Your diligent mail system providers may be scanning messages for spam in an attempt to protect us all from spam, viruses and malware. This can occur at several points along the path of delivery, not just at your receiving end.

Since we are, apparently, not allowed to put all the spammers in a burning tub of oil, here’s a few basic tips to consider that will help you form emails and newsletters that are less likely to get trapped as spam or sent to Junk folders.

1. Subject Line; Some no-nos are capitalised words in all caps, the word ‘free’, lots of white spaces, name or email of recipients, the use of a date. The best way to avoid any risk is to have a professional title that doesn’t use any catchy words.

2. Hard Sell Content; Avoid utilizing phrases that may appear as spam-like to email spam filters. Sentences like “Click here!” or “Once in a lifetime opportunity!” or simply exaggerating with too many exclamation points!!!!!! can hit the sensitive triggers of many of the popular email spam filters.

3. Text-Based Is Better; Make it look like text. If you want to increase the spam safety and accessibility of your emails text-based is the safest solution. Even if you choose to go the HTML route, which most email is these days, avoid complex tables or layouts.

4. Attachments; Don’t send .zipfiles or any attachment that may contain an executable file or script. Also, don’t use multiple “.” dots in a file name … One dot followed by the file type extension.

5. Color Use; Avoid playing with coloured text to get your message across. This is a bad practice from all standpoints as, unless you change background, black remains the most legible color on your screen. Red emphasis is linked to tricky marketing schemes.

6. Email File Size; Put some real meat inside your newsletters. The file size of your email newsletter does matter to anti-spam filters. Keep message size between 20K and 50K. This is because the majority of spam emails weight-in most of the time at less than 20K.

7. Bad HTML Code; if you are using invalid HTML code this can cause your email to be tracked as spam. Make sure you are not creating your email by utilizing bad HTML code generated by word processors like Microsoft Word. If you create your newsletter in Microsoft Word to then save it as HTML you should be aware that the HTML code generated may be very non-standard HTML.

8. Use of Trigger Words; Avoid spam trigger words, eg. “free” inside your email, using such spam-trigger words in combination with other trigger words such as “trial”, “quote”, “sample”, “access” can mark your email as spam. (see the list at the bottom of this page for examples)

9. Images; Avoid using large images inside your email. Avoid using images containing large amounts of text or on the other end of the scale large amounts of white-space.