There’s nothing more frustrating than spending time, money, and effort on an email marketing campaign that barely makes it into any of your subscriber’s inboxes. While your deliverability rate may not be affected by emails landing in junk folders, your open rate and sender score will suffer.
If you’re wondering why this keeps happening, you’re not alone. As emailing became more popular, so did spamming and scamming. Now spam filters are super sensitive so that they can protect consumers from malicious content.
But you’re trying to run a business, not spread malicious content, and we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll review ten ways to stay out of the spam folder as much as possible so you can get that valuable placement in your customers’ inboxes.
1. You Were Marked as Spam
The easiest way to end up in someone’s spam folder is by your recipients flagging one of your messages as spam. This alerts their ISP that they either don’t trust your content or simply don’t want to see it. After flagging one message as spam, their ISP will see future messages from you and send them directly to the junk folder.
Email marketing can be a vicious cycle. The more spam complaints you get, the worse your sender reputation will be. And the lower your sender reputation is, the harder it will be for you to make it into people’s inboxes. But you can revive your reputation by having more positive interactions on your email, having recipients add you to their safelist, and limiting the number of emails you send to your subscribers.
2. You’re Not Following HTML Best Practices
HTML messages are phenomenal for creating engaging branded content. But if HTML messages aren’t formatted correctly, they could end up in spam folders. According to MailChimp, the best ways to ensure your HTML messages make it to the recipients’ inboxes include:
- Setting the width of your email between 600 and 800 pixels so your message looks good in preview and the content is easy to read
- Make sure the vital information in the email isn’t only contained in graphics because some servers will block images unless the recipient allows the images to be displayed
- Design your emails to be mobile-friendly since many consumers check their email through their smartphones
- Choose fonts that are easy to read and are usable on any platform and set them against a background that doesn’t blend in with the font color
3. Your Email Contains Spammy Words
If your email sounds like spam, it will probably get marked as spam. Many words sound “spammy,” but the most important thing is the context of your words. Hubspot compiled a list of spam trigger words, but using marketing words like “free” or “sale” won’t automatically get you tossed in the junk folder.
We doubt you’ll be using phrases like “hot singles near you” or “online biz opportunity,” but here are some ways to avoid sounding like spam in your emails:
- Avoid typos and use proper grammar
- Don’t write in all caps
- Don’t overuse exclamation points or emojis!!!
- Use punctuation properly
- Write like you’re sending a personal message to a friend or coworker
4. You Don’t Have Permission from Your Recipients
Before you start sending emails to anyone and everyone, it’s essential to get their permission first. Of course, you want to expand your subscription base, but sending emails without permission is a quick way to get yourself marked as spam. The best way to get permission from your audience is to use a double opt-in method. Having subscribers double opt-in gives them the chance to confirm that they want to receive emails from you and that the email you have for them is accurate.
5. You Have a Bad IP Reputation
Having a bad IP reputation can be especially problematic if you’re working from a shared IP rather than a dedicated IP. With a shared IP, you’re at the mercy of the other people using that IP, and if they’re not practicing good online habits, you’ll be the one to suffer for it. If your shared IP has a bad reputation, you may want to consider getting a dedicated IP and warming it up so you can control its reputation.
6. You Fail to Include an Unsubscribe Link
You should have an unsubscribe link to be CAN-SPAM compliant anyways, but giving people on your mailing list the chance to request to stop receiving emails from you benefits you in the long run. It may seem counterintuitive because you want people on your mailing list, but if consumers don’t have the option to unsubscribe, they might just mark you as spam. As we said earlier, being flagged as spam can hurt your reputation, so it’s best to lose a subscriber or two instead of damaging your sender’s reputation.
7. You're Sending Emails to Inactive Addresses
You have to update your mailing list consistently to make sure you aren’t randomly sending out emails to an empty audience. This can affect your deliverability rate if ISPs notice you’re sending out a bunch of bulk emails that your recipients aren’t opening.
Additionally, you should never buy an email list for any reason because the list will likely be full of inactive addresses and spam traps. Spam traps are email addresses monitored by ISPs to identify senders with dirty email lists. Falling into multiple spam traps can significantly damage your sender’s reputation.
8. You Haven't Set Up Email Authentication
Much like caller ID tells you who’s calling your phone, setting up email authentication allows you to verify your address as trustworthy to ISPs. There are three fundamental ways to authenticate your address:
- Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
- Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)
- Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, & Conformance (DMARC)
The three work together to verify that you are the person sending a message and that the message hasn’t been tampered with since you sent it.
9. You're Sending Too many Attachments
Too many attachments can look like a red flag to spam filters because cybercriminals will use attachments to send malware or viruses to unsuspecting recipients. It’s best to keep attachments out of newsletters or marketing emails altogether. If it’s necessary to send an attachment, it helps to upload it to a cloud storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox before you send it. Including a link to the file on a public platform in your email is less likely to trigger spam filters than attachments.
10. You Aren't Keeping Your Inbox Warm
Many people assume that once their inbox is warm, they’re good to go. But if an inbox is warmed up for a campaign and then left unused for a while, it will go cold again. The best thing you can do is to keep your inbox warm by sending consistent messages and interacting with another sender through that address. Additionally, if you expand your subscriber list, you can steadily warm your inbox up to allow for a larger volume of emails.
For the best ways to warm up your inbox and keep it warm, try Warmup Inbox for free.
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