What did you just call me?

Yesterday’s issue of Books & Whatnot almost broke my SPAM checker.

  • First, it told me I used too many exclamation points. (Even the most animated version of myself refrains from using exclamation points.)
  • Then it didn’t like that I used the word adult. (From now on, books for young adults shall be referred to as YA and books for adults shall be referred to as A. … No.)
  • Then it didn’t like that I used the word free. (I’m still looking for that one.)
  • And then it told me that the use of all three together–adult! free!–would appear SPAMMY to Microsoft Outlook.

After making multiple edits, Spam Checker finally deemed it approved for delivery. Although, after further research today, I found that some of you probably didn’t even see yesterday’s newsletter because certain SPAM filters do not like the use of ellipsis in subject lines, like the one I used: Allow me to introduce Cat… and Otter.

And this is after I used a SPAM checker. Can you imagine the delivery/open rate if I hadn’t used one?

Even though it can be a pain and a little time-consuming to run, make the extra effort to run the SPAM checker built into your email marketing program.

Many of you told me in a Quick & Dirty Survey that you use Constant Contact. Their support page says that you can run the Spam Checker multiple times as you edit your draft to ensure the lowest possible spam risk. To use the Spam Checker:

  1. Create or edit an email.
  2. Click the Spam Check button located above the email header. Your rating and any flagged content displays beneath the button.
    Note: If you’re using the Classic Wizard, click the Preview button on the upper left-hand side of your email. Then click the Anti-Spam Check button.
  3. Review and edit as many of the content flags as possible.
  4. Click Spam Check again to check your rating after you’ve finished your edits.

MailChimp offers a tool called Inbox Inspector to thoroughly scan email campaigns, testing for appearance and content-related spam triggers. Monthly paid accounts include a certain number of inspections per week, and pay-as-you-go and free plans can purchase single inspections.

The email program I use, Campaign Monitor, will test for both design flaws and potential SPAM. I can see screenshots of exactly how the email will look in 30+ web, desktop and mobile email clients, with or without images. And in addition to scanning my content for “spammy words”, they pass the email through spam filters and firewalls and provide me with details from tests run in MessageLabs, Spam Assassin 3.1, Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo! (The exclamation point is part of the name.)

Whether you use one of these programs or one I’ve not listed, it’s worth looking into any built-in SPAM checker available to you.


Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay