Sending person-to-person email is an integral part of our daily activities, but it’s getting harder to ensure that the mail you send gets to the Inbox of the people you intended. Stricter and more sophisticated spam filters flag more email than ever as spam. To ensure your person-to-person emails reach their destination, PracticalHost and the mail industry recommend some simple guidelines.
The following sections provide our recommended best practices for sending legitimate person-to-person mail through the PracticalHost mail system. Most reputable mail providers give their own recommendations, and we encourage you to read those as welll.
- Use a reputable and well-known email client to ensure that the email you send is correctly constructed and communicated. Features like providing HTML and text versions of the message content, correctly constructed and formatted email headers, and adherence to specifications for sending email (SMTP) are fundamental to sending good mail.
- Make your message’s layout as simple as possible. Avoid complex formatting, overly elaborate layouts, and multiple images. This recommendation is especially important if you use HTML content programs like Microsoft Publisher to create your content. These programs create complex HTML and styles.
- If you’re sending HTML email, ensure that it’s properly constructed. Items like missing or empty tags, poor formatting, and non-standard conventions are spam indicators.
- Also, do not use invisible web-based tracking tools in your emails.
- Do not use links that contain IP addresses. All reputable sites on the Internet use domain names to identify themselves. Using IP addresses is a trigger for spam filters.
- If you link to other companies’ sites in your message content, ensure that they are reputable sites. If you provide links to disreputable sites in your message content, your email will likely be marked as spam.
- Be careful about using shortened URLs in your message content. Shortened URLs are often used by spammers to mask the destination of the link, and spam filters often flag messages with shortened URLs as spam.
- Pay particular attention to your subject line. Avoid the following common spam triggers:
- Punctuation (especially exclamation points and question marks)
- Capitalization of all letters
- Words such as urgent, free, and guaranteed
- Spaces between every letter in a word, such as H e l l o
- Use personalized greetings and salutations. For example, use Hey Bob instead of Hey or To Whom It May Concern. Generic salutations make your content more likely to appear as unsolicited mail to spam filters.
- Don’t include a disclaimer that your email isn’t spam, and don’t claim compliance with some legal criteria. Good mail does not need to advertise compliance because it is compliant.
- Use normal conversational language. Message content that is rigid or follows a consistent limited verbiage can appear like computer-generated (or translated) content, which is often flagged as spam.
- Avoid using symbols for letters in words. Spellings like str@nge, |etters, and g00gle in your emails often classify the emails as spam.
- Do not overtly reference topics that are highly recognized in spam. For example, Rolex watches, Viagra, sexual innuendo, drugs, and financial schemes are easily recognizable as topics contained in spam. An email that mentions topics typically considered spam will most likely cause your email to be considered spam, even if the intent of the message is legitimate.
- It is becoming preferable to avoid attaching files to your messages. Most cloud file sites (such as Box.com, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google Docs) now offer shareable links to files that you can provide in your email. Because attachments are a common way of distributing viruses (especially for Windows users), filters are becoming increasingly strict about attachments. Blocking zip file attachments is a common example of this.
- If you do send attachments, ensure that they are named correctly and that the spelling is correct. Also, chose an attachment name that is simple and specific to the nature of the attachment. Oddly named or spelled attachments are a common way of transporting viruses.