Why You Want Your Emails Filtered

Inbox filters aren’t just about emails ending up in the spam folder anymore.

Subscribers are now creating folders for more valuable emails, helping them to sort out the emails they want to read from the others in their cluttered inboxes. As more tools for inbox control become available, “email filtering” will become a more desirable term in email marketing.

This increase in “good filtering” sparks a whole new question: how do you create your message so it gets picked up by the good filters?

Be Consistent With Your From Line

Subscribers can set up a filter based on what the from line contains.
Email clients that allow you to do this include: Gmail, Apple, Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL.

If subscribers like your emails, they might set up a folder for emails that are just from you.

Here’s an example of a filter set to find only emails from Fairytale Brownies:

The important thing to remember is to be consistent. For example:

  • If you’re using initials or an abbreviated version of your company name, keep using that format
  • Don’t switch between using a personal name and a company name, stick with one
  • Don’t change the “from” email address without notifying subscribers

Remember your subscribers won’t be looking for your emails anywhere else after they’ve set up a specific folder, so let them know if you make any changes.

Think of Your Readers

Subscribers have the ability to set up a filter that looks at words used in the subject line.
Email clients that allow you to do this include: Gmail, Apple, Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL.

This filter can look for any words, but here are some examples of what can be set up:

  • Announce sales by using the phrase “% off” or “$ off”
  • Indicate a new “newsletter” or “issue”
  • Use the company name in the subject line

Here’s an example of a filter set up to look for sale emails (% off):

You’ll need to consider your audience for this one. Think of a word you commonly use in your subject line and try to remember to incorporate it in all messages.

Use Common Terminology

Another filter can be used to pick out certain phrases in the entire message.
You can use this option in selective email clients such as Gmail, Apple, Yahoo and AOL.

In order to benefit from this type of filter, make sure you:

  • Use terms that are common in your industry.
  • Try phrasing the same thing in different ways, especially if there are multiple keywords common in your industry
  • Again, stay consistent with the wording you use in your messages

For example, I have a filter set up for “gluten free:”

If someone uses another phrase that essentially means the same thing, such as “flourless,” it would not be caught by my filter.

Use Caution When Adding an Attachment

Some of your subscribers will also be able to set criteria regarding attachments.
This isn’t as widely available as the others, but Gmail allows you to select if you’re looking for attachments, while Apple allows subscribers to specify what’s in the name of the attachment.

If subscribers are expecting attachments from you, an attachment filter may be a good thing. However, whenever you are using attachments, make sure to:

  • Name the file so it’s easy to recognize
  • Keep the file as small as possible to avoid deliverability problems
  • Mention the attachment and the purpose of it in the message itself

You may find it’s safer to just host your document online. Services such as Dropbox allow you to do this. Many sites warn Internet users to avoid attachments in their emails, and it’s better to play it safe.

Do You Use Filters?

What filters have you set up? What filters do you think are the most common?