[TechSparks 2020] Steering clear of spam: Agnibha Nath of SendX lists tips for email marketers

At TechSparks 2020, Agnibha Nath, Co-founder of SendX, discusses the seven laws of email spam and its importance in the everyday course of the email marketer.

As an email marketer, spam still remains one of the first things that tickle the mind, one of the most difficult cat and mouse chases in the world, and is still an unsolved problem in the world, believes Agnibha Nath, Co-founder of SendX.

At a masterclass in Techsparks 2020, Agnibha discusses the ‘7 laws of email spam’ for marketers.

He starts his session by showing an email sent from Donald J. Trump to vote for him when he has no record of being eligible for the same. “This is what we call phishing, a kind of identity theft. Moreover, it often includes a link, otherwise called clickbait, which makes your information prone to an unidentified source.

However, even legitimate mails can get marked as spam. Here’s how how you can identify the spam symptoms.

Identifying spam symptoms

“If you have been sending emails to subscribers and customers, gradual drops in the engagement are usual symptoms of email spam. Without frequent engagement, most of the mails will end up going to the spam of your users,” Agnibha explains

Another symptom is when users complain that they are not receiving emails. There is a good chance that the mails have gone into their spam. These are some of the early symptoms of detecting spam, he says.

A more severe problem would arise when a mailing platform bans you from sending emails, once your emails have been identified as spam.

“That is when the marketing team will begin to panic, as the marketing can almost come to a grinding halt since emails are one of the best marketing methods.”

Laws of email spam

Agnibha details the 7 laws of email spam with an acronym, AIR CLUBAuthentication, IP Reputation, Regulations, Cleanup, Limit, Use-case separation, and Blacklists. These laws cover email spam and email deliverability across the world. “Following these will lead you to the best ‘inboxing rate’ for your emails, and not following them can cause problems in your emailing practices.

When it comes to authentication, customers are always looking for legitimate people to send them mails, and if you don’t look legitimate, they might reject your mails, according to Agnibha.

The problem is that mailing works on Simple Mailing Transfer Protocol (SMTP), which lays a particular format for an email and how it looks, and anybody can copy this protocol. This makes it easy for anybody to send a mail, posing as anyone!

“In order to ensure that your authentication is alright, it would be best if you could check the authentication of your email or the tool used for the same,” says Agnibha.

IT and Domain reputation play an important role to send mails. People prefer it when they receive emails from trusted sources. So, keeping a track of IT reputation is important, and this can be done with software like SenderScore and Postmaster tools. \However, this is not sufficient, according to Agnibha, since there are millions of mails that go out every day, So, instead, domain reputation is more preferred these days.

Also, it is important to follow the regulations laid out for emails including the CAN-SPAM Act, GDPR, CASL, etc which allow people to unsubscribe easily. “By regulations, I mean that these will incur a penalty, sometimes even in billions,” says Agnibha. “So, make sure to check that you have an unsubscribe button as well as a physical address at the bottom of your email.”

A screen grab of Agnibha's session on Day 2 of TechSparks 2020

Cleanup is another recommendation that Agnibha shares where senders need to separate the users that have been engaging continuously from those who’ve been inactive for a while. “You can use list-cleaning tools for the same, and ensure double opt-in mechanisms to ensure that this is something they have opted in for.”

There are limits to emailing freedom; over the years there has been formulated a list of words listed as spam keywords, which trick people. “There is a good chance that these words can push mails into spam,” he says. “Moreover, mail blasts, mails with excessive links will not reach the right audience, however, mails sent with the right content, to the right people, and at the right time can see a significant reach.”

When you use a single domain for all your emails – personal, transactional, sales follow up, promotional, and cold – there’s a good chance it can be marked as spam, notes Agnibha. So, use-case separation becomes an essential factor, and using subdomains for each of these categories can do the trick. This will also have more domain reputation that the umbrella domain. 

Blacklists are also a very important law that originates from ‘Spam Traps’. When you send mails to an invalid email ID that exists to monitor the IP or domain that is sending those mails, it creates a spam trap, indicating that the sender is not cleaning their list, thereby creating a spam trap, and blacklisting your domain. With a regular clean-up of the lists, this can be rectified.

“If you can assess the impact of these laws in your marketing, you’ll be able to know the chances of entering your subscribers’ inboxes,” Agnibha signs off.

TechSparks - YourStory's annual flagship event - has been India's largest and most important technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship summit for over a decade, bringing together entrepreneurs, policymakers, technologists, investors, mentors, and business leaders for stories, conversations, collaborations, and connections that matter. As TechSparks 2020 goes all virtual and global in its 11th edition, we want to thank you for the tremendous support we've received from all of you throughout our journey and give a huge shoutout to our sponsors of TechSparks 2020.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta


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