Why do some emails go to spam?

When launching a marketing campaign, the last thing you want is all your hard work going to waste - the recipient’s spam folder. However, the latest analytics show that almost 85% of emails are spam these days, and most get flagged. Let’s outline why your emails can go to spam and what you can do not to join that 85%.

Your subject lines contain spam triggers or are misleading

Ensure your subject lines don’t include words associated with money, discounts, and sensitive topics. Those are considered spam triggers, putting a lot of exclamation marks, typing in all caps, and making grammatical mistakes. To not mislead the recipient, don’t use anything that implies that they know you or that the contents of the email are different from what they are.

Your emails look like they were put together by a computer or a hasty spammer

Spam filters stop emails that don’t sound right. An abundance of typos and grammatical errors, poor composition, and even a general feeling that the text is off will trigger the filters. So make sure that your emails look and feel professional.

There are a lot of abandoned addresses in your campaign list

That can happen for many reasons, but the result will be the same: spam filters will assume your emails are spam. Remove inactive contacts from your lists regularly, or their amount can one day lead to spam filters flagging your entire campaign as spam.

Your sending address is off

Not only does a sender address full of numbers, random symbols, and other gibberish look unprofessional to the recipient, but it also triggers spam filters. Use a clear, clean, and accurate sender address. The best option is to include your name since generic “sales” or “marketing” don’t work that well. The same goes for domain extensions: don’t go exotic. Go simple.

Email authentication is not set up

This one is simple: you need to set up email authentication, which is mandatory. It builds trust between the sending and the receiving servers and confirms that the sender is authorized to email from this address. You can read more about email authentication types in our article here.

Your emails contain too many attachments

Since files may contain viruses and malware, attachments trigger spam filters like nothing else. Make sure never to use attachments in your emails. If you need to send some files, use a cloud storage service and put a link into the email. That should not alert the filters, and the recipient will be able to get your file freely.

Your recipient list is not targeted

You have to target your audience correctly. Sending your campaign to people and companies who are not your target audience or just generic addresses will result in your email being shown to many wrong people who are likely to flag it. Thus, your sending reputation will decrease for no good reason. And if the contents are not at least somewhat personalized, even spam filters may flag the email.

Your emails get flagged by the recipients

Sometimes that happens. Even if you did everything to avoid spam filters, the recipient could still flag your email themselves. The advice is the same: ensure your email is as clean as possible and the audience is correct.

General advice

We have a few more pieces of advice to help you. These are more general but just as important.

  • Ask your subscribers to whitelist your email address. Simple as that - emails from whitelisted addresses don’t go to the spam folder.
  • Always get permission to send emails. The recipients flag undesired emails with one click of a button. Ask, don’t spam.
  • Use a spam-checking tool. There are quite a few valuable tools that can check your emails and tell you if something’s off.
  • Follow the laws — specifically, the CAN-SPAM Act. Not only does it help you legally understand what spam is, but failing to follow it can also result in massive fines. You can read more about it in our article here.
  • Always provide the recipients with an option to unsubscribe. One little button defines if an unsatisfied recipient will flag you or not. And it is required by the CAN-SPAM Act, so it’s a win-win.
  • Be honest. That is more than just following the Act: tricking people into opening your emails or clicking the links is not a viable long-term strategy. Instead, try to create value for your subscribers, who will want to do it themselves.
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