Cold Email Best Practices: How to Avoid Spam Filters and Get Results

Cold Email Best Practices: How to Avoid Spam Filters and Get Results

Cold email is an uphill battle every step of the way. Even getting your campaigns into your recipients’ inbox is hard. The last thing you want is your emails getting caught in spam filters.

Once you’ve weeded out bad data, dodged spam traps, and passed muster at all the various spam filters, the real work begins: convincing the recipient to open your email and start reading.

And then convincing them to read the second sentence. And then the next one, and so on. Then, if you’re really good, convincing them to click your CTA.

It’s a tough nut to crack, but don’t worry. Here are some cold email best practices to help you get real results.

Cold Email Best Practices: How to Avoid Spam Filters and Get Results

Every single step, you need to convince them to keep going. Cold recipients aren’t like the contacts on a warm list – they have no reason to spend time on your email, no previous touchpoints that might make them interested in what you have to say.

As tough as it is to generate engagement from cold prospects, it’s incredibly easy to lose it. If your subject line draws them in, but your first sentence is weak, they’re probably already gone.

Deliverability is Key

Before you consider how to create and maintain engagement, you need to be able to actually get your email in front of your recipients. In other words, in their inbox.

For opted-in lists, it’s as easy as hitting send. With cold contacts, it’s not so simple. A number of factors need to align in order to reliably hit inboxes without risking deliverability or, even worse, blacklisting.

How to Hit Inboxes

First and foremost is the quality of your contact list. Contrary to what some marketers believe, using a purchased list is absolutely fine – as long as you get it from a reputable data provider.

If your list is from a more dubious source, it will be riddled with bad data and spam traps. Low-quality lists are often comprised of addresses gleaned from scraping tools – software that scours the internet for email addresses and collects them into lists.

Scrapers invariably result in poor data – email addresses that no longer exist (or never existed in the first place), spam traps, and so on. Even when the contacts they collect actually exist, they’re not targeted.

Sending to these lists is a quick way to get blacklisted as a spammer – a death sentence for your email marketing.

Even the best-quality email lists can have bad addresses and spam traps, as every email list deteriorates over time.

Bad addresses – email addresses that, for whatever reason, result in hard bounces – are bad for deliverability. Spam traps are email addresses that are used for the sole purpose of identifying spammers, and you really don’t want them in your email list.

Hit too many spam traps and your IP and domain will get blacklisted, meaning that your email marketing will be constantly flagged as spam.

Weeding out all that bad information is one of the biggest ways you can boost your chances of success. To do that, you need an email list verifier – a tool that goes through each contact on your list and checks it, removing bad data.

How to Avoid Spam Filters

The easy answer is: don’t send spam. Which is all well and good, but what does that mean?

On a technical level, spam filters are looking for the telltale signs that an email send is spammy. They do this by calculating your domain’s sender score (which we’ll get to in a minute). This takes into account things like:

    Whether your domain or IP is suddenly sending a large volume of emails all at once.

    If your email engagement rates are poor (things like open and click rates).

    Whether you’re on a blacklist.

    If your email uses typical spam language and formatting (like “FREE!!!” and “Buy Now” and other common spam content).

    If you’re regularly getting a high bounce rate (i.e. emails hitting non-existent addresses and so on).

    If people are reporting your emails as spam.

These sorts of negative indicators will reduce your IP or domain sender score, which in turn tells spam filters that your emails might not be very trustworthy and could be spam.

Creating Messages That Convert

When writing copy for cold emails, it’s important to always keep in mind that you’re asking the recipient to unexpectedly take time out of their day to read your message.

Regardless of whether you’re promoting an event, launching a new product, offering a demo, or just trying to open up a dialogue, be respectful of the reader’s time.

That means making the value of your message crystal-clear, and not taking forever to get to the point.

For a deep dive into how to write exceptional, effective cold email copy, check out this guide.

Make It Easy on Yourself

As you can tell, there’s a rather technical side to cold emailing that you might not expect. The easiest way to deal with that is to use a platform that handles it for you.

Let’s recap the most important technical things you need to consider for cold email: using an email verifier, keeping your sender score up, and watching out for spammy content.

Expo Email is an email platform built expressly to make cold campaigns as easy and effective as possible. It handles all those critical things for you.

It has a built-in email verifier that automatically runs your contact list through a series of rigorous hygiene checks when you upload it, clearing out bad data and spam traps.

When you send campaigns with Expo Email, it uses its own proprietary IPs and domains – your sender score is kept pristine.