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Kick the Can-Spam

Fri, Dec 14, 2012

Last week we talked about what spam emails were and how your emails can – unfortunately for you – end up being classified as spam. This week, we’re going to tell you how to get rid of some of your spam and how to avoid making your emails spam-tastic!

  • You could very well get spam-filtering software.

If you’re uninterested in cheating spouses, Viagra, the FBI investigating you, pirates kidnapping your family (when did your brother go to Senegal?), etc., you can set up a filter so that way your email inbox blocks any emails with these words in the subject. You can find out more about the different types of spam filters here – their explanation is far more technical than I am qualified to speak about. Spam-filtering software’s a blessing and a curse, since it can end up filtering out emails that you want to receive based on key words you wanted blocked. A perfect example from HowStuffWorks is this:

If your friend sends you her favorite recipe for baked chicken breasts, the filter blocks the e-mail because of the word "breasts."

Vegetarianism is your inbox’s best friend.

  • You could also opt-out.

Europe went the smart way with this legislative campaign and decided to do an opt-in campaign; anyone who specifically wanted spam would sign onto this list, and anyone who h/t arnoldzwickydidn’t register wouldn’t receive spam because they weren’t on the list. Instead, the US legislation chose to do an opt-out campaign, so if you’re not on the “please exclude me from spam” list you’re going to get spammed – hard. Avoid signing up for as many newsletters as you can, and if you’re unhappy with the amount you’re already receiving, unsubscribe to as many as you can. It can be more annoying than a two-hour commute home on a Friday, but unlike that commute, you only have to unsubscribe once.

How can you avoid making your own emails into spam?

  • Avoid spammy wording. This one seems simple enough, but if you’re sending a mass email about a gender study, use the word “gender”. I know the subject “What Does the Opposite Sex Think of You?” may seem eye-catching and intriguing to you. But the wrong wording can send your thoughtfully creative piece right into someone’s email trash.

  • Provide an unsubscribe option. If you’re using an automated email service like Constant Contact or iContact, the unsubscribe option will already be put in your emails. It’s part of the CAN-SPAM laws, but if you forget this wording on an email you conjure up for 300 of your closest colleagues, you could end up in more trouble than finding yourself in the spam level of email hell.

  • Check your email – and then check it again. Use your own spam filters as a test to see if your message is getting through to your own inbox. If it’s not – there’s a problem, and your spam software may tell you what the trigger words are.

Now that you’re armed with this new knowledge, go forth into the email world and spread your good marketing words!

As always, credit should be given where credit is due, and thank you to the writers at HowStuffWorks for a highly informative article on spam.