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Is Your Email Spammy? You Might Be Surprised.

Here's How To Find Out.
Today's Luminate Online release includes enhancements to help you get more emails into your supporters' inboxes. 

Over the past several months we’ve talked a lot about email deliverability and how you can use engagement, list hygiene and other tools within Luminate to ensure more of your emails reach the inboxes of supporters who want to read your emails. Now, we shift to a tool we’ve enhanced so you can better gauge what aspects of your email messages might come across as spammy.

What Is Spam Assassin? 
We don't set out to create spam, but sometimes words, phrases or design choices in our emails can make inbox providers (like Gmail, Yahoo, etc) think that they're spam. Spam Assassin lets you predict when this will happen - and gives you hints as to which email elements to tweak so you don't trigger spam filters. 

Find the Spam Assassin report in the Send Review Email step of your message.
How to Use the Spam Assassin Report
If you run the report, you will get a number between 0-10 based on how "spammy" inbox providers might rate your email content, images, design and/or links. This report used to be a secondary step and not required. We’ve changed the behavior and made it a requirement in order to send an email. Why? We wanted to provide you with more insight into your email content and how it’s viewed by inbox providers.

To make this feature less invasive to the workflow for admins, we made the report an automated feature that is triggered whenever you approve your message. This means when you’ve approved your message, the report will generate a score to tell you how much of your content is considered spam. The system displays the spam assassin score in the confirmation message. An score above 5.0 means that many inbox providers will consider your message to be spam.

How Can I Use this Score to Improve My Email?
There are ways to bring that number down below 5.0 to help improve your inbox placement.
  • Go to the Send Review section and access the spam report by clicking on Run Report. 
  • Spam Assassin measures a couple of things to pull that score in – raw HTML content, email content (words, images, links) and your subject line. 
  • Check the score explanation to see which elements of the message trigger spam flags, and follow "Suggested Changes" if appropriate. 

Please note that the score is not the sole indicator of whether your message will make it into inboxes or not. It’s one factor to consider when troubleshooting low inbox delivery rates. Here's my top tips for using Spam Assassin: 

6 Key Takeaways
  1. Spam Assassin report is run every time you publish a message. If you return to draft and re-publish it will grab the latest score.
  2. Your Spam Assassin score is stored for each message in the database. Find it in Report Writer reports for email (check for Spam Report column).
  3. Don’t kill yourself trying to get the spam score to 0, it’s best to get it as low as possible. Remember this is just an assessment of the content and not judge and jury.
  4. Consider running this report before you approve your message, that way you can make changes while working on the draft message.
  5. Spam Assassin is an open source tool and doesn't widely publicize all of the factors it takes into account in determining whether a message is spam or not. (Because if it did, the spammers would use the info to game the system, right?)
  6. Learn more about Spam Assassin and their spam rules.  
Posted by Ryan O'Keefe on Aug 15, 2017 8:31 PM America/New_York