How can I optimize my e-newsletter content for delivery?

As a rule of thumb, only send content people want to see to people who want to see it. Viewer reaction to your mail is very important. If you have a lot of viewers who flag you as SPAM, ISPs will take note of this. Content plays a huge part in whether or not contacts decide to view your mailing or to continue receiving your mailings. (You can also download our Delivery Checklist.)

Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Subject Line:  Since this is the first thing viewers see and the one item that will encourage someone to open your mailing, do your homework and research some strategies for writing good subject lines. In general, make sure that the subject line reflects the content of the mailing, and keep them fairly short.
  2. Relevant and Personal: Write as if you are writing to a unique person rather than to a number. Include content that will be relevant to them. It’s a good idea to include information about local events or issues. This also means don’t include general “Dear Friend” salutations.
  3. Short: The more a reader has to scroll down the screen, the less interested they become, especially if the mailing is text heavy.
  4. Visually Interesting: Include a good mix of image and text. ISPs will take note if there is more image than text, but viewers will be more interested in reading a mailing that contains appealing graphics.
  5. Occasionally go off topic: Don't be afraid to deviate from your main message. Every once in a while, throw in something fun or entertaining to spark interest. This might trigger a surprising amount of views. Occasionally going off topic makes your e-newsletter look like it's coming from a real person.
  6. Change it up: Change the format from time to time. Occasionally write out a full article on one topic rather than linking to your website. Occasionally eliminate the survey. Switch to a different template style. Too much uniformity makes the newsletter seem like it's not coming from a real person.
  7. Opportunities to Subscribe and Unsubscribe: If you are sending to contacts who have not opted in, provide them the opportunity to subscribe, but also provide a clear option to unsubscribe so uninterested viewers will be able to easily unsubscribe from your newsletter rather than marking it as spam.
  8. Error Free: Spelling errors, broken hyperlinks, etc. can trigger spam filters.
  9. Avoid “Spam Words”: These words change over time, but ISPs take note of mailings containing them. While there is no way to completely eliminate these words from your mailing, the fewer the better. Words relating to money such as “free” or “bargain,” generic greetings such as “Dear Friend,” general numbers such as “hundreds,” and words that express a sense of urgency such as “Take action now” or “Limited time” are some examples.


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