We’ve been working hard to follow the best practices recommended by church marketing leaders and general email marketing leaders (as well as Mailchimp’s recommendations themselves), in order to get our spam score and probability of landing in people’s promotion folders reduced.

Some things to keep in mind:

1) This is not necessarily something concrete like a credit score. It’s an ethereal concept of our overall standing with multiple email providers who all have different methods and qualifications, red flags, etc that they look for in determing if an email should get filtered into a spam or promotional folder.

2) Our entire organization (all of Lifepoint who are sending emails via mailchimp or via our domain Lifepointohio.com) has the same “score”. So if one of us sends dozens of really spammy email campaigns, it would throw all of our mass emails from Lifepoint into the spam folder.

Some things we’ve learned to fare better with deliverability:

1.  Domain should be validated/certified/verified (we’re doing our best to make sure this is done and that it stays current and up to date)

2.  Email subjects should not be the same every time (this is something spam filters look for). Writing a good subject is both an art and a science, but making it different each time will help ALL of us as an organization. Avoid writing spammy subjects as well.

3.  We need to clean out our audiences regularly.If your audience has a lot of people who are never opening their email, this hurts our spam score. We now have mailchimp set up to automatically archive a subscriber if they haven’t opened an email more than 5 times in a row.

4.  If you have a lot of emails that are bouncing back (because the email address is incorrect), it will hurt our spam score. Some things we’ve done to fix this for What’s Happening emails are a) when people sign up on the guest info card, they now have to enter their email twice as confirmation that they’re entering the right address (this will help make sure we have the right address entered into CCB correctly too). b) If people sign up through a mailchimp signup form (current funnels to this are links on Facebook, website, app, or the welcome email), they will have to double opt-in via a link in a confirmation email that they will sent immediately after signing up. This ensures they entered the email correctly and that they truly want to be on the list

5.  If the FROM address and the REPLY TO address are not the same on your mass email, it may be flagged as potential spam. We think everyone is following this rule, but if you’re not, make sure you do. For example, this means that the What’s Happening email should come FROM [email protected] and the REPLY TO field should also be [email protected]. If they are two different addresses, it will be a red flag to spam filters.

6.  Subscribers should add us to their contacts. This really does help us, but it’s on them. If we can reiterate frequently to our audience “make sure you’ve added ___________ [email address it’s coming from] to your contacts, adding us to your contacts will help us to stay out of everyone’s promotion filters.”

7.  Avoid Link shorteners (like bitly). It looks nicer but it is a red flag for spam as these are often used as redirects to spam and phishing websites.

8.  Too many and large images – If you’re not using more images than are recommended in your template, you should be good. But if you have tons of images on your email, it’s hurting all of our spam score.

9.  Too many links – It’s hard to find a specific rule on this, but supposedly we can use too many links in our emails and that will affect all of our spam score as well.

We are learning more, so this information will likely be updated again soon. Thanks for working together with us to make sure we ALL get our emails delivered to our audiences.