Email marketing can be an an effective way to market, if you know how to sort through customer data.

But it can also be a burden. Think of the glut of emails you get daily. If you are like me and most entrepreneurs, you receive tens, possibly hundreds of e-newsletters and solicitations in addition to your daily intake of business and personal emails. While I see almost all, I rarely read the emails that are long, unclear and don't offer an immediate value proposition. And I definitely won't click through.

In fact, if you use a spam filter, most emails will end up there. Most CRM and email services assist businesses to monitor and avoid these blacklists. My company, Wild Creations, has used Infusionsoft in the past with great success. I asked Paul Sokol, a Small Business Consultant at Infusionsoft, for tips for marketing managers who use email and wanted to avoid landing in the dreaded "email blacklist."

1. Set expectations.

Set better expectations when someone joins your email list, and then follow through on your promises of communication frequency and value.

2. Provide options.

In the cases when you anticipate engaging frequently, such as once or twice per week, give customers the ability to control their communication preference (e.g. send me every email, send me a weekly summary, once a quarter, etc.). Make sure you honor their frequency request. 

3. Monitor engagement levels

Pay attention to engagement levels and periodically (ideally once a quarter) launch a re-engagement campaign to inactive users and remove people who don't respond. The more active and engaging your email lists, the less likely you and your IP address will get blacklisted.

4. Ask people to unsubscribe (and maybe you can get them back later).

While this may seem counterintuitive, by being blunt about your respect for the inbox relationship, people will appreciate you and will most likely stay. And for those who do leave, don't take it personally, as they weren't a good fit for your list.  

Also, pay attention to unsubscribe spikes, as this is very important data to analyze and can give you much insight into what you are and aren't doing the best.

Great inbound marketing campaigns (campaigns to get people to your website) quickly and effectively engage customers. The challenge with email campaigns is that you are competing with hundreds of daily emails for the fleeting attention of your reader. Once you have that attention, it's important to keep the trust and engagement without annoying your customer. These tips will help you maintain that engagement.

Do you have tips for avoiding spam filters?  Please share in the comments below.