Have you ever seen the ‘Unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of an email and wondered why it was there? Or why, when going through customers in your account that one is showing as having been ‘blacklisted’?
Australia as a nation takes unsolicited ‘SPAM’ seriously. In 2003, the Commonwealth of Australia introduced the SPAM Act (2003) legislation which gives the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) the power to regulate businesses who market to consumers via email, SMS, MMS or iM.
The main points of the Act include:
- Commercial messages should only be sent when you have consent, were (direct from the ACMA Spam Business Practical Guide):
- Your commercial messages should always contain clear and accurate identification of who is responsible for sending the message, and how they can be contacted.
- Your commercial messages should contain an un-subscribe facility, allowing people to indicate that such messages should not be sent to them in the future.
This last point directly ties to the opt-out link you’ve noticed at the bottom of those emails. To ensure you are compliant with the regulations (and are avoiding a hefty fine) we have hard-coded that option to Unsubscribe into our email footers. It allows our system to automatically process anyone that clicks on the link and removes them automatically from your account. This prevents you from sending them any further communications.
This ACMA Spam Act also regulates who you can send communications to. An important part of the SPAM Act to note is that ‘Commercial messages should only be sent when you have consent’. If you were to buy a list of contacts to communicate with for example, if these individuals didn’t consent to receiving communications, your business could be at risk of receiving a penalty of up to $220,000 from the ACMA.
Blacklists on the other hand are very different. When you look through your account and find someone has been blacklisted, this is due to their email or SMS having bounced three times. When someone bounces three times (whether due to an invalid number or deactivated email address), they are automatically removed from the system as a way to save you from receiving endless bounces and spending SMS credits on invalid numbers.
This is generally performed automatically by a script and is for your businesses’ benefit.
With blacklisting, the usual behaviour is to prevent communications via the blacklisted method of communication, e.g. having a blacklisted email still allows communication via SMS and the contact is kept in the database.
If my customers consented to receive communications and I am not in contravention of the SPAM act – why are my emails going to the ‘junk’ folder?
The most common cause for an email you send to end up in the SPAM folder will be your subject line. It may just be a sentence, but most email applications will have a filter which identifies certain words that could identify the communication as being spam.
Here’s a list of the most common words to avoid in your email subject lines:
|Act Now!||Multi level Marketing||All Natural|
|All New||Million Dollars||Avoid Bankruptcy|
|Free!||Opportunity||As Seen On…|
|50% off!||Compare||Buy Direct|
|Subscribe||Amazing||Consolidate Your Debt|
|Earn $||Cash Bonus||Special Promotion|
|Discount!||Promise You||Easy Terms|
|Eliminate Debt||Credit||Get Paid|
|Double your income||Loans||Guarantee, Guaranteed|
|You’re a Winner!||Satisfaction Guaranteed||Great offer|
|Reverse Ageing||Serious Cash||Give it away, Giving it away|
|“Hidden”||Search Engine Listings||Join millions|
|Information you requested||Offer||Meet Singles|
|“Stop” or “Stops”||One time||MLM|
|Lose Weight||No cost, No fees||Quick Cash!|
|Online pharmacy||Online marketing||Order Now|
|Please Read||Don’t Delete||Save up to|
|Time limited||Unsecured debt or credit||Vacation|
|Viagra||Visit our web site||While Supplies last|
|Why pay more?||Winner||Work at home|
|You’ve been selected||!!!!!||$$$$$|
Other tips to help you avoid spam filters.
- Avoid using punctuation and symbols. Using quotation marks, dollar signs and exclamation points in subject lines will trigger many mail filters.
- Don’t use all CAPS in your subject line or email content.
- Keep your formatting simple and professional. Excessive use of bright colours and different font sizes and types will likely trigger the filters.
- Avoid converting files or copying text from Microsoft Word into HTML. This creates very messy codes. Along with triggering the spam filters, it will also alter the design of your template.
- Keep a good balance between images and text. The use of too many images and not enough text should be avoided.
- Avoid sending out emails that are made up of just one big image. Since spam filters cannot read images, they assume the email is blank and often flag it as junk mail.