Most mailing software these days will allow you to personalize your mailings, and, not surprisingly, most commercial emailers take advantage of this, personalizing their mailings in all sorts of ways. Using the recipient's actual name when addressing them seems like it should be a really good idea. But it isn't always the best idea. In fact, here are 3 reasons that personalizing your subject lines, in particular, can get you in trouble with spam filters and users, and kill your email deliverabilty.
Last week we talked about how if your email is not "mobile friendly", that is, if it doesn't render well on mobile devices, your email will not bring you the results for which you are hoping. And because once someone reads your email on their mobile device, they aren't as likely to read it on their computer, this is very important. Remember that open and click-through rates can directly affect your deliverability.
I'm sure that you know that more and more people are reading email on the go (I, for example, read a large percentage of my email on my Sidekick, many others read email on their Blackberrys). In fact last year Marketing Sherpa determined that 64% of key decision makers are reading email on their mobile devices. Reading your email on their mobile devices. Have you ever stopped to think about what that means in terms of your email deliverability?
Here's a word that is guaranteed to kill your email deliverability rate: debt. There is so much spam out there talking about debt, that the spam filters are eating just about anything featuring the word, especially in the subject line.
Here's a very basic thing to remember: one of the main reasons that people (or ISPs) may mistake your email for spam is because, in fact, the content of your email makes it look like spam. Remember that old saw, that "content is king"? Well, content can also be the joker, where the joke is on you. Because if your content is garish or gaudy, then instead of getting the royal treatment, it will go straight to the junk folder.
We see fewer and fewer sites with Tell-a-Friend ("TAF") forms and links these days - and we see fewer Tell a Friend links in email, as well - and there's a reason for it. Generally Tell-a-Friend links don't really generate much quality traffic, while they can bring deliverability trouble. In fact, there are a couple of different ways that exhorting your readers to "tell a friend" can cause you problems. (Tell-a-friend refers to asking your readers to, well, "tell a friend" about your article, page, etc., and providing them with a mechanism to easily tell a friend.)
Most of us probably remember George Carlin's (may he rest in peace) "7 Words You Can't Say on TV". What fewer of us realize is that there is a list of words that you can't say in email - at least, not if you want your email to get into the inbox. And, actually, there are a whole lot more of them than seven.