Online Newsletters – How to prevent being marked as a spammer

Use double Opt-in feature

There are many companies out there who have programs or pay freelancers to sign email addresses up to various newsletters.  By using the double Opt-in feature, it will send the email address used, a link to confirm that they actually did subscribe to your online newsletters & it wasn’t someone else.  They must click the link in order to confirm their subscription & begin receiving your newsletters.

Don’t activate unconfirmed email addresses

You’ll often find a number of email addresses in your list that haven’t been activated.  The reasons for this are either, it wasn’t a real email address or the user has changed their mind.  Most software will allow you to re-send the confirmation email, but if you don’t get a reply from this, delete the email address and forget.

Read more about Spam Traps & Honeypot addresses

Spam content & spam check

From your subject line to the content of your newsletter, be careful of capitalising entire words, or phrases, using words such as ‘free’, ‘click here’, ‘one time opportunity’ & lots of exclamation points!!!!

Other areas to consider is a lot of white space, images, attachments, coloured text that is hard to read, and the size of the newsletter (try keeping it between 20-50k) to prevent spam filters automatically collecting your newsletter.

Most newsletter software offers a spam scanner, which highlights words & content within your content that may cause it to be marked as spam, allowing you to alter it before sending it out.  If yours doesn’t, search for “Spam checker” on the internet and choose from one of the many available.

Invite your audience to “white-List” you

Although there is blacklisting, there isn’t actually a white list to be added to.  However, you can ask your readers to add your from address to their address books or safe senders list.

Unsubscribe Link

Make sure you have a statement included in your email that is easy to find in each newsletter with a link for the recipient to click to unsubscribe & instructions to reply with the subject of “unsubscribe” if they choose or can’t get the link to work.  Some experts suggest that this appears at the top of the newsletter.

Unsubscribe requests

Australian laws under the Anti-Spam Act of 2003 states all unsubscribe requests must be processed within 5 business days.  Any emails sent after this time will be classed as Spam and the sender can be prosecuted.

Clearing bounced emails

When people have either closed their email account, have abandoned it or it’s been incorrectly entered, you will receive a bounce.  Often ISP (Internet Service Providers) & email providers such as Hotmail use these email addresses to search for spammers.

Most newsletter software offers an automatic bounce processor, but to be safe make sure you do a manual check on a regular basis and delete all bounced emails.  This will prevent you ending up being blacklisted & taking any other user on your server with you.

Read more about Spam Traps & Honeypot addresses

Allow Users to update their details

Save your valuable customers from having to create a new account when they need to update their email address.  Include a link in your newsletters to encourage them to click if they are about to change their email or want your newsletter to go to a different address. This will allow you to prevent bounces & keep them from marking your newsletter as spam.


Let your subscribers know when to expect your emails. For example:

“Our newsletters are sent quarterly, so keep an eye out for our next one late July”

If you plan to send out occasional announcements or blasts, either create a check list where your subscriber chooses the types of newsletters they wish to receive.  If your software doesn’t allow for this, ask your subscribers if they wish to receive the blasts & create a separate list for those who wish to receive them.

Know the anti-spam laws

In Australia, go to ACMA – Online Safety & Security site

Click here for the Practical spam guide for businesses

For a full list of Anti-spam Acts for each county, go to Wikipedia

Learn about Spam Traps or Honeypot addresses & how you can get caught, click here to read more