Ever found yourself asking this question:
“Why are my emails going to spam?”
You’re not alone.
Tons of emails go to the spam folder when they are caught by spam filters.
But why do they filter out your emails?
To help you get to the bottom of the problem, I’ve highlighted five major reasons why many legitimate emails (like yours) go to spam and how to avoid spam filters.
1. Your Recipients Never Asked for Your Emails
Anyone who hasn’t permitted you to send emails to them probably isn’t interested in receiving your emails in their inbox.
Sure, you can purchase mail lists or find email addresses from LinkedIn and other social media websites. However, when your emails reach these contacts, most of them will either ignore or delete your mail.
And if you continue sending them emails they didn’t ask for, you’re increasing the chances of your email being marked as spam and lowering your sender reputation.
But that isn’t all.
Some of the email addresses in your mailing list (especially if it’s a purchased list) might be spam traps — which further increases your bounce rate and decreases your sender score.
What’s a spam trap?
A spam trap is an email address used by prominent ISPs for email fraud management. These look like regular email addresses but don’t belong to any user and are only used to identify and blacklist the addresses of spammers.
If you have high spam complaints, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and ESP (Email Service Provider) can blacklist your email and IP address and mark you as a spammer.
2. Your Sender Address Is Incorrect
The domain name and email ID associated with any marketing email must be authentic for the spam filter to identify the sender.
Hiding the source of an email address with the help of a proxy server is a common tactic used by habitual spammers. That’s why certain spam filters, like header filters, check email headers (an HTML code snippet) to verify you as an approved sender.
If header filters can’t verify your sender information, your inbox placement chances take a big hit.
3. You’re Using Spam Trigger Words
Your emails will head to your recipient’s spam folder if they contain a spam trigger word.
What’s a spam trigger word?
Common words and phrases recognized by ESPs in spam emails are called spam triggers.
“Free,” “You are a winner,” “No disappointment,” etc., are a few examples of spam triggers.
Using such spam words in your email body can result in your mail being automatically marked as spam or junk mail (emails with too many promotional materials, donation requests, or catalogs).
4. Your Email Doesn’t Include an Unsubscribe Link
This is important if you send marketing and sales emails like newsletters or product promotions, etc.
If there’s no opt-out link in your email, you aren’t just making yourself vulnerable to spam complaints; you’re also ignoring the CAN-SPAM Act that governs email communications in the US.
Additionally, you’re giving subscribers the flexibility to unsubscribe whenever they want without lodging any spam complaints. This way, you can improve your sender and domain reputation.
5. You’re Using a Flagged IP Address
Sometimes your email has a clear header, no spam triggers, is CAN-SPAM compliant, and still ends up in the spam folder with other spam emails.
This can happen when you use a shared IP address or if your sending domain isn’t verified.
What does that mean?
Many email marketing platforms, like Mailjet and Sendinblue, offer shared IP addresses — that you and a hundred other business owners use to send emails.
If a user’s mailbox provider or email provider (like Gmail) flags a shared IP address due to spam complaints of another sender, the IP reputation of that address goes down.
This way, even if you send solicited emails through that address, it goes to recipients’ spam folder — due to no fault of your own.
You also have to check whether your sending domain follows authentications like:
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework): allows you to specify the mail server authorized to send emails from your domain.
- DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail): uses encrypted email signatures to verify if emails aren’t fake.
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance): allows senders to validate if their emails are protected by SPF and DKIM authentications.
These authentications block spoofing (disguising an unknown source as a known source) and phishing attacks (fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive data) — ensuring that your IP reputation is preserved.
How to Avoid Spam Filters: 4 Clear-Cut Ways
Here are four smart ways to avoid spam filters to ensure that your emails reach your recipient’s inboxes.
1. Create Quality Email Content
If you don’t want your legitimate message to be marked as a spam email, make sure the header has all the valid information, including the “From,” “To,” and domain name, etc.
Try to keep your email body simple and concise without using spammy words. Additionally, avoid using all caps for your email message and subject line.
Personalize emails by adding your recipient’s name, and ensure that your emails are multiple-email-client compatible by ensuring:
- The links and images have absolute paths.
- The email contains clear preview texts.
And don’t forget to run grammar checks before sending your emails!
2. Get Your Recipient’s Permission Using a Double Opt-In
Sure, using landing page and website forms are a great way to get your leads’ email IDs.
However, you need to ensure those mail address owners are actually willing to receive marketing emails from your business.
The double opt-in method ensures this.
This way, when a prospective subscriber submits their email address anywhere online (first opt-in), they get an instant confirmation link in their registered email address.
By clicking on the link (second opt-in), they confirm their intention to connect with you and permit you to add them to your email list so you can send them emails.
This way, you get a list of authentic email addresses that want your emails, and your spam count stays low.
3. Keep Your Email List Clean
If you want your emails to get past spam filters, it’s incredibly important to update your email list regularly.
Check for spam traps, disposable mail IDs, and shared email addresses in your mail list and remove them immediately. Sending emails to such mail addresses result in hard bounces — alerting spam filters and affecting your sender reputation.
Additionally, look for email addresses that are no longer active.
You can also check the opens and clicks metrics from your email campaign reports to evaluate who isn’t interested in your content and remove them from your list.
4. Ask Subscribers to Whitelist You
As an email recipient, when you whitelist an address, you’re marking it as a safe sender — notifying your spam filter that the sender is a safe email ID.
Requesting your subscribers to whitelist your email address is a great way to avoid spam filters as the filters recognize that your recipients have marked you as safe. This way, any future email you send goes directly to your subscriber’s inbox.