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Top 10 E-Marketing Mistakes

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When using e-marketing or email communications, it’s better to focus on what is likely to arrive, than on what might look good on your computer screen. In other words, think about how the email will appear when delivered.

Here are 10 e-marketing mistakes to avoid:

  1. Do not use an enhanced email signature. If your email signature (your name, contact info, etc.) uses a large font, is boldfaced or appears in a different color, this is called “shouting” in email jargon. Outlook junk mail filters and corporate email filters don’t like this. Your email is more likely to get caught by a spam filter or land in an email junk folder. This is true for large scale e-marketing campaigns as well as individual emails.
  2. Don’t use an HTML email. These days, text-based emails stand a better chance of getting past junk mail and corporate email filters than HTML emails. Also, if you’re using HTML, you’re more likely to take advantage of special fonts. (See number one.)
  3. Avoid the word “free.” It’s one of the most common words activating junk mail and corporate email filtering. It’s right up there with the prescription drug names and other spam alert words and phrases.
  4. Don’t use colored fonts. Spam filters will sometimes filter these out because they think they are advertisements.
  5. Don’t italicize, underline or use exclamation points. Again, this is a form of shouting.
  6. Avoid rush words or phrases. “Act now,” “offer good today,” “respond soon” and “sale ends tomorrow” are examples of rush words or phrases. These are big red flags for filters.
  7. Avoid using your personal email for business communication. AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail accounts, for example, can cause two issues for spam filters. These personal email accounts are often the source of “spammy” emails—you’ve probably seen these in your junk mail folders—as they are free to set up and easy to abandon. Thus, if you use any type of special characters (shouting) or accidental use of rush words from these types of accounts, your subsequent emails will be flagged as spam. A business email address conveys a more professional image and is easy to set up.
  8. Avoid Bayesian poisoning. Odd or complex phrasing can invoke something called Bayesian poisoning, which appears to be an attempt to bypass Bayesian spam filtering and results in your email looking like spam. The best way to avoid this is the old “simpler is better” rule. Keep your e-marketing campaign emails simple and succinct whenever possible.
  9. Avoid graphics when possible. Graphics often display poorly, especially for text-based email clients. When sending individual emails, don’t assume what you see is what they get. You can never be sure how it will be rendered by the receiver’s program. Not only can graphics give your email a poor look and feel, they can increase the likelihood that it will be flagged as spam.
  10. Don’t include too many graphics above the fold. When you deem it necessary to send graphically rich emails, such as newsletters, make sure the delivered email can render professionally if the graphics are stripped. The best way to check this is to send a test email to a text-based email client and observe the results. In cases where you deem them important, graphics can be conveyed as a link to a webpage or you can embed the images. Just make sure that the email is still professional and recognizable to a text-based client.

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Alan Blume is an author, and as founder and CEO of StartUpSelling Inc., he works with small businesses on lead generation, sales, marketing, website design and branding. For more information, go to