What are spam traps & filters?
ISP’s first line of defense against spammers are spam traps. They are actually email addresses designed specifically for identifying and tracking spammers.
If your triggered email hits such an address, you are immediately flagged as a spammer by the ISP. Your IP address and your ‘from domain’ get blocked, your deliverability rates plummet, and it can take you up to a year to restore a good sender reputation. This is how pure spam traps function. Pretty scary!
Another thing to worry about are recycled spam traps. They are inactive email addresses that ISP acquires after a certain period of inactivity. If your email hits such an address, the consequences are not as serious. Either your ESP or the ESP of your client will send you a notification of the bounce to let you know you are emailing a dormant address. But, if you continue to send emails to hard bounces, the ISP will eventually record it as a spam trap hit.
ISP’s second line of defense against spammers are spam filters, a program that, by using different criteria, filters out unwanted and unsolicited bulk mail, thus preventing it from ever reaching email inboxes. Spam traps scrutinize your targeted emails to the minutest details so as to make sure irrelevant and poorly written content never reaches the subscribers.
If you are in the business of email marketing, you are under the constant pressure of having to think about spam traps, spam trigger words, and anti-spam laws. Crafting targeted emails so as to avoid being sent to spam, or being marked as spam by your subscribers has become an art in itself. Why?
Because Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are waging a brutal, yet justified war against spammers. Unfortunately, the victims are not always just the spammers. Collateral damage happens to include some of us, the good-willed email marketers who simply don’t have the luck or enough experience.
According to research conducted by ReturnPath, only 79% of emails sent by genuine email marketers reach subscribers’ inboxes. How come? Well, only a small error is enough to send an email from an honest email marketer to the 9th circle of email marketing hell, causing serious, almost irreparable damage to email deliverability and the sender reputation.
The seriousness of the issue is evident from the very fact that almost every internet major country has lawfully restricted the use of email spam. The American CAN-SPAM Act of 2004 and Canadian CASL of 2014 (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) represent the leading states’ attempts to protect people from unsolicited, and unrequested bulk mail. Along with the ISPs, they seem to be doing a good job.
So, I would like to present the dos and don’ts of targeted email marketing. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate around spam traps and filters to securely arrive at the desired inbox.