It's wonderful to spend a great deal of time and energy perfecting your small business email marketing, but your hard work could be going to waste. If your emails go straight to spam folders, your customers will never see them.

To avoid that nasty fate, you need to read up on the legal requirements of CAN SPAM compliance for email communication. Then, follow these five best practices for small business email marketing to help make sure your emails are both seen and read by the right people.

1. Don't Opt-in Non-Subscribers

When you're trying to grow your email list, it can be tempting to simply import addresses of people you know from personal communications. But soliciting non-subscribers who haven't explicitly given their permission to be on a marketing list is actually against the law.

If you're using a third-party provider, opting in unsuspecting recipients can drive your spam reports through the roof and lead to your account getting suspended.

2. Keep it Real

Your business can succeed on its own merits, so resist the temptation to use a snappy-but-deceptive subject line on your email marketing campaigns. Getting over the hurdle of having a reader open your emails is challenging, but it doesn't mean you should use sneaky tactics to try to boost your open rate. After all, the goal of a marketing campaign should be to build interest and trust in your company. Make sure your email's subject line directly relates to the material inside the message so readers don't feel let down by the content.

3. Make it Easy to Unsubscribe

This may seem counterintuitive, but it's important to have a clear unsubscribe option. Don't make an already frustrated subscriber hunt to get off your list. Add a simple opt-out button at the bottom of all of your correspondence. This helps keep your spam reports down.

4. Send a Plaintext Version

If your email doesn't include a plaintext version, many spam filters will send your message straight to the trash. Plus, having text-only versions means that those who can't see the beautiful HTML version of your message on their browsers can still read what you have to say.

5. Watch Your Image-to-Text Ratio

If your emails are full of images, your readers may get tired of waiting before your message even loads. Be sure to balance text with images so that images load quickly and readers can get to the core of your message quicker.

Avoid the Spam Folder With Smart Email Marketing Tactics

If you can follow the best practices outlined above, you'll be on the right track when it comes to using email marketing to excite and inspire your customer base. Just remember: There are legal requirements around email marketing communication. If you're not sure, check with your legal advisor before you send!

Tags: Spam Laws small business email marketing