You are gearing up to send an email blast to your residential community reminding them of a snowstorm approaching your area this week and how the community operates. You’ve spent a great amount of effort writing that email, giving your residents a lot of good resources, outlining emergency procedures, and listing community contact information. Then, you hit SEND. Residents will see the email soon. Except, many of them don’t and are calling your office with the same questions as a result. You’ve sent the messages with the best of intentions. But where do those messages land in, if not the resident’s inbox? The message is either in a folder in the resident’s email marked as spam, or the message has been blocked from ever reaching their email by the email service provider’s spam filter.
What is a spam filter and why are your emails being filtered as such?
A spam filter is a set of criteria that a company’s network or email service providers such as Microsoft Outlook or Gmail uses to categorize emails sent to an individual’s email account as either spam/junk, promotional, an accepted email that is directed to the main inbox or is blocked altogether. In Gmail, the main inbox is called “Primary” and in Microsoft Outlook, it’s referred to as “Focused”. Service providers use a multitude of algorithms to filter emails based on four components:
- Email Source – The IP address that is used to send emails. Spam filters will determine the validity of the IP address as well as how long the IP address has been used to send out emails.
- Sender’s Reputation – Email service providers calculate a score for each sender based on thousands of parameters, but it all boils down to the complaint rate, the content in your emails, and oftentimes the number of emails that are being sent.
- Email content – The spam filter that scans email content is very extensive. Filter scans through the sender’s email for title, content header, body, HTML, links, images, and attachments.
- Subscriber engagement – Are individuals opening your emails on a regular basis or are they deleting the email even before opening and reading content? Subscriber engagement – whether residents open your emails or not – is vital to the deliverability of your future emails. Spam filters take into account the extent to which your emails are being opened and read to determine whether the emails are even desired by potential recipients.
Fixing your outreach strategy via email before clicking “SEND”
Tip #1: Avoid capitalization and exclamation points
You may often find it essential to CAPITALIZE WORDS to place more emphasis on it and call attention to it to your residents. Or, add exclamation marks in your emails to show how excited you are or to display urgency!!!!! Industry best practices highly suggest that it does more harm than good. Spam filters identify common elements that form a spam email. Thus, they are highly likely to single out emails with strong usage of exclamation marks and capitalized words. If you want to call attention to specific information in your emails, a better way is to highlight them in bold or underline them. That being said, keep it at a minimum so that your content is easily readable for your residents. What about using colors to call attention to words or phrases? Email service providers will also filter out emails with a large amount of coloring, so it’s suggested to just use 2 or 3 colors at the most.
Tip #2: Leave out spam-trigger words
When writing the subject line for your email, it’s important to avoid specific words that are identified as “click and bait” or common spam words by the email service provider’s spam filters. Subject headlines that include words such as “free”, “opportunity”, “opt-in”, percentages, and dollars are highly likely to land your emails in the resident’s spam box or get blocked. Comm100 lists more than a hundred words that if used in the subject line, may prevent your emails from reaching the resident’s inbox.
Tip #3: Avoid using misleading headlines
After the sender’s name, the subject line is the next thing that your residents will notice before opening the email. You’ll want to make sure that the subject is clear and it relates to what the rest of the email is about. When the resident reads the subject line, they need to be able to understand on a high-level what the email is about. Keep your headlines simple and to the point.
Tip #4: Use segmentation to reach your residents
Relevancy is an extremely important factor in subscriber engagement. Your email communications are relevant if it conveys important information to the correct residents. Segmenting email content based on the type of resident and their location is the best way to ensure that residents are getting information that is valuable to them only. It also reduces the chance that residents will discard the message before opening it, unsubscribing, or marking your emails as spam themselves. In Pilera, you can segment resident communications by the type of user in our system (resident, board member, other occupants) and by location (an entire community, street, building, unit, or an individual). Email engagement rates are better when the email reaches the right individuals.
Tip #5: Put a physical address at the bottom of your emails
You should always display your community or management company’s physical address in the emails that you send. Apart from being good practice, it’s also part of the CAN-SPAM Act, a series of email-specific regulations that protect consumer privacy. A good place to add the physical address is in your email signature right below your name, email address, and company. Having a physical address adds authenticity to your emails and increases your credibility as a sender.
Tip #6: Give your residents the option of subscribing and unsubscribing
When new residents move into your community, give them the option to subscribe to your communications by phone, email, or text message so you can effectively reach them with important community information. Along with subscribing, each email you send to your community must give residents the option to unsubscribe from your emails. If you see a large number of residents unsubscribing from your emails, try to determine why. It may have to do with the content, or they feel they’re getting too many emails in general, or even apathy. Pilera’s communication platform helps you to manage your subscriber list in many ways. Through the resident portal, residents can choose the way they want to hear from you and if they don’t want to receive messages from your community, they can unsubscribe. The manager portal also shows which residents have email communications set as their preferred or who have unsubscribed. If at a later point the resident, in fact, does want to receive your communications, you can re-subscribe them with their permission.
Tip #7: Use a reputable email service provider
You’ll often need to send an email to hundreds of residents at a time. Certain email providers/clients cap email sending at five hundred recipients per day. When searching for an email service provider that can, it’s important to select a software solution that has a strong sender reputation and is reliable. Pilera’s community-specific messaging platform has a 98% average reputation which means that our emails won’t be marked or blocked as spam.
Your key takeaways:
It’s true that no one can have 100% control over the deliverability of their email messages, but they can definitely influence the success of their emails with these industry-supported best practices:
- Avoiding common elements of spam and “click and bait” emails – capitalizations, exclamation marks, trigger keywords, and multi-colored text.
- Writing clear, relevant subject lines that detail what the email is about. Set your expectations correctly for residents receiving your emails. By reading the subject line itself, residents should have a good idea about what your email is about.
- Segment your emails appropriately by the type of resident (i.e. if they are an owner versus a tenant) and location to improve subscriber engagement.
- Add a physical address to the signature of your emails – that improves the authenticity of the sender’s (yours!) reputation.
- Ensure that the communications platform you use has a strong sender reputation.
Pilera Software is the premier community and property management suite that has helped thousands of community managers and back-office personnel enhance communications, improve customer service, and manage compliance and operations. May we help your community achieve these success stories? Book a demo to see how Pilera’s community management suite can help your company.