Why Do Your Emails Go to Spam & How to Avoid It

Avatar for Kat Garcia Kat Garcia
Avatar for Kat Garcia Kat Garcia

April 15, 2022

5 min read

Why Do Your Emails Go to Spam & How to Avoid It

In email marketing, you can send out the most beautifully designed and curated content but your emails are just not getting the attention they deserve. An issue you may be running into is that your emails are ending up in spam.

If you see you have low open rates or your deliverability score is not so great, the reason may be that your subscribers are never getting the chance to even see your emails.

Did you know that email has a median ROI of 122%? Which is four times higher than other marketing formats, including social media, direct mail AND paid search (eMarketer). So when your emails are getting sent to spam, this can cause some big headaches.

To take it one step further, Statista reports state that 45.1% of global emails are spam.

At this point of your process, if you’re in the spam folder almost all hope is lost. Not many, almost no people go into their spam to filter through what they maybe would like to open or read more about. This is a big problem because after your email goes to spam, your 32% open rate when you land in the inbox goes even lower.

The truth is that spam filters are not intentionally targeting you. Rather, they are following the strict guidelines that are set by email service providers. If your behavior is something that mimics that of a spammer or has ‘spammy’ wording you’re going to get flagged and lead you straight to the spam folder.

Now that we have covered the importance of understanding what spam can do to your email marketing campaigns, let’s take a look at why your emails are going to spam in the first place.

A Brief Rundown of Email Delivery Infrastructure

Getting to the nitty gritty of spam emails and how to avoid them, let’s understand who has access to spam filters. Email service providers (ESPs) have these filters embedded in their platforms that rely on spam filters, firewalls, and blacklist directories to keep their users free of unsolicited or spam emails.

Email blacklists are real-time lists that identify domains or IP addresses that have a history of spamming. To prevent spam emails from accessing their systems, free mailbox providers, anti-spam vendors, internet service providers, and email service providers (yep, all of them) utilize blacklists.

Your emails will never reach their intended inboxes if you are marked. They will instead add your domain or IP address to a blacklist, preventing your emails from reaching their intended recipients. If your company is blacklisted, it will have a significant influence on your marketing activities as well as the efficacy of your email marketing ROI. When you are blacklisted, your intended audiences will never see your fantastic marketing campaigns.

Spam traps on the other hand are divided into 3 categories

  1. Typo Traps: These are addresses that usually end up on a recipient list because of a mistake. This could happen by typing “johnsmith@hitmail.com” instead of “johnsmith@hotmail.com”. Similar to recycled spam traps, these addresses will never open or click any of the messages they receive. Some believe that sending an excessive amount of mail to typo traps, it will result in poor list acquisition and poor list hygiene (which they are right).
  2. Recycled Spam Trap: these are email addresses that were valid at one point in time but have been unused for such a long time that they could not have engaged with any email in a long time. Messages sent to these addresses are typically refused (AKA they bounce) by receiving the server for a year or more before they are reactivated as spam trap addresses.
  3. Pristine Traps: These are the email addresses that have never been used to actively sign up to receive an email. These are most commonly found on mailing lists when senders purchase, rent or scrape addresses.

The Major Reasons You’re In The Spam Folder

A lot of factors contribute to why you end up in the spam folder. We are going to get into each one and the best ways to combat them. If your email is landing in spam, it’s more likely than not that you’re doing more than one of these violations.

Do They

The first step to email marketing is to make sure you always have permission to send your email correspondence. As we mentioned in the spam traps above, emails sent without an opt-in or any indication that they are wanted will wind you up in a spam trap.

You should never buy a list of emails or obtain them in any questionable way. It can land you in some legal trouble as well as be a surefire way to get you in a spam trap or even blacklisted.

Your solution: make sure that your subscribers are engaged and that you have obtained their emails from an opt-in media. Meaning, they are the ones who signed themselves up. Keep your users engaged with compelling content and added value in every email. But make sure not to message them too frequently. Lastly, ensure that you are not purchasing questionable email lists and that your emails are clean and healthy.

Run your email lists through an email checker solution and make sure that you’re sending real and valid emails. Solutions such as Emailable are a quick and easy way to ensure that you are sending to valid email addresses and are taking necessary precautions to avoid spam traps.

What Does Your Sender Information Say About You?

When you take a look at your ‘from’ title, and routing information, you should include the domain name and email address. This must be accurate and identifiable to the person or business that the email comes from.

Your Solution: You need to clearly state who you are, where you work, and what the purpose of this message is. You can use inaccurate information or lies as to who you are. This will lead you straight to spam. For example, “Hi I’m Kat from Emailable”.

Is Your Physical Address Included In Your Email?

If you’re using digital marketing, why would you need your physical address? However, you must state and include a valid postal address in your emails. This helps validate and build your reputation as a company but also helps avoid spam traps.

If you are not following these requirements you could be marked as spam. Subscribers should be able to trace your company and also be able to look it up to see the same physical address that is included in your emails.

Your Solution: update your email settings to where your footer has been edited to have your physical address in every email you send.

Are you violating any spam laws?

Every email you send from your business needs to comply with the CAN SPAM Act compliance guidelines. As we mentioned before CAN-SPAM sets out the rules and regulations that your business needs to follow. If you are sending emails that do not comply with these guidelines you will be sent straight to spam.

Your Solution: Are you including an opt-out link (AKA an unsubscribe) option at the bottom of your emails? This is an absolute must in order to avoid any spam traps, and it’s just a common courtesy.

Make sure to double-check that your emails are written in HTML text and that they are user-friendly. When an ESP detects a different text type they will send it straight to the spam folder.

Stay Out of The Spam Traps

We have uncovered what spam traps are and how detrimental they can be to your email marketing campaigns. You should be doing a quick checklist with every email you send to ensure that you’re doing your best to stay out of the spam and end up in the inbox.

Remember to use an email verification solution such as Emailable to ensure that your email list is clean and healthy and does not jeopardize your sender reputation score or send to spam traps.

Keep your emails high-value and easy to read. You don’t need a lot of fluff to catch the attention of your audience.

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