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bpm'online marketing
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Bulk email guidelines

Prior to starting your bulk email campaign, make sure that it is in line with multiple regulations placed by mail systems to fight spam. Even bulk emails that are based on customer subscriptions can be classified as spam in mail systems.

To reach your target audience successfully, we recommend looking into the following guidelines:

Sender's IP and domain reputation

Bulk email list validation

Sender’s name and email

Email subject

Preview textPreview text

Bulk email content and format

Unsubscibe link

Note

If you use Elastic Email, your account may be suspended if you get a lot of spam complaints. To restore the reputation of the account, it may be necessary to confirm that the recipients have given their confirmation to receive your newsletters.

Note

We recommend using free services like www.mail-tester.com to test the quality of your bulk emails.

Sender's IP and domain reputation

Mail systems evaluate sender reputation scores before placing emails in the “Inbox” of a recipient. Use the following guidelines while sending bulk emails:

1.Use an email address that contains your own domain name for your bulk campaigns (e.g. 123@example.com, where “example.com” is your domain address). We also recommend sending business and marketing emails with different domains to avoid potential spam complaints that may affect your business correspondence. Using free mail services may increase your chance of ending up in a recipient's SPAM box, so we do not recommend using Gmail, Yahoo.com, and Hotmail.com for your bulk email campaigns.

2.Verify your sender’s domain on a DNS server to increase email deliverability and prevent any unauthorized mailings on your behalf. The verification process is covered in a separate article. The verification procedure is covered in a separate article.

Check your rating on sender reputation score services like https://www.senderscore.org/. Please note that IP addresses with reputation scores below 70% get aggressively filtered.

Bulk email list validation

1.Scrub your email lists frequently to identify invalid addresses and spam traps to make sure you are sending emails to engaged subscribers. If bounce and unsubscribe rates are increasing, scrubbing your list may prevent the risk of having deliverability issues and spam complaints. If some of your subscribers have not been engaging with your emails for the past 6 months,

2.we recommend running a separate re-engagement campaign to confirm their subscription.

3.Make sure to remove any contacts who opted out (unsubscribed) from your list. Compare your deliverability rates to your open rates to identify abandoned email addresses. Certain addresses may still be active, but if the recipient is not interacting with your emails in any way (e.g. not opening), it often means that they no longer use the address and therefore have to be removed from the list.

4.If you are collecting email addresses at events (e.g. tradeshows, conferences), make sure to get signed subscription confirmations from all who have agreed to it. Sometimes event participants provide invalid email addresses due to privacy concerns, which then can lead to an increased number of delivery errors.

5.Only send to addresses you obtained through honest means. We recommend generating your own list of contacts who have shown interest in your product or field of work. Third-party contacts do not have the initial interest in your services are not expecting your emails, and sending unsolicited mail violates the CAN-SPAM act. If the third-party provider includes inactive email addresses and spam traps in your list, it may affect your overall deliverability rates in the long run.

Note

Spam traps are emails created by providers to catch spammers and users of abandoned and publicly available email addresses.

Sender’s name and email

Sender’s name (displayed in the “From” field)

1.Choose a name that will be recognizable to your subscribers. We recommend using your company name, or the product / service people have subscribed to learn about.

2.The name should be short (15-20 characters) due to interface limitations of mail clients. The name should represent your brand as best as possible, and should spark instant recognition of your business.

Note

The set character limit allows you to use your trademark, first or last name, website address etc.

3.Using broad terms in your name is not recommended. Always include real names in the “from” field while sending bulk campaigns. For example, emails that have “John Best, Axiom” in the “from” field are more likely to be opened than those that have just “Axiom” as the sender’s name.

4.Use slightly different sender names to differentiate your subscription categories and types.

5.We recommend A/B testing the name to see what resonates best with your subscribers.

6.Once you have tested and selected the name, do not change it frequently – this will build customer trust and help with brand recognition.

7.Do not use an email addresses as a sender name. This may be interpreted as spam.

Sender's email

1.Using a “noreply@company.com” email assumes a one way communication process, and may be regarded as inconsiderate towards the recipient.

2.The sender's email address must match the sender's name. For example:

Sender’s name – John Best

Sender’s email – john.best@company.com (or any other name variation)

3.Create different email addresses that represent your brand and the type of content you are sending for different types of bulk email campaigns (e.g., newsletter@companyname.com, coupons@companyname.com). (e.g., newsletter@companyname.com, coupons@companyname.com).

4.For the sender address, use the domain of your primary site or its subdomain. If the e-mail address uses a separate domain, make sure that the text part of the address matches your brand.

Email subject

The effectiveness of your bulk email campaign highly depends on the quality of your subject lines. In most cases, a subject line determines whether the recipients will open your emails or not. Always consider the needs of your target audience, and what words and phrases resonate well with your recipients. Here are some tips for creating successful subject lines:

1.Use macros (e.g., [#Current user.Contact name#]) to personalize the subject line. Macros are fields populated with personal data. For example, the “[#Current user.Contact name#], please learn more about our special offer” phrase will be displayed in the email received by an addressee as follows: “Ivan, please learn more about our special offer”. Personalized subjects tend to generate better open rates due to their eye-catching nature.

2.Create straight-to-the-point subjects that are easy to read through. Highlight the key points and avoid popular slogans (e.g. “20% off your first purchase”).

3.Always keep in mind that some of your recipients may be using their phones to check their inbox, and will more likely notice a shorter subject line. Always keep in mind that some of your recipients may be using their phones to check their inbox, and will more likely notice a shorter subject line. We recommend A/B testing your subject lines to see what words and phrases resonate with your subscribers. A/B tests are covered in a separate article.

4.Determine which mail clients your recipients are using. The following table includes subject line length recommendations, depending on various mail clients:

Email client

Number of characters in the subject line

Outlook 2010 (preview mode)

54 characters

Outlook 2010 (compact mode)

73 characters

Thunderbird

66 characters

Gmail

70 characters

Outlook.com

60 characters

Yahoo Mail

46 characters

Android (800 x 480 px) portrait

30 characters

Android (800 x 480 px) landscape

62 characters

iPhone (portrait)

41 characters

iPhone (landscape)

64 characters

Windows Phone (portrait)

42 characters

Windows Phone (landscape)

61 characters

Preview text

Email preview text (a.k.a. “pre-header”) is displayed in most email clients and services after the email subject and is normally an extract of first few words from the email body (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Email preview in Outlook

section_email_guidelines_preview.png 

Adding a compelling personalized email preview text can significantly increase the number of opened bulk emails. You can specify a personalized email preview text in the content designer.

The size and placement of displayed pre-header text depends on the email client. Most clients support at least 35 character-long email previews, so it is recommended not to exceed this number. The length of the preview text in common email clients is available in the table below.

Email client

Preview text length

Apple mail

140 characters

Outlook 2013

35 characters

Outlook 2016

35 characters

Outlook for Mac 2015

55 characters

Android Native App

40 characters

Android Gmail App

Depends on the subject text length

Android Yahoo! App

45 characters

iOS Native App

90 characters

iOS Gmail App

50 characters

iOS Yahoo! App

50 characters

Windows Phone

40 characters

AOL Mail (Web)

75 characters

Gmail (Web)

Depends on the subject text length

Yahoo! (Web)

Depends on the subject text length

Outlook.com

Depends on the subject text length

Mail.ru

Depends on the subject text length

Bulk email content and format

Making sure that your content is relevant to the recipient positively affects email deliverability. If subscribers are not interested in the content in the emails they receive, they flag these emails as spam. We recommend A/B testing the contents of your emails, figuring out your target audience, and segmenting the recipients into multiple groups. Learn more about user groups in a separate article.

Email content mistakes to avoid

1.Excessive number of exclamation points in headers and email bodies.

2.Overusing the “CAPS LOCK” button.

3.Using spam trigger words and phrases in subject lines. Spam filters are used to identify spam trigger words and phrases in order to recognize "trash mail". Spam triggers are words such as: "Click here!", "SALE!", "FREE!", “$$” etc.. A list of popular spam trigger words can be found in this article. When sending a test letter, do not use words like "Test", "Hello", "Check" in the subject line.

Email template preparation guidelines

1.For the correct message display on different types of devices (e.g., PCs and on mobile devices), the width of the template should not exceed 600 pixels. Follow these recommendations for adaptive email message layout.

2.We recommend creating simple templates. Use pre-configured elements and avoid complex ones that require HTML pop-up elements or positioning.

3.Keep in mind that email clients often block graphics and images, and certain image types (for example, background images) are sometimes not displayed at all.

4.We do not recommend creating templates that consist of a single solid image or individual blocks of images. These emails may look nice, but they are not effective.

5.Use basic universal fonts, e.g., Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and Times New Roman.

6.Avoid template elements that require Flash or JavaScript The .gif format is the most suitable option for moving images.

7.Keep in mind that a lot of your subscribers may open their emails in a mobile device. Check whether your email is readable at arm's length or on a small screen, if images are downloaded quickly, if it's easy to click the links on a mobile device

8.Always check for any broken links in the template.

9.Different email clients display emails differently. Send test emails to your own corporate mailbox to see how they look.

Unsubscibe link

The unsubscribe link is required in the bulk email template. In bpm'online, the link is added automatically to pre-configured templates. The absence of the unsubscribe link is a direct violation of CAN-SPAM Act and terms and conditions of most popular mail services. Unable to unsubscribe, the client may mark the email as spam, which can lead to a temporary block. Learn more about configuring the unsubscribe link in a separate article.

See also

How to increase Subscriber engagement

Frequently asked questions about bulk emails

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