How to Turn a Failed Startup Launch into a Success Story

We all make mistakes.

Sometimes these errors are minor, but other times they are grave. You need to learn how to avoid these mistakes.

Launching your own business is no easy task. As someone who has helped multiple startups to get off the ground, I know this process firsthand.

Things don’t always go as planned. Research shows that 90% of startup companies fail.

Sure, everything looked good on paper. You found the perfect name for your startup, but you hit some speed bumps along the way that you may not have been prepared for.

If your most recent business venture didn’t work out, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I get it. You poured your heart and soul into this project. The failure seems tough to overcome, especially if it cost you some money.

But your story doesn’t need to end here. You want to be an entrepreneur. That’s why you attempted to launch a business in the first place.

Don’t just accept defeat and try to get a standard nine-to-five job like everyone else out there. I know plenty of people who couldn’t get their startup off the ground.

You have two paths from here. You can either quit or move forward. Don’t fall into the group of entrepreneurs who quit.

I’ll show you how you can take that failed launch and turn it into an advantage that will move you forward. Here’s what you need to do.

Take a break

Launching a startup doesn’t happen in a week.

It starts with careful planning and research and then implementation of your ideas. You went through all the legal requirements of incorporating your business.

You spent time and money to develop products or software. Maybe you even built a mobile app.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. That’s why they make up the smallest population of the workforce across the globe.

7 billion

Everyone’s situation is different. Your startup could have failed after a couple of months or even a couple of years.

But regardless of when you failed, I’m sure you put in tons of hard work. You had some long hours and sleepless nights.

Working this hard over an extended period of time can burn you out.

It’s possible the effect of this failed launch even impacted your personal life.

You don’t want to let this event negatively affect the relationships with your family and friends. These relationships are much more important than your business.

Use this time as an opportunity to correct any wrongdoings that may have occurred while you were working on the startup.

Step away and just relax.

I realize this can be tough, especially if you don’t have a steady source of income at this moment. But you need to find a way to recharge your batteries.

As crazy as it sounds, taking a vacation might be just what you need. Put your startup out of your mind. Focus on your physical and mental health before you do anything else.

Once you have a chance to clear your mind, it will be much easier for you to jump back on the horse for a fresh start.

Figure out what went wrong

Now that you’ve had a chance to take your mind off things for awhile, it will be easier for you to assess the situation—you’ll have a more objective perspective.

You need to be able to look at yourself honestly in the mirror. It’s time to determine why your startup failed.

While it may be easy or convenient to blame someone else, you need to take responsibility for your actions. Here are the top reasons why startups fail:

why startups fail

If you look through this list, you’ll see many of these scenarios could have been avoided.

As the founder of your startup, you are responsible for making sure everything goes according to plan.

Let’s review the top three reasons for startup failure.

1. No market need

The number one reason why startups fail is because there wasn’t a market need. This should have been discovered during the early stages of the business. It’s your responsibility to conduct the proper market research. One of the first steps of launching a new business is to identify the target market of your startup.

If you skipped this step or took some shortcuts through the process, it could be the reason why you failed. Learning there was no market need for your startup could have saved you a ton of time, money, and effort if you figured this out in the early weeks or months.

2. Running out of cash

Running out of money could happen for a few reasons. Perhaps you either didn’t raise enough money or didn’t budget accordingly.

Again, both of those scenarios would fall on your shoulders.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying this so you can beat yourself up about it.

I just want you to figure out exactly what the problem was. Being in denial won’t help you move forward and turn your failure into a success story.

3. Not the right team

Surround yourself with people who can help you succeed. As you can see from the graph above, 23% of startups failed because the team wasn’t right.

Rather than blaming your team members for the demise of the company, make sure you find the proper people moving forward.

After all, who hired those team members? Don’t bring someone on board if they don’t bring anything to the table.

Research shows that founders with larger teams are able to pay themselves higher salaries.

team size

But doesn’t mean you should be hiring a ton of people right away.

Make sure you work with people who are compatible with your management style, hard working, and skilled in areas where you are weak.

For example, let’s say you are an excellent marketer. Working with a partner who is also a great marketer may not be what you need if neither of you knows how to develop products or handle finances.

Don’t lose confidence

Failure can be an extremely humbling experience.

But you need to be able to find the balance between being humble and remaining confident.

Entrepreneurs typically have that “eye of the tiger” character trait that gives them an edge in life. Don’t lose that feeling and mentality just because of a mishap.

Sure, you may not approach your next venture with that feeling of invincibility you had when you started your last one, but you should always remain confident in yourself.

Your failed startup is just one minor event on the long timeline of your life. Don’t let it define you.

Instead, use it as motivation to bounce back and be better than ever.

Trust me, you weren’t the first person, and you certainly won’t be the last, who failed at something. People have been in situations far worse than yours.

Look at the positives in your life. You’ve got family, friends, and your health. Be thankful for what you have.

I have some encouraging news. The next time you launch a startup, you’ll have a greater chance of succeeding:

startup success rate

This makes sense.

That’s because you’ve been through this process before. It won’t be as overwhelming the next time because you’ll know what to expect.

Learn from your mistakes

Now that you’ve taken the time to recognize what went wrong, learn from those mistakes.

During what stage did your startup fail? Was it before or after the launch?

Did you have problems with production? Was there an issue with your product?

The key is to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes twice. You can’t just blindly approach your next startup without keeping your previous mistakes in the back of your mind.

Don’t take any shortcuts. Make sure there is a market for your brand. Secure the proper funding to reduce the chances of running out of money.

Bring in a partner or two if you need help. But it’s important to make sure everyone involved has a clearly defined role.

Here’s a look at the typical organizational structure of a business:


Obviously, these titles will vary based on your type of business. But you can still use this as a reference so everyone clearly understands the management hierarchy.

Don’t be so hesitant to raise money from outside investors.

You’ll have less equity in the company, but you won’t be crippled financially if things end up going wrong again.

Plus, the fact that others will have a stake in the business will make them care more too. They will also put in the effort to make sure the company is successful because they have money on the line as well.

Focus on your concept

Take the time to put some effort into your concept whether it’s:

  • a product
  • a service or
  • software

I’m assuming your idea falls into one of these three categories or potentially a combination of them.

Ask yourself these questions: Do I need to start from scratch? Or can I make a variation of my failed attempt?

Sometimes, you may not need a completely new idea for a business. On the other hand, it may be in your best interest to start over with a new concept.

Everyone’s situation is unique.

It’s possible your product or concept wasn’t the issue that led to the failed launch. There may have been problems with budgeting, marketing, or some other factor that hindered your success.

If that’s the case, you could just launch another startup with the same concept under a different name.

Develop a detailed business plan

After you’ve taken the time to analyze your failure, it’s time to get back on the horse.

Whether you’re going to launch with the same concept or a new one, you have to start with a business plan.

Learn how to write a business plan for your startup. Business plans will keep you accountable for your actions. If you put something on paper, you’ll make the effort to follow through with it.

Plus, writing a business plan increases your chances of securing funds and growing your business.

business plan

As a result, your chances of success will be much higher.

The first step of writing a business plan is clearly defining your target market. This will tell you exactly whom your brand is for.

Research your competitors. Is your product already available on the market? With whom are you competing?

This will help you come up with a strategy separating you from the crowd.

Set a realistic budget. Recall our discussion about investors. Make sure you raise enough money so that you don’t have to worry about running out of cash.

Include a financial section of your business plan. When will you break even? Display your cash flow projections and expenses.

Account for everything to make sure you can survive until you have a steady income.

Your business plan should include a plan to market your startup company.


If your new idea for your business feels like it has legs, go for it.

Be confident in yourself and this new idea. Go through the steps carefully without taking any shortcuts.

Just don’t rush into things. It’s important for you to take a break in between these launch attempts. Take the time to analyze what went wrong so you can learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them.

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone.

Don’t feel obligated to start a new business right away if you’re not ready. You may decide to try something else in the meantime.

But as we discussed earlier, you’ll have a greater chance of succeeding the next time around, so don’t be discouraged by what happened in the past.

Turn your idea into a reality.

How were you able to identify what went wrong with your first startup launch?

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Why I Spent $500,000 Buying a Blog That Generates No Revenue

neil patel
(If you are wondering, the image of me above was taken when I used to work at KISSmetrics with Hiten Shah… I used to have hair)

In early January 2017, I purchased the KISSmetrics website for $500,000.

If you go to the site, you’ll notice that it forwards here to (which I will get into later in the post).

The $500,000 didn’t get me the company, KISSmetrics, or any of the revenue streams. The parent company, Space Pencil, is continually improving and developing the product.

And on top of that, there are restrictions. I can’t just pop up a competing company or any company on the KISSmetrics site.

So why did they sell me the domain? And why would I pay $500,000 for it?

I can’t fully answer why they sold it, but I do know a lot of their customers came from word of mouth, conferences, paid ads, and other forms of marketing that didn’t include SEO or content marketing.

For that reason, the domain probably wasn’t as valuable to them as it was to me. And of course, who wouldn’t want extra cash?

I’m assuming they are very calculated because they are an analytics company, so they probably ran the numbers on how much revenue the inbound traffic was generating them and came to the conclusion that the $500,000 price tag seemed worth it.

Now, before I get into why I spent $500,000 on the domain, let me first break down my thought process as I am buying out a lot of properties in the marketing space (more to be announced in the future).

Why am I buying sites that aren’t generating revenue?

This wasn’t the first or the last site that I’ll buy in the space.

I recently blogged about how I bought Ubersuggest. And it wasn’t generating a single dollar in revenue.

Well technically, there were ads on the site, but I quickly killed those off.

And eventually, I ported it over to

When I am looking at sites to buy, I am only looking for 1 thing… traffic. And of course, the quality (and relevancy) of that traffic.

See, I already have a revenue stream, which is my ad agency, Neil Patel Digital.

So, my goal is to find as many sites that have a similar traffic profile to and leverage them to drive my agency more leads.

How do you know you won’t lose money?

I don’t!

This approach doesn’t guarantee I’ll make more money.

I look at the business as tons of tiny experiments. You don’t build a huge business through one simple marketing strategy or tactic.

You have to combine a lot of little things to get your desired outcome.

And sometimes you’ll make mistakes along the way that will cost you money, which is fine. You have to keep one thing in mind… without testing, you won’t be big.

With my ad agency, we tend to mainly have U.S. clients. Yes, we serve other regions as well… for example, we have an ad agency in Brazil.

neil patel brazil

But I myself mainly focus on driving traffic to the U.S. ad agency, and the other teams just replicate as I don’t speak Portuguese, German, or any of the required languages for the other regions we are in.

So, when I buy companies, I look for traffic that is ideally in the U.S.

Sure, the ad agency can work with companies in Australia, Canada, and even the United Kingdom, but it’s tough.

There’s a huge difference in currency between Australia and the U.S. and the same goes for Canada.

And with the U.K. there is a 5 to 8-hour time zone difference, which makes it a bit more difficult to communicate with clients.

That’s why when I buy a site, I’m ideally looking for U.S. traffic.

When I bought Ubersuggest it had very little U.S. traffic. Indonesia and India were the two most popular regions.

But I bought it because I knew I could build a much better tool and over time grow the U.S. traffic by doing a few email blasts, getting on Product Hunt, and by creating some press.

And I have…

ubersuggest traffic

As you can see from the screenshot above, U.S. is the most popular region followed by India and Brazil.

Over time it shouldn’t be too difficult to 3 or even 4x that number as long as I release more features.

Now, my costs on Ubersuggest have gotten into the 6 figures per month, and I am not generating any income from it.

There is no guarantee that it will generate any revenue, but I have a pretty effective sales funnel, which I will share later in the post. Because of that sales funnel my risk with Ubersuggest is pretty low.

As long as I can grow the traffic enough, I should be able to monetize.

What about KISSmetrics?

As for KISSmetrics, I mainly bought the domain for the blog traffic.

During its peak it was generating 1,260,681 unique visitors per month:

kissmetrics peak

By the time I bought the blog, traffic had dropped to 805,042 unique visitors per month:

kissmetrics purchase

That’s a 36% drop in traffic. Ouch!

And then to make matters worse, I decided that I wanted to cut the traffic even more.

There were so many articles on KISSmetrics that were outdated and irrelevant, so I had no choice but to cut them.

For example, there were articles about Vine (which Twitter purchased and killed), Google Website Optimizer (no longer exists), Mob Wars (a Facebook game that no longer exists)… and the list goes on and on.

In addition to that, I knew that I could never monetize irrelevant traffic. Yes, more traffic is good, but only as long as it is relevant.

I instantly cut the KISSmetrics blog in half by “deleting” over 1,024 blog posts. Now, I didn’t just delete them, I made sure I added 301 redirects to the most relevant pages here on

Once I did that, my traffic dropped again. I was now sitting at 585,783 unique visitors a month.

kissmetrics drop

It sucks, but it had to be done. The last thing I wanted to do was spend time and money maintaining old blog posts that would never drive a dollar in revenue.

I knew that if someone was going to come to my blog to research Vine, there was little to no chance that the person would convert into a 6-figure consulting contract.

After I pruned and cropped the KISSmetrics blog, I naturally followed the same path of Ubersuggest and merged it in to

The merge

The KISSmetrics merge was a bit more complicated than Ubersuggest.

With Ubersuggest, I didn’t have a keyword research tool on, so all I had to do was slap on a new design, add a feature or two, and port it over.

With KISSmetrics, a lot of the content was similar to For the ones that were similar, I kept the version considering this blog generates more traffic than the KISSmetrics one.

As for all of the content that was unique and different, I ended up moving it over and applying 301 redirects.

If I decided to skip the pruning and cropping stage that I described above, the KISSmetrics blog would have had more traffic. And when I merged it in with I would have done even better.

But in marketing you can can’t focus on vanity metrics like how many more unique visitors you are getting per month. You need to keep your eye on the prize.

And for me, that’s leads.

The more leads I generate for my ad agency, the more likely I’ll increase my revenue.

Here’s my lead count for the weeks prior to the KISSmetrics merge:

hubspot leads

When looking at the table above, keep in mind it shows leads from the U.S. only.

The KISSmetrics blog was merged on the 25th. When you add up all of the numbers from the previous week, there were 469 leads in total, of which 61 were marketing qualified leads.

That means there were 61 leads that the sales reps were able to contact as the vast majority of leads are companies that are too small for us to service.

When you look at the week of the 25th, there were a total of 621 leads. 92 where marketing qualified leads.

Just from that one acquisition, I was able to grow my marketing qualified leads by 50.8%. 🙂

I know what you are thinking though. The week after the 25th (7/2) the leads tanked again. Well, you have to keep in mind that the table only shows leads from the U.S. and during that week there was a national holiday, the 4th of July. So, leads were expected to be low.

But still, even with the holiday, we generated 496 leads, 68 of which where marketing qualified. We still generated more marketing qualified leads than when we didn’t have the KISSmetrics traffic.

The early results show that this is going to work out (or so I hope). If you ever want to consider buying up sites that aren’t generating revenue, you need to know your numbers like the back of your hand.

My sales funnel

Some of you are probably wondering how I promote my agency from this site. As I mentioned earlier, I will share my funnel and stats with you.

The way I monetize the traffic is by collecting leads (and my sales reps turn those leads into customers).

On the homepage, you will see a URL box.

neil patel homepage

Once you enter a URL, we do a quick analysis (it’s not 100% accurate all of the time).

neil patel analysis

And then we show you how many technical SEO errors you have and collect your information (this is how you become a lead).

lead form

And assuming we think you are a good fit, you see a screen that allows you to schedule a call (less than 18% of the leads see this).

schedule call

From there, someone on my team will do a discovery call with you.

Assuming things go well, a few of us internally review everything to double check we can really help, we then create projections and a presentation before pitching you for your money (in exchange for services of course).

That’s the funnel on in a nutshell… It’s pretty fine-tuned as well.

For example, when someone books a call we send them text reminders using Twilio to show up to the call as we know this increases the odds of you getting on the phone.

We even do subtle things like asking for your “work email” on the lead form. We know that 9 out 10 leads that give us a Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, or any other non-work email are typically not qualified.

And it doesn’t stop there… there are lead forms all over for this same funnel.

If you are reading a blog post like this, you’ll see a bar at the top that looks something like:

exit popup

Or if you are about to exit, you will see an exit popup that looks like:

exit popup

You’ll even see a thank you page that promotes my ad agency once you opt-in:

video thanks

And if I don’t convince you to reach out to us for marketing help right then and there, you’ll also receive an email or two from me about my ad agency.

As you can see, I’ve fine-tuned my site for conversions.

So much so, that every 1,000 unique visitors from the U.S. turns into 4.4 leads. And although that may not seem high, keep in mind that my goal isn’t to get as many leads as possible. I’m optimizing for quality over quantity as I don’t want to waste the time of my sales team.

For example, I had 2 reps that had a closing ratio of 50% last month. That means for every 2 deals they pitched, 1 would sign up for a 6-figure contract, which is an extremely high closing ratio.

Hence, I am trying to focus on quality so everyone in sales can get to 50% as it makes the business more efficient and profitable.

The last thing you want to do is pay a sales rep tons of money to talk to 50 people to only find 1 qualified lead. That hurts both you and your sales reps.


The strategy I am using to buy websites may seem risky, but I know my numbers like the back of my hand. From an outsider’s perspective it may seem crazy, but to me, it is super logical.

And the reason I buy sites for their traffic is that I already have a working business model.

So, buying sites based on their traffic is much cheaper than buying sites for their revenue. In addition to that, my return on investment is much larger.

For example, if I wanted to buy KISSmetrics (the whole business), I would have to spend millions and millions of dollars.

I’m looking for deals, it’s how you grow faster without having to raise venture capital.

When you use this strategy, there is no guarantee you will make a return on your investment, but if you spend time understanding the numbers you can reduce your risk.

I knew that going into this KISSmetrics deal that I will generate at least an extra $500,000 in profit from this one acquisition.

Realistically it should be much more than that as the additional leads seem to be of the same quality, and the numbers are penciling out for it to add well into the millions in revenue per year.

But before you pull the trigger and buy up a few sites in your space, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t buy sites that rely on 1 traffic source – you don’t want to buy sites that only have Facebook traffic. Or even Google traffic. Ideally, any site you buy should have multiple traffic sources (other than paid ads) as it will reduce your risk in case they lose their traffic from a specific channel.
  2. Buy old sites – sites that are less than 3 years old are risky. Their numbers fluctuate more than older sites.
  3. Spend time understanding the audience – run surveys, dive deep into Google Analytics… do whatever you can to ensure that the site you are buying has an audience that is similar to your current business.
  4. Be patient and look for deals – I hit up hundreds of sites every month. Some people hate my emails and won’t give me the time of day. That’s ok. I’m a big believer and continually pushing forward until I find the right deal. I won’t spend money just because I am getting antsy.
  5. Get creative – a lot of people think their site is worth more than it really is. Try to explain to them what it is really worth using data. I also structure deals in unique ways, such as I gave KISSmetrics up to 6 months before they had to transition to a new domain (and to some extent they are still allowed to use the existing domain for their client login area). You can even work out payment plans, seller based financing, or equity deals… you just have to think outside the box.

So, what do you think about my acquisition strategy? Are you going to try it out?

The post Why I Spent $500,000 Buying a Blog That Generates No Revenue appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Get More Subscribers by Provoking People to Ask This Question

Immediately after getting an idea for a content project, many content creators become preoccupied by the existing competition: “It will be extremely difficult to stand out.” If that sounds familiar, I’m hoping you’ll change your mind by the time you finish reading this post. To start, think of the last time you heard a song
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The post Get More Subscribers by Provoking People to Ask This Question appeared first on Copyblogger.

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How to Write Marketing Emails That Don’t Get Marked as Spam

Email marketing needs to be a priority for all businesses in 2018.

It doesn’t matter what type of company you have or what industry you’re in. In fact, 89% of marketers named email as their primary method of lead generation.

If you are putting more effort into your email marketing strategy, you’ve got the right mindset.

That said, just because you’re sending lots of promotional emails doesn’t necessarily mean they are effective.

Some of your emails might be getting marked as spam.

You spent time carefully writing your content, but you didn’t get the results you had expected. Why did that happen?

As you’ll soon learn, there are several different reasons why your emails are getting marked as spam. That was my inspiration for writing this guide.

I want to help you identify what’s putting your messages in the spam folder.

Even if you’re not currently getting your content marked as spam, you can still benefit from this guide. Understanding these email principles and best practices for writing marketing content will help you avoid these mistakes in the future.

In a perfect world, your emails should go straight to the recipient’s inbox, get opened, and generate click-throughs.

But you can’t get conversions if your content is being marked as spam. Keep my recommendations in mind, and use this guide as a reference moving forward.

Understand how consumers define spam

Spam used to be pretty easy to identify.

You’d get a message saying you won a contest you didn’t enter. The subject line would have a bunch of stars and other sketchy characters.

The message would come from an unknown sender.

In your lifetime, you probably even got some spam messages with subjects featuring NSFW content. I don’t think I need to provide an example of this since I’m sure you have an idea of what I’m referring to.

Years ago, spam would even contain malicious content, e.g., attachments containing viruses or phishing scams.

But email software has improved over time, and these messages tend to go straight to the spam folder.

However, now legitimate brands are getting emails marked as spam because the consumer definition of it has changed:

define spam

As you can see, consumers report messages as spam even if they know the sender. They’ll even flag spam from senders who have their permission to send them emails.

This is a big game changer.

Someone could willingly sign up to receive emails from your brand and still send your content to the spam folder.

Studies show 57% of people say getting too many emails from a sender or receiving irrelevant messages causes them to mark the content as spam.

What does this mean for you as a marketer?

It means that your promotional messages are susceptible to getting marked as spam. Being a reputable brand and sending messages only to your subscribers doesn’t make you immune to this.

Don’t buy subscribers

As I just said, even recipients who subscribed to receive emails from a brand are still marking messages as spam.

If you’re buying email lists and sending content to people who never signed up to receive them, there is even a greater chance you’ll be heading for the spam folder.

Furthermore, you’re putting yourself at risk of violating the CAN-SPAM Act, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.

Overall, sending unsolicited emails is just a losing strategy. In addition to the legal repercussions, it’s terrible for your brand reputation.

An average person who works in an office receives 121 emails each day. They won’t waste time checking unwanted messages.

Put yourself in their shoes for a minute. If you get a promotional message from a brand you never heard of and never signed up for, are you going to buy something from them? Probably not.

You can’t expect to see results from other people who receive these unwanted messages.

Instead, you should be focusing on how to grow your email list by getting new subscribers. Include signup forms on your website.

Research shows that the most common placement for email opt-in forms is in the footer of each page.


Give this strategy a try, and watch your email list grow.

Now, you’ll be sending promotional content to people who actually want to hear from you as opposed to random email addresses you purchased.

Check spam risk before you hit send

Most email software for marketers has a built-in feature that checks for spam.

It scans your message and determines how likely it is to get sent to the spam folder.

To avoid a high spam risk, make sure you limit the use of promotional words such as:

  • free
  • buy
  • promo

Don’t get me wrong, you can include these words in your message, but use them sparingly.

Avoid special characters and writing in all capital letters. Don’t make obscure choices, e.g., adding spaces between letters, like F R E E.

Make sure the size of your email isn’t too big either.

If you’ve got links, be sure they from reputable websites with a high domain authority.

Your messages shouldn’t be too text-heavy or image-heavy. Balance text and images.

Don’t include too many colors or text written in colors difficult to read.

Here’s an example of what the spam check feature looks like on the Constant Contact platform:

constant contact

It may look a bit different on a different platform, but you’ll still be able to accomplish the same thing.

If your spam checker says you’re at a high risk of being marked as spam, you need to make some changes before you hit send.

Limit your sending frequency

As a business owner, you think about your brand 24 hours a day. I can relate to this.

You’re always coming up with new ideas to promote your company.

But your customers and email subscribers aren’t always thinking about you the same way you think about them. That’s just a reality. Can you blame them?

They have more important things on their minds, and they don’t want to hear from you that often.

Distributing promotional emails on a daily basis is not going to help your cause. You need to be selective when you send a new message.

When it comes to receiving emails, consumers report that sending emails too often is the number one most annoying action taken by marketers:


I’d recommend limiting these messages to once a week at the most.

You can even change the sending frequency based on what the subscriber prefers.

When a new customer signs up to receive your content, ask them how often they want to hear from you. You can segment this list by people who want weekly messages or just a monthly newsletter.

Giving your subscribers exactly what they’re asking for reduces your chances of getting marked as spam.

Use a clearly labeled “from” field address

Make it clear whom the email is from.

Some of you may have multiple email addresses within your domain, depending on the size of your company.

For example, if someone submits a complaint or request for help on your website, they may get a reply from a

But if they’re trying to make a purchase or return an item, email inquiries might be made through

Don’t change the sender field too often. Try to stick with the one that works best for your promotional messages.

Avoid odd choices, such as or

Make sure you create a solid reputation for these sender fields. It will build trust with your subscribers and even increase the chances that they will add the address to their contacts lists.

If they are used to receiving your marketing emails from the same sender address and one day it comes from a different one, they may think it’s spam.

Even if that message is coming from your company, it’s confusing to your subscribers.

Don’t try to trick the recipient

I see people make this mistake all the time.

In an attempt to increase email open rates, they try to be sneaky and trick their subscribers into clicking the message.

That’s a big mistake. Tricking your customers can damage your brand.

In addition to marking your message as spam, the recipient might ultimately unsubscribe from your email list. More than half of consumers say they have felt cheated or tricked into opening a promotional email:


I’ll share with you some strategies that are perceived as deceptive by recipients.

Do not start your subject line with “Fwd:” or “Re:” to try to get more opens. This type of text implies you’ve already had a previous communication with the subscriber.

Discovering this was not the case will put a bad taste in their mouths.

Don’t send a message telling people they’ve won a prize if they haven’t actually won anything. Again, this is a fast way to disappoint the recipient and get your content marked as spam.

I’ve also seen some marketers conceal spam content by creating an image with text written on it.

You might fool spam filters, but you won’t fool the person who opens the email. They’ll still send you to the spam folder.

Stay relevant

You need to focus on the content of your messages.

Ask yourself these questions before you hit send: Why are you sending this email? Is this message adding value to the subscriber?

If you don’t have a clear answer to these, you should probably re-evaluate the message.

Don’t send content just to say hello or provide a friendly reminder that your company exists. Your subscribers don’t care about this.

Here’s a look at the top reasons why emails get reported as spam:

reasons consumers mark spam

Take a look at the top reason.

Earlier I talked about how the frequency of your emails can cause you to get marked as spam. Well, there is a second part to this principle.

Your content needs to be relevant.

Even if you’re sending emails only weekly or bi-monthly, you can still get sent to the spam folder if the subscribers think the message is irrelevant.

For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce website selling home furniture. A marketing email updating your subscribers about the weather doesn’t add value to their lives. It also has nothing to do with your brand.

Make an effort to always stay on brand.

If it’s been a while since you’ve communicated with your subscribers and you feel like it’s time to send a new email, you probably can’t go wrong by sending out a discount or promotional code.

Run a flash sale, or send an exclusive personalized offer.

These types of messages are likely to get opened and lead to conversions.

Master your subject lines

A successful email marketing campaign starts with the subject line.

You could have the best promotional message in the world, but nobody will see it if they don’t open the message.

It’s in your best interest to keep your subject line as short as possible. Research shows that email subjects between 1 and 20 characters yield the highest open rates, regardless of what type of email you’re sending.

This is partially due to the fact that 55% of emails are opened on mobile devices.

If your subject line is too long, it will get cut off when it’s viewed on a cell phone. If the subscriber can’t read the full subject, it decreases the chances they’ll open the message.

Let’s put open rates aside for a minute and get back to the topic of discussion: spam.

Research shows that nearly 70% of emails get flagged as spam just based on the subject line:

subject line

Learning how to write email subject lines will help reduce your chances of getting marked as spam.

I recommend personalizing your subject lines. Personal subjects have higher open rates and click-through rates. They also tend to increase website traffic and drive sales.

Use your subject line to create a sense of urgency. Provide an offer that won’t last forever, and make sure it’s properly conveyed in the subject.

Tell a story. Provide breaking news. Stimulate curiosity.

These are all great types of subject lines that will entice your subscribers to open your messages instead of reporting them as spam.


It’s great you’re focusing on your email marketing campaigns. But if your content is getting marked as spam, it’s obviously not an effective strategy.

Times have changed. Even reputable brands who have permission from recipients to send emails are getting flagged as spam.

The key is being able to identify why emails get sent to the spam folder and how you can avoid this from happening to you.

Never buy subscribers or send unsolicited emails. Instead, use your website as a tool for growing your email list.

Use tools to help check your content for spam before you hit send.

Don’t send marketing emails too often. Clearly label the sender field, and don’t change this address.

Do not deceive your subscribers by tricking them into opening a message. Always make sure the content of your emails is relevant.

Learn how to write subject lines that lead to opens and clicks as opposed to the spam folder.

Following these tips will help you avoid getting marked as spam. Ultimately, this will lead to higher conversions for your business.

How is your brand writing promotional emails without getting marked as spam?

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Avoid ‘All-or-Nothing’ Advice to Get Smarter about Your Business and Marketing

Most sites that teach digital business and marketing have absolutist prescriptions. “You must do this.” “You must never do that.” But the web is a complicated place. And rigid, black-and-white advice will only take you so far. This week, we talked about three ways to navigate the subtleties of conducting business online. On Monday, Stefanie
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