Realizing your emails are going to spam folders is a reason for headaches when you work with email marketing. It is like seeing a lot of work going to waste. After all, emails affect every aspect of companies, such as:
- order confirmation;
- password requests and resets;
- product and services receipts;
- weekly newsletters;
- special offers or promotional sales;
- and more.
Making sure your users are receiving your messages is fundamental for the success of your business. Can you imagine if a customer isn’t able to find the receipt for a purchased product because it went directly to spam?
How can you build a solid relationship with your customers when they can’t receive, open and read your messages? If your emails are going to spam, you have a huge issue to fix.
You must be asking yourself: “how can I know that my emails are going to spam”? Well, some clear signs can prove that your emails aren’t being delivered as intended, such as low opening rates and poor engagement.
If you find out the motives related to emails going to spam, you can adopt some positive strategies to prevent it from happening frequently. We prepared this article to explain the causes of this problem, as well as to suggest ways to avoid it. This way, you won’t have headaches like this anymore.
- Why is spam a problem for email marketing?
- Why are my emails going to spam?
- Fix the spam problems and improve your deliverability
Why is spam a problem for email marketing?
In order to work, your email marketing campaigns must be seen. Otherwise, there is no point in them.
Reaching your audience has become harder and harder over the years, as virtual privacy and guidelines for protection were tightened, especially in the last decade. This way, making your messages land in real mailboxes has become a challenge.
Spam filters work. They are severe and rigorous in their analysis. After all, the circulation of spam is higher than the ideal, and filters work hard to stop it. However, they are not 100% accurate in their evaluation.
In this sense, they can even send legitimate messages directly to spam folders. There, they will be forgotten and eventually deleted. If it happens to you, your customers might never see your special offers, content, and news.
This way, you waste a great amount of money, which was spent to send these emails, and lose potential leads, which is an even greater loss.
People usually don’t look at the emails landed in the spam folder. They simply delete everything inside it. That’s why spam is a problem for email marketing.
We must remember that email marketing works, and reaching your audience might be hard, but it is achievable. After adopting some positive practices toward email security and privacy, spam will not be a problem anymore.
Why are my emails going to spam?
Planning email marketing campaigns is a hard task. A lot of work and effort from a whole team is needed for it. The bright side is that it can be rewarding, as long as you reach your subscribers’ mailboxes.
In other words, your messages can’t land in the spam folders. Even though you followed all the rules for sending emails by the book, you concluded the emails are going to spam folders. How can it be explained?
We will introduce some points of attention. They will make you understand more clearly the reasons why your emails are going to spam. Learn from wrongdoings to improve your performance.
Don’t ask for permission
Regulators for digital markets demand that any company that makes contact with its audience through email must have permission to do so.
Consent has to be clear, direct, and explicit. Nothing to hide from both parties. This means that the people who chose to give their email addresses by free will must also declare they want to receive your emails, newsletters, and promotional sales.
You might ask: how can I get such consent? You can include an opt-in field on your website and landing pages, which makes it obvious that your audience wants to subscribe and be contacted through email.
Some places are more strict than others, such as countries in Europe. They have a severe policy on online privacy. In the United States, you will find flexibility.
Above all, it doesn’t matter the location of your audience, getting permission before sending emails to anyone is an overall healthy practice to protect your deliverability and avoid emails going to spam folders.
Your email is blacklisted
Many companies use services and tools to send emails, especially when there is the necessity of sending many messages at once. The server clients that your company uses can send spam, which also affects your online reputation.
It makes you an easy target for spam filters. Your email address and domain can be blacklisted, hurting your online reputation.
Needless to say, you have to be very careful when choosing the right tools for email marketing campaigns. Take your time when choosing an email service provider. It is as important as your own company’s address.
Use spam trigger words
Spam filters act quickly when they identify certain trigger words in the subject line or body of an email. Pay attention to the words you use, such as:
- exaggerated adjectives (amazing, awesome, unmissable, and so on);
- misleading offers (“cancel at any moment”, “money guaranteed”, “free”);
- promises in general (“it will increase your sales”, “profit will grow”, “double income”);
- click-baits (“winner”, “you won”, “get money now”);
- never use the phrase: “This is not spam”;
- avoid ALL CAPS phrases;
- don’t use many exclamation points in sequence;
- many emojis in the sequence is also a trigger for spam filters;
- mind the spaces from word to word, grammar, and spelling.
This is just a sample of a very long list. Writing is a primordial factor to understand why your emails are going to spam.
A simple word can destroy entire campaigns. Make sure to have a list of trigger words by your side when planning an email marketing initiative.
Your emails might be going to spam because users have put you there. This is an obvious explanation. However, thinking about what caused the spam complaint is necessary.
First, review the content that you are sending. While you are at it, remember if you got users’ consent to send emails.
If you are sending high-quality content and have permission, maybe some users have accidentally put you in the spam folder or they don’t know why they subscribed to your channel.
Spam complaints can be your fault or not. However, you should know that too many messages flagged as spam can cause damage to your reputation. Email Service Providers (ESPs) will understand you as a spam sender, blocking your messages.
Especially if we are dealing with ESPs driven by Artificial Intelligence algorithms, such as Google, Yahoo, and Outlook. Considering they are the largest ESPs, you must be aware of spam complaints, keeping them at a minimum level.
Once the email is sent, there’s not much more to do. So, make sure your content is relevant and targeted to the right audience, which brings us to the next topic.
Don’t segment your audience
Engagement plays a relevant part in deliverability. When you are flagged as a spammer, it’s because you are sending messages to the wrong audience.
Let’s put it in another way: when you send messages to uninterested people, they will probably register a spam complaint, hurting your deliverability.
You have to be aware of the fact that your audience is composed of different groups, with different tastes and priorities. Segmenting your audience is primordial when you want to send an adequate offer to an interested audience.
Personalizing your content is going to increase your result, making your marketing campaigns more successful. Do not treat your subscribers like they are all the same person. With a strategy like this, your emails are going to spam.
Improve your engagement, by organizing and segmenting your audience, and your deliverability will be also highlighted.
Doesn’t have email authentication
Do you want to stay away from spam folders? So, you might consider setting up email authentication for your main domain and integrations.
Authentication also can allow third-party services to send emails on your behalf. Remember when we told you a user must give you explicit permission to send emails? When you don’t authenticate integrations, your emails are going to spam.
A functional way to authenticate your domain and integrations is to create SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records.
Besides stop the emails going to junk folders, SPF records are great to improve your deliverability and protect your reputation against the dangerous traps of the online world.
ISPs have a positive perception of senders that employ this tool. After all, they are helping to make the internet a safer place, improving the user experience while navigating online, while they contribute to stopping the circulation of spam.
The “from” part of the email is inaccurate
Spam filters are very rigorous when the sender doesn’t match the “from” part of the email. Of course, they are like this because, when a sender does that, there is a high risk of data stealing, which is a virtual crime.
For example, imagine receiving an email stating that the message comes from the federal government, reading the “from” part. But, in fact, it is not. It is someone very interested in stealing your data.
Stop these emails from circulating is of the highest importance. Shady techniques like this should be avoided at all costs.
Unfortunately, they are very common. Thanks to spam filters, a great part of them never get to real mailboxes.
But you must be aware of these. Sometimes, your employees send emails on your behalf, but your company is not mentioned in the “from” part of the email. Make sure you include this information, in order to be recognized as a legitimate sender.
Memorability and consistency are important factors to stop emails going to junk folders.
Lack of information on emails
To increase security, spam filters check for all the information they can find to validate domains as legitimate senders.
Sometimes, companies are reckless and do not include, or forget to do so, relevant information in the emails. For example, the location of the company is extremely necessary to give legitimacy to the message.
Actually, you are legally obliged to include your location in your emails. It can be the street address, a post office box near the physical location, or a mailbox registered under Postal Service regulations.
These pieces of information are usually located above the “Unsubscribe” button (another useful feature to avoid spam complaints), just at the bottom of the body of emails.
Emails present HTML issues
When we talk about internet formatting, eliminating all kinds of complexity is necessary. Keeping the HTML format clear and simple will avoid emails going to the spam folder.
Applying a good text-image ratio, nesting HTML tags, and avoiding external CSS files, as well as long links are good practices to avoid technical issues.
For example, never send image-only emails, with no text. It will trigger spam filters. As many spammers try to deceive filters with images (because filters can’t process them), the protocols for internet security tend to block image-only emails.
When you do use images, certify they are compressed for the ideal size. You might also be careful with the text fonts you chose. Be attentive and understand that they must be readable anywhere.
Finally, as people often open emails on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, your emails must be mobile responsive. Otherwise, some users will have their experience negatively affected, which might result in spam complaints.
Fix the spam problems and improve your deliverability
Now that we understand what might have been causing emails going to spam, it’s time to think about solutions.
Certainly, after adopting positive attitudes in relation to deliverability, you will stop emails going to junk folders.
Opt-in your lists
Receiving permission from your target audience will save you from a lot of spam-related problems.
When you opt-in your lists, collecting permissions from every email from your lists, you not only check for the validity of email addresses, but you also certify the message will land in real mailboxes. This means that people will open, and read your emails, possibly generating engagement and conversions.
Another thing to keep in mind is to ask subscribers to whitelist your company’s email address to make sure your messages won’t go to spam. Do it when you send welcome emails to newcomers.
It is also possible to send a registration message through email to confirm the new subscribers.
Opt-in mail lists are ideal to prevent emails from going to spam, and they are also the perfect tool to have success in marketing campaigns. Thus, you can spend less, and get more profits, boosting your ROI.
Check for blacklists
Sometimes, your emails are going to spam because your domain is listed on a public blacklist. You have to know if they appear on them, running blacklist checks regularly.
In case you are blacklisted, ISP will recognize your email address and domain as dangerous, making your emails land in spam folders.
To solve this, you must understand why you were blacklisted, fix the problem, and solicit your removal from it, which will probably happen when your reputation is restored. You have to be careful to never end up on a blacklist. Some actions to take to avoid being blacklisted are:
- respecting the guidelines for safety, imposed by most ISP;
- regularly clean your email list;
- verify emails for their validity;
- send only relevant content to your audience.
Build a healthy email list
Removing invalid addresses from your lists is an important step to building a healthy email list. After you do this cleaning, adopt strategies to keep it that way.
Like the invalid addresses, the inactive, temporary, and disposable ones are equally damaging to your reputation as a sender. Establishing a frequency to clean your list, and removing these disengaged addresses, is a good idea to protect your deliverability. It can happen every 6 months, for instance.
Adopt an Opt-in system for new contacts, and equip your landing pages with a real-time email validation to make sure only valid addresses will arrive in your database.
A good mailing listing is an engaged one. Forget all about having many contacts, this mindset is going to take you nowhere. If you keep emails that don’t generate any kind of engagement, eventually your emails are going to spam.
A healthy list is full of responsive and active users. These users, in turn, will be organized according to their stage in the sales funnel, level of engagement, location, age and so many other aspects that are interesting for list management.
When you stop worrying too much about including more and more contacts on your lists and focus on organizing your target audience and planning specific marketing campaigns for different groups, you will experience success.
Finally, under no circumstance buy contacts online. This strategy will take you directly to spam folders.
Set up an email preference center
When you provide a preference center for subscribers, you give them the freedom to adjust the frequency of emails, or the type of content they want to receive.
For instance, many people hate receiving new emails every day, especially if the content is uninteresting or only special offers. The solution they find to stop it is to register a spam complaint.
Putting subscribers in control is a way to improve their experience on your platforms, eliminating spam complaints almost completely.
From the very start, allow your targets to set their own preferences, in the sign-up process. Ask questions to understand the new users and what they expect from you.
Be a little curious, but don’t exaggerate. In most cases, less is more. If it is necessary, you can ask further questions as the new lead advances in the sales funnel. Moreover, you can use these pieces of information to help organize and segment your mailing lists.
This is a great way to improve conversion rates and other KPIs related to the level of engagement.
Validation of email lists
When you have an email verifier for mailing lists, you protect your online reputation and deliverability.
The internet is a place full of dangers. Many people or even bots will try filling out your registration forms with fake or invalid information. An email verifier will protect your domain from this undesired situation.
Besides protection, the validation of email lists is great to avoid bounce emails, because it makes sure only real addresses get to your database. Few bounces are the same as having awesome deliverability, making you achieve a good evaluation by spam filters and ISPs.
This way, you don’t have to worry about emails going to spam.
Now that the question “Why are my emails going to spam” was answered, get to know more about the features, benefits and importance of a email address validity.