NationBuilder's powerful control panel let's you engage your supporters through email easily with an email blasting subscription. Once switched on, you can send out a targeted email blast on behalf of one of your broadcasters to as many recipients as you’d like. Aside from drafting a captivating call-to-action email, how do you ensure it actually reaches your supporters?
Here are 6 tips to help your email avoid the spam box and reach the inbox.
1. Warm your email list.
If this is your first time sending an email blast to your subscribers, take it easy. This means sending smaller batches of blasts consistently to different groups of subscribers daily or weekly over a month or so. This method works better than simply blasting your entire email list right away. It gives spam filters a chance to get used to you over a period of time and build trust.
2. Before sending your email blast, check the Spam Score in NationBuilder.
NationBuilder's spam score tool runs your message through SpamAssasin, checking for any obvious problems with the content. It is a powerful first-line tool, and you should only send emails when the score is low. Anything over 4 is very bad. If there is a problem with your spam score, the message will let you know what the issue relates to. There are a myriad of things to watch out for, and you can get a list of common spam errors here.
3. Ask to be whitelisted.
Just because someone has signed up for your email doesn't mean your messages will get through. Explicitly ask your subscribers to "whitelist" your email address, and add it to their safe senders list to ensure you can get through the spam filters. In Gmail, this can mean asking folks to mark your email as "important."
4. Keep your mail list clean.
When someone unsubscribes, it is very important that they are not emailed again. Sending email to an address that has unsubscribed could result in them clicking on the spam button; that’s recorded as a complaint and is negatively counted against you. Also, pay close attention to your email bounce rate: sending to email addresses that have bounced repeatedly will result in a blacklisted IP address – and then even those who want to receive your emails won't.
5. Offer both text and HTML-based email.
People differ in how they like to receive and view email, and some prefer text-based emails. Images, aside from setting off spam filters (if they are a majority of your message content), can also hide your message from subscribers. Don’t place important content into images and use alt text so that those generic red X’s never display. ISPs are less likely to view you as a spammer if you include both versions of the email. NationBuilder automatically generates a text version of your email blasts (which you can edit by using a custom email theme).
6. Don't overload your subscribers
There is nothing worse than turning a supporter into an opt-out because you flooded their inbox too often. If your email is weekly, keep it weekly. Don’t send more frequent updates than what your readers have signed up for and don’t assume that they want to receive messages about everything, all the time.
Different email providers and ISP's have different rules about how they handle bulk messages. Read more about email blast stats and what they mean.