for email delivery delays.  Here are some of the most common causes:

  • User Error

  • Spam Filters

  • Grey Lists

  • Black Lists

  • Internet Connectivity Problems

Most of the time, many email delivery delays cannot be solved after an email is sent.  So if an email campaign is expected to be received and isn’t, many times, all someone can do is check with the sender and have them resend if necessary.  You may need to check email address mistakes, spam filters, etc. to find the missing email or the email deliverability issue.

For these reasons, it is important to have an email service provider that monitors email campaign deliverability.

For more email deliverability tips and tricks, download Alert Solutions’ Email Deliverability Best Practice Kit today!

Topics: email deliverability, email marketing, email marketing best practices

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