Here at Privy, we strive for brand excellence by adhering to the highest standards for all of our merchants in order to provide quality services that operate in compliance with legal standards.
Below, we’ve outlined a few tips and tricks that can be used to avoid high spam complaints, high unsubscribe rates, and remain compliant within the email marketing industry best practices to help keep you on track.
Certain materials and content are prohibited from being sent via email, if you are using Privy’s Email Tool, please ensure you are following our Acceptable Use Policy as this is agreed upon in our Terms and Conditions when you first sign up for an account with Privy.
In terms of email marketing, having proper permissions in order means that your mailing lists contain only those who gave consent to receive marketing communications. This is not only a recommendation, but it is also required when you sign up for a Privy account and is listed in our Terms and Conditions.
Why is it so important to have proper contact permissions?
Not having proper permissions can result in higher spam complaints and less engaged subscribers. Higher spam reports can result in blacklisting and filtering which leads to poor delivery rates. This will negatively impact both your business' reputation as well as Privy’s email deliverability, which impacts all of our customers.
In order to send emails to your contacts successfully while using Privy’s Email tool, you must ensure that your contacts have given consent to receive email marketing communication from the business that you are sending from.
Add Opt-in fields to your displays
For GDPR -- you’ll want to review our blog post on the subject: How to Clean Up Your Email Opt-In Process
The first recommendation listed is:
1. Add explicit opt-in text to every display you have:
- If your pop-ups or other displays are just asking people to sign up for your newsletter, you’re already covered.
- If you are asking people to sign up to get great discounts or a unique piece of content, you’ll want to add text like “By completing this form you are signing up to receive our emails and can unsubscribe at any time” below your forms. This ensures that people know they are opting into your email list by entering their address.
By completing the above steps, your campaign is deemed compliant.
> How to Customize Privy Forms
What permissions would we expect to see?
Mailable vs Un-mailable:
Listed below are the various permissions that you’ll see used within Privy’s interface.
- Mailable: Contacts who have opted in to receive emails.
- Unset Not-Mailable: No permissions listed, or did not opt-in to email marketing communications via the checkout page. (This also includes imports awaiting approval from Privy’s Compliance Team. *Please note that contacts with this permission status will not receive any email communications from Privy Email)
- Unsubscribed: Customer has opted-out of email marketing communications.
- Suppressed: This email will no longer be sent to because the email is not valid or we had trouble getting the server to accept the email (this can be permanent or temporary suppression).
If your business collects telephone numbers to be used in SMS marketing you must include specific opt-in language to set proper expectations as to what they are opting-in to receive.
In order for imports to be approved, subscribers must be identified with the proper mailing permissions. See the List Hygiene section below for advice on list-cleanup.
Before uploading a list into Privy:
- Create separate lists for subscribers and un-subscribers.
- Remove bot/spam emails
- Update typos, errors and duplicate entries
- Remove Role Addresses (admin@, support@, sales@, office@, marketing@)
What do we mean by list hygiene? Well, we’re referring to the overall health and cleanliness of a mailing list. This may include any number of techniques or processes to help maintain a clean and optimized email database. Before uploading a list into Privy, we recommend you take the following steps:
- Delete email addresses from bounced back emails
- Filter email subscribers by location, gender, marital status, and income
- Update or delete user email addresses (ie. within the last 2 years)
- Update typos or errors
- Remove duplicate entries
- Remove bot/spam emails
- Maintain a separate list for unsubscribes and those accepting mailing (permission-based organizing)
- We advise against sending emails to a Role Address (admin@, support@, sales@, office@, marketing@). Because these automatically forward to another address, this invalidates the unsubscribe function which is a direct violation of the CAN-SPAM legislation.
It’s not just good practice, it’s a legal requirement to provide opt-out methods for your subscribers. Any contacts who haven’t heard from you in a while may not remember signing up for your business content or mailing lists. You can reconfirm a contact's permission by having them sign-up again, or unsubscribe those who have not engaged in email activity to maintain spam-free email sends.
* We highly encourage merchants to maintain their email lists regardless of which services they plan to use.
What’s so great about having a clean list you might ask? Let’s check out some huge wins:
- Saves you money $$ which, let’s be real -- everybody loves to save a few extra bucks. With a cleaner list, you’ll only be paying for your active recipients. Every dollar counts when most providers charge based on mailable contacts.
- Lower bounce rates -- what is a bounce? A bounce is when an email doesn’t land in an inbox (this can be for a number of reasons: non-existent email address, full inbox, old, fake, or dead addresses, etc.). Lower bounces = more emails making it to the inbox.
- Less Spam -- nobody likes spam, more on that below.
Export Your Email Contacts
Knowing where to export a list of your contacts is important to maintaining a clean database. This can be especially useful when maintaining contact permissions across multiple platforms and services.
>How to Export Your Email Contacts
What will be rejected?
- Any file that does not contain proper mailing permissions
- Files containing mixed permissions
- Files containing mostly spam or bot addresses
- Purchased lists
Can I upload unsubscribed contacts?
You sure can! And in fact, we highly encourage this. Uploading unsubscribed contacts allows you to keep track of which contacts have unsubscribed and helps you make sure you don’t accidentally send emails to those contacts.
It’s important to maintain proper mailing permissions regardless of which services you will be using.
The process will be the same for both mailable vs non-mailable, aside from the last step in the import flow.
If you want to import a list of people who have opted out of email communication, please separate them from your subscribed contacts and import them in a separate CSV file. You can then select Unsubscribed as their subscription status.
The last step on this import flow will ask you to choose whether the file is a list of subscribed or unsubscribed users:
- Content expectations are extremely important. Have you set proper expectations with what content your subscribers are signing up to receive? It is far more likely that a recipient will mark an email as spam if it is not recognizable or relevant to what they opted in for.
- Mailing frequency is equally as important. Any contacts who have not heard from you in a while may not remember signing up for your business content or mailing lists. Going a long period of time between emails can cause the contact to forget they signed up. It’s important to stay relevant. However, mailing too frequently can be perceived as spam. There are a number of factors that also influence this perceived behavior such as; frequency of email sends, delivery times, aggressive messaging (subject line, content).
- Mailing Segments can help reduce the risk of spam reports. You can target your audience with various segments and provide tailored emails based on their interests.
- Spam filtering can often feel unavoidable. We’re happy to confirm that there are things you can do prior to sending an email to ensure that your email avoids as many spam reports as possible. (see the spam section below for further details)
- Avoid Keywords: Free, Guarantee, Discount, Offer (In the Emails’ Subject Line & Body)
- Avoid having all CAPS in the subject line
- Balance larger images with plenty of supporting text
- Avoid special characters in the subject line
- Avoid using an excessive number of links within the email
- Keep subject lines short -- no more than 4-7 keywords. Phrases should be no more than 45 characters. Using a free optimizer tool like "Headline Analyzer" is a great way to create powerful and catchy subject line.
In terms of email, spam is typically unwanted junk, unsolicited emails, or advertisement-type emails. Typically these contain flashy subject lines with lots of capitalization, emojis or special characters, or promises of weight loss, or cruise and vacation winnings.
Nobody likes to receive spam, right? Right! We want to help you to understand what can be perceived as spam, as well as how to avoid your emails landing in a spam/junk folder.
How to avoid your email going into Spam/Junk
It is important to point out that Privy has no control over how strict email clients are with receiving potential spam. Each client will have their own standard of what is acceptable and what is considered unacceptable. This process will vary from client to client and is not something that Privy would be able to directly influence as this would be due to restrictions set in place by each mail client or Internet Service Provider.
> Why did my email get sent to the Spam Folder?
Set up a Custom Sending Domain with Privy
Why is this important? Sending from a trusted or known receiver will have a greater chance of the email being opened by the recipient and received as expected by the client.
> Sending Privy Emails From A Custom Email Address
Business (Physical) Mailing Address
You’ll definitely want to ensure that you have configured your business mailing address in the footer of any email that you are sending. Privy will automatically default to our own address if none is supplied by our merchants. (You can configure your business mailing address in the Email Settings section of your account.)
* Legally, any commercial email that is sent out is required to have a valid physical mailing address. Using an email address or an incomplete mailing address instead of a full valid physical address is a direct violation of CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR legislations.
> How to update the footer mailing address in your emails