Hints & Tips - How to Avoid Spam

Here at Happy Grasshopper, we work hard to provide our customers with the tools they need to start conversations and build relationships through email...but we can only do so much.

Spam is universally known as the “bad guy,” with deals that are too good to be true and international royals who want to give you millions with just a little bit of work on your part. As email marketing evolved, so did email providers like AOL, Yahoo!, and Gmail. They’ve built filters to hide spam from your inbox - in fact, most never even know it’s there. Take a look at your spam folder, and you’ll see all the messages your provider has hidden for you.

Problem is, it’s not always spam - it just looks like it.

With that in mind, we’ve created some best practices when creating and sending email, including tips that will keep your messages in your recipients’ inboxes and out of their spam folders. =)

1. Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act

The CAN-SPAM Act was created to regulate emails used for marketing purposes. There are 6 main guidelines to follow:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines
  3. Tell recipients where you’re located
  4. Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future email from you
  5. Honor opt-out requests promptly
  6. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf

If you are using Happy Grasshopper’s content and sending through our portal, you are automatically covered. We ensure compliance with all CAN-SPAM guidelines. If you are creating your own content, you’ll want want to follow the guidelines above and below.

2. Avoid Trigger Words (Especially in Subject Lines!)

There are bunches of catchphrases someone would use when trying to sell you something, but you’re much smarter than that and would never use this verbiage within your subject line...

  2. Avoid using “$” and “!”
  3. Don’t use the following words - SALE, CHEAP, DISCOUNT, OFFER, MONEY, FREE, MILLION, BILLION, TRIAL, 100%

3. Send a Simpler Message and Avoid HTML overkill

It’s very common to include too much information within your message, and all of this additional data may cause your message to end up as spam.  You’ll want to avoid this by sending a much simpler message, and it’s another reason why you won’t be able to create a templated message within our system.  

We’ve already created a simple message for you to send, but you may edit a message to include an image or hyperlink to any webpage or video online.  This will help ensure your message will get delivered (compared to embedding, for example, a video directly into your message that can get blocked for the additional data).  

Feel free to also include an image, but don’t get carried away!  You’ll find it best to share any additional information once someone has responded to your message.  =)

4. Use Spam Checkers BEFORE Sending Your Emails

Before sending emails out to your entire list, it's worth the time to utilize a spam-checking service.  Lucky you… Happy Grasshopper already does this for each contact!

You may notice a few invalid contacts within your account when uploading any new contacts, and that may be because we already found that the email address is invalid or unable to reach.  You’ll be able to view the Details for each contact for a further description, but can also use these tools to do any spam-checking on your own:

5. Get OFF Blacklists

If your email has become blacklisted, it can become a real bother to send email.  But as long as you are following these rules to avoid sending spam, you won’t have much to worry about.

Just in case you're worried your email was blacklisted, you can check with these free sites:

You’ll need to follow up with each website if you find you were blacklisted.

6. Avoid Large Attachments and Use Hyperlinks Instead

We’ve already done a lot to help avoid this, so you won’t be able to attach a file when sending a message within Happy Grasshopper.  You’ll find it best to make your file available online, then include a hyperlink within your message if you’d like to share any downloadable content.  Generally, you should not send attachments to anyone who is not expecting them.

7. Reach People Who Want to Hear From You

When you collect contacts for messaging, make sure they know you’re going to be emailing them. You’ll want to be careful how you treat your contacts, and be very clear when you first send a message to let someone know you will continue to reach out over time.

Trust your sources!  It’s quite embarrassing to message someone that wasn’t expecting a message from you, and you don’t want them to mark a message as spam.  This could cause any messages to get blocked in the future when sending to other contacts, too.  Our Acknowledgement messages do an excellent job of being the first-touch to your contacts, but they should also know beforehand that you’ll be messaging them!

Sourcing contacts directly from your MLS or BrokerMetrics are a great help, but reaching outside your pool of lead sources into any purchased list will cause more harm than it does good.  Instead, you may consider hiring additional help to build your database from a source that has a targeted process aligned with your marketing goals.

Finally, be sure to keep the conversations going!

As spammers evolve and adapt, email providers do too - but you’ll remain in good standing as long as you’re starting real conversations with everyone you meet.  Everyone loves someone genuine, so be sure to keep it simple!  You can always share greater details after you’ve started a conversation and as you continue to keep in touch.  =)

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