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De-spam your email to increase email conversion

Category: Blog & News

One of the problems we have to overcome when corresponding with our customers is ending up in spam.

Now, I'm no technical expert, so I can't tell you anything about algorithms or spam filters. What I can tell you is how to structure the email and your message so if your customer reads it they don’t think it might be spam.


Here's the example that got me thinking about this problem. The email was in my spam folder that I check every few days just to make sure my inheritance is still on the way and I can get an enlargement anytime.

Example of an email that was treated as spam

The email is from a directory in which I am listed. At least, I think it’s from a directory in which I am listed because I haven’t been willing to click the Call to Action (CTA) button to find out. Strike one for their conversion.

Here’s a run down on what they got right and where it went wrong.


One thing you must do is ensure your email carries branding, including your name, logo and most importantly, contact details. I have obscured these elements in the example, but rest assured this business has done the right thing and included these identity markers.  

But branding is not enough. Spammers are getting better and better at copying branding to make their correspondence look official. Which is why you also need…


Addressing your customer by name is a great way of communicating that you know at least that about them. Also, it increases the odds your customer will be engaged by the message because we are attracted to things that are personalised. Again, this business has done that. Good, but not enough. That’s why you also need…

Proof before commitment

Where this business fell short was proving that they know something about me that a spammer would be unlikely to know. A spammer could know my name, so that’s not enough to reduce my button-clicking anxiety. They should have also included some elements of my listing in the email to build my confidence that a relationship exists. Of course, while a spammer could get these listing details because they are publically available, the odds are they wouldn’t bother.

So that’s what killed this business’ conversion. Fear. We need our emails to reduce any anxiety our customers are feeling before they will be willing to commit to clicking the button.

Golden rules for de-spamming 

Some golden rules you may wish to apply to avoid email purgatory:

  • Carry branding that is consistent with your website – a lack of continuity creates confusion and mistrust
  • Include your official address so they know you are real
  • Address them by name
  • Use the body of the email to talk about your relationship with them – remind them of what role you play and why they have done business with you
  • If possible, include evidence of your relationship (e.g. their customer number, account manager’s name, last transaction, full business name and address)
  • Support your CTA with WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) – why should they bother? What’s at stake for them?
  • Don’t ask them to click before you’ve mitigated any anxiety about you or where the button will take them

This article also appeared in Smartcompany.

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Bri Williams deletes all buying hesitation and maximises every dollar of your marketing spend by applying behavioural economics to the patterns of buying behaviour. More at