With the recent growth in email marketing, people now subscribe to newsletters from websites et al to get updates. However, opening spam emails can be a turn-off. This article will therefore discuss what spam is and how to turn a cold email into spam, particularly amongst people in the US.
The use of “cold email” and “spam” in the same sentence can be confusing at first. This is because these terms might appear to be two different concepts. Meanwhile, the interesting fact is that there is an existing connection between a cold email and spam.
While most spams are cold emails, cold emails do not necessarily spam, making for the thin thread of difference between them. Cold email prospecting is a personalized marketing strategy employed by commercial companies to reach their target audience.
Though it may be unsolicited, a well-written cold email can be as well-received as any other mail. If not properly constructed, however, a cold email can come off as spammy.
1. What does Spam mean?
These days, it is not so far-fetched to conclude that every average Joe knows what spam is, or at the very least, every average Joe that has logged their email account on the internet.
You must have received emails from pages or products you didn’t subscribe to at one time or another. Those mails are referred to as spam, and they are largely undesired and unsolicited. Sometimes, they may also be sent indiscriminately and in bulk.
Now, even you can’t deny that spam messages are annoying. So naturally, email service providers block them from getting to the inbox folders. However, because the spam filter is an automated system, some legit emails are in the spam folder. There are several reasons why this happens.
2. Having a Spam-triggering Content
The principal factor that triggers the spam filter set by an email service provider is the content of your cold email. As expected, email service providers have a catalog of words that occur in spam messages.
So when some of these words are mirrored in the content of your mail, there is a significant possibility of the spam filter being triggered. This then causes your mail to be shoved into the spam folder, where mails are seldom opened.
It is important to note that words are not the only content of your mail that can trigger this filter. Some abbreviations also bring the spam algorithm out to play, as well as unnecessary capitalization of words.
3. Sending Excessive Emails at Once
The concept of sending excess messages to people has generally earned the term ‘spam.’ As such, statements like “Kindly do not spam my phone with messages” have achieved their place in the English lexicon.
Unlike social media, where broadcast messages are a vital feature, emails do not support this as they are designed differently. So when excess mails are perceived to come from an address simultaneously, the “SPAM” trigger goes off.
A suitable alternative to spamming other people’s emails is to set up an email drip campaign. This does send multiple emails to recipients at an automated time and date with short delays between them.
4. Unverifiable or Inaccurate Sender Information
It is not a stretch to state that when people receive messages from senders with misleading information, such messages tend to go disregarded. The same holds for a cold email. It is enough that a mail is unsolicited; the least expectation is to have verifiable sender information.
However, when “unsolicited” and “inaccurate sender information” are combined in a cold email, it means to spam. This ticks off the spam filter and shoves the mail right into the spam folder. The information of a mail sender extends to the subject title of the mail. As such, a cold email with a misleading subject line can be interpreted to be just as sketchy.
5. An Unhealthy Word-Image Ratio
Another kind of cold email that screams Spam is one with an irregular word-to-image ratio. Although a regular mail may include a few images, a cold email is not afforded such laxity.
Since cold emails are unexpected, it is usually advisable that they be free of images. This is because if not for anything but the unknown sentiment that the recipient might have towards it.
Also, the texts of mail content ought to be used to explain the mail’s point while images are used sparsely as a compliment. Spam filters are programmed to view mail contents with excessive visual representation as spam. So when there is an unhealthy amount of visual imagery, the cold email can be viewed as spam.
6. Grammatical Errors
Even in normal texting media, the bad use of grammar and spelling is somewhat cringeworthy, what more an email. An email ought to connote professionalism and so is not expected to be riddled with grammatical blunders. That stated, an email full of grammatical errors and blunders gives off as being spammy.
Asides from this, there is another reason why badly articulated emails tick off the spam alert of email service providers.
More often than not, the emails sent by spammers and hackers from non-English-speaking countries are usually full of blunders. Because they use automated translation devices for their mails, the mails tend to sound unnatural, thus giving them away.
There is a pattern between these emails and spam messages, thus making badly constructed emails automatically trigger the spam filter.
7. Manual Spam Ticking
Asides from the automated spam filter, it is also possible to have the recipient of your email mark it as spam. People do this for several reasons, most of which boil down to the sender’s lack of research.
For one, the probability of a person marking a cold email as spam is significantly higher if they are not the target audience. This probability is taken a notch higher if the mails are sent indiscriminately.
A cold email can only be well-received as any other mail if it addresses a person’s need or want. If, however, the content of a cold email does not appeal to the recipient, it will be considered spam, and understandably so.
8. Text Customization
Another factor that triggers the spam alert of email service providers is the content of a mail written in foreign fonts. Most providers do not support fonts that are different from their default font. As such, a mail with customized text font will seem out of place and may trigger the spam filter.
Another kind of text customization in mails is adding internet links to them. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with an email having internet links or attachments. But these text customizations are better received when the mail recipient is someone with which the sender has a personal connection. The mail is unexpected, as, with a cold email, people might share sentiments about such attachments or links containing malicious files or viruses.
9. Applying Three Exclamation Marks in the Subject Title
It has been found that the excessive use of exclamation marks in the subject line of an email achieves poor results. As opposed to a single exclamation, a double exclamation mark might do well to increase the success rate of a cold email. However, using three exclamation marks is a lot over the top and may come across as spammy.
And although exclamation marks are designed to show surprise or urgency, it has over the years been interpreted otherwise. Some people might argue that using three exclamation marks is excessive and can indicate rudeness and unprofessionalism. And it is a known fact that no subject emails with excess punctuation can have a decent open rate.
10. Impolite Undertone
Another way to have a cold email flagged as spam is if the sender is not courteous. No matter how much the world changes, politeness can never be out of vogue.
Besides, due to the professionalism of mail sending, emails are expected to be embodiments of courtesy. The standard of courtesy for cold emails is a tad higher because making a good impression on the recipient is extremely important.
Hence, a mail with an impolite undertone may suggest the opposite of what a mail ought to be. Besides, it is hard to believe that something so important can be sent carelessly and without a review.
11. Concluding the Mail with “Thanks in advance”
Admittedly, appreciating the recipient of your mail in advance is not so out of place. If not anything, it has become a sort of culture inculcated into email tradition. However, a cold email does not share the same stance because such an addition may be perceived differently.
Some might argue that the phrase “Thanks in advance” is presumptuous as it implies an expectation for the recipient to do something. While this might work well for people with whom the sender shares a personal connection, it might seem out of place to strangers.
Thus, the phrase mounts pressure on the recipient to give the sender what the latter needs.
Therefore in place of this phrase, an unassuming one like “I would be grateful for your assistance” could be used instead.
Conclusion: Turning Cold Emails to Spam Emails? 11 Mistakes to Avoid Now
To this end, the first step to a successful cold email is to have the recipient open it. This purpose may, however, be defeated if the cold mail turns into a spam email. This is because the possibility of a mail recipient opening a spam email is significantly reduced. This information is useful for blogs and email marketers everywhere in the US.
To therefore not lose a fight before it even gets started, utmost precaution should be exercised. After all, a cold email is only an error away from being a spam email.
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Tim Absalikov is a professional in digital marketing with more than a decade of experience in the field. He has held such positions as Senior SEM Account Manager and Digital Marketing Director. Currently, he is the Acting CEO of Lasting Trend Agency that also provides SEO services for law firms. Tim is an expert in technical optimization. He has a deep understanding of SEO, SEM, UX and UI considerations, shopping campaigns, PLA, RLSA, dynamic retargeting, works with E-Commerce and Web Analytics. The specialist develops top-notch SEO and SEM strategies and goals.