Hello Writers of Bloglandia,

It’s time for another post in which I share with you a resource that I hope will make your writing life even more marvelous.

If you’ve missed any of the Resources for Writers posts, you can find them by clicking that category link hanging around near the title of this post. And if you want to see why and how this all started, be sure to jump over to the very first Resources for Writers post HERE.

And as ever, if you’re a writer and you’d like to contribute to Resources for Writers, don’t hesitate to contact me with the book, tool, or mystery marvel you’d like to share.

A Quick Note on Timing

This will be my last “weekly” Resources for Writers post. I hope the past three weeks have given you a little taste of this new feature. Moving forward into 2021, I’ll be sharing a RfW one or two times a month…who knows, maybe some of them will help you with your New Year goals.

Okay, onto the resource…

This One’s a Little Different

While I’ve got a stockpile of book reviews and promo sites in the RfW line up for you, this is my first “tool” recommendation. But don’t worry, it won’t be the last.

And That Tool Is…

Mail Tester…as you might have guessed from the title of the post. I know, call me Captain Obvious.

Opinion: If I could marry this tool, I would. I love it that much!!

What in the World is Mail Tester?

The most common advice you’ll get in the world of marketing your books is to have a mailing list, have a mailing list, have a mailing list. The second most common is that you should have started your mailing list yesterday.

But once you have a mailing list, you’ll need to email the people on your list. So you carefully craft a lovely email full of heart and humor, updates and uproarious fun.

And sadly, you risk that beautiful bit of marketing prose going straight into the Spam folder.

As a recent example, I’m on the email list of a certain author who offers up phenomenal marketing tips. I open every email and have clicked on a link or two. This should tell my email system that I want his emails.

Then one day, I get an email that said it was Part Four of a series. I’d gotten Part One, but what happened to Parts Two and Three? Yep, they had ended up in my Spam folder. For what reason, I have NO idea, but I want to do everything possible to keep my own emails from the same dismal fate.

And Mail Tester is a tool, perhaps THE tool, to lessen the likelihood of your emails ending up in that dreaded Spam folder.

As the website says, “Test the Spamyness of your emails.”

How it Works

Once you’ve crafted your lovely email, most mail service providers (such as Mailerlite or Mailchimp) should provide an option to send a test email.

And, by the way, you should know about this because you should be sending your emails to yourself as a test to read over for typos and test any links. But that’s just me being naggy.

When you’re ready to test your email…

  • Leave your mail service provider’s web page open.
  • Head over to Mail Tester on a new tab
  • Right on the Mail Tester home page you’ll see a weird looking email address. Copy that address.
  • Leave the Mail Tester page open
  • Paste the address into your mail system’s Send a Test Email field.
  • Head back over to Mail Tester and click the big button that says, “Then check your score”
  • Analyze your results. You’ll get a score out of 10. Anything above a 9.0 should be good to go (but you still have room for improvement). Anything below that, well…you need to go fix some stuff!

One Very Important Caveat!!!

Mail Tester is free…up to a point. You can do something like three or five (sorry, I can’t remember) emails within a 24 hour period, then you’re cut off unless you pay.

Granted, you will probably only be testing one email at a time, but if you’re testing your welcome sequence, you may not be able to do it all in one day.

Still, if you do choose to pay, it’s fairly cheap, so not much of a barrier.

Does It Work?

Yes! My first test with Mail Tester generated a result of around 8.9. I followed the advice and bumped that up to 9.7.

Prior to this the open rate for my emails had been hovering around 30%, which is about average from what I hear, but still disheartening. After using the tips provided by Mail Tester, my open rates have jumped up to about 40% for my writing newsletter and 80% for my podcast newsletter.

And the tips for improvement are spot on! Some were things I sort of knew, but never implemented. Now, I’m implanting like crazy and my last test score came back with a 9.9 out of 10. That’s an A+ for me!

Is It for Everyone?

While I think so, if you’re not technically inclined or willing to put in the time to make the adjustments they recommend (most of which are really simple), it may not be.

But don’t get too scared of the more advanced stuff. Most of the “techie” changes such as authenticating your domain only need to be done once and you’ll never have to do it again.

But I still think you should use it. One very useful part of the analysis is a check for any broken links. I had one link I could have sworn was correct, but thanks to Mail Tester, I caught it before sending the email. Phew!

Even if You Don’t Want to Use Mail Tester…

You can always take a few basic steps to help keep your emails out of the Spam folder and improve the deliverability rate.

  • Send your emails as Rich Text instead of HTML. This made a big difference with my emails!!
  • Get an email address with your domain name instead of gmail.com or yahoo.com and use this with your mail service provider
  • Authenticate your domain (you do this via your mail service provider…search their help section for how to do this…it makes a world of difference).
  • If you have images, make sure you add in Alt Text (again, check with your mail service provider for how to do this). This tiny step makes a HUGE difference in your deliverability.
  • Avoid words like “click” “buy” “free” and other spammy sales words (and believe me, you get pretty creative when working around these trigger words).
  • Avoid lots of exclamation points!!!!
  • If you’re going to have several links, make sure you have a fair amount of text too. Lots of links and little text, very spammy.
  • Also make sure none of your links are broken…email systems HATE this and will cast your email into the bowels of Spam hell. Wait, is that a Monty Python skit?

Have you tried Mail Tester? If so, did you find it useful? If not, are you planning on giving it a try? Let me know in a comment!!

If you’d like to contribute to Resources for Writers, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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