Businesses lose out heavily when their transactional emails are not delivered to the recipient's inbox. This leads to lowered trust and revenue as people are unable to take necessary actions.
To avoid diluting IP and domain reputation (and eventually marked as spam), it's always recommended to use separate emails and providers for transactional and marketing emails. Using the same domain for both categories can lead to transactional emails being filtered out by ESPs, which businesses may not even know due to limited email tracking and analytics provided by email providers.
This article explores why emails may be filtered out as spam and provide best practices to avoid it.
What is Spam?
Any digital communication that is deemed unsolicited and unwanted is marked as spam. Spam can be sent through email, text messages, phone calls, and now, even through social media platforms, in the form of tweets and stories.
Spam is usually sent in bulk and can often be sent with malicious intent like phishing, malware infection, and clickjacking.
Spam has always been around, and you have seen messages landing in your own spam inbox without investing much thought into the matter. In the last couple of years, however, there has been a noticeable uptick in the amount of spam being sent and blocked.
Why Should Spam Filters Concern You?
In 2021, the number of spam emails increased to 283 billion out of 336 billion emails sent. Now, if you consider the fact that 94% of all malware attacks are attributed to emails, and almost 75% of all cyber attacks germinate with an email, the stringent approach of spam filters starts to make sense.
In 2022, filters have caught and dispatched 15.8% of all emails to spam. This includes 14% of all fundraising emails sent by NGOs and a lot of other marketing emails. Well, now you know why it is a matter of concern.
A survey by Q Interactive and MarketingSherpa found that many consumers report legitimate emails as spam, with confusion around the 'Report Spam' button and what happens when it is clicked. Consumers often report emails they are not interested in, even if they know the sender, and many believe that clicking the button will filter all emails from that sender, while others think it will notify the sender that the email was not useful.
6 Reasons Your Emails Go to Spam
There are many reasons why an email can land in spam, and these reasons are fluid to an extent. It is often hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the misdirection of your email. Nevertheless, we’ll cover many possible causes, and let’s hope you find something that resonates with you.
Wrong Audience, Hence Scarce Engagement
An extensive email list doesn’t necessarily mean the correct email list. If you are targeting the wrong set of people with your email campaigns, your emails, in all likelihood, will be deleted without being opened. This does not sit right with webmail service providers, and they will crack down on your emails and block them as spam.
Sending Emails Without Permission
If you send a marketing email to a person who hasn’t permitted you to send a newsletter, you will violate the CAN-SPAM act and incur $50,120 in penalties for every email sent. Mailchimp has explained the consequences of permission well in their article: The Importance of Permission | Mailchimp
A Different User on Your Shared IP is Spamming
That’s an unfortunate way to go down, but such is digital life. If a shared email user of your IP is marked as a spammer, in all likelihood, your emails, too, will be marked as spam owing to the same IP address used for both senders.
Bad IP Reputation
A bad IP reputation can lead to your emails being marked as spam. This can happen if you send a lot of emails that bounce, or if you're using a shared IP address that's been used by spammers in the past. If your IP reputation is poor, your emails may never reach the inbox, or they may be sent to the spam folder.
Subscribers Forgot You
Sometimes subscribers forget to have subscribed to your emails, and they report your emails as spam. Get enough reports against you, and all of your campaigns get filtered.
Misleading Subject Lines
We have all experienced receiving emails that start with something like, “Your order is confirmed” or “Urgent, update your account now.” And when we opened the emails, it turned out to be a trick. These are classic examples of misleading subject lines. And this, too, can put in violation of CAN-Spam.
Apart from these, your emails can be filtered if there is an inaccurate or misleading sender’s address. It can trigger spam filters if you forget to add the unsubscribe button or do not add your physical address.
There are a bunch of words and phrases that trigger filters. For instance, Amazing, Cancel at any time, Click here, Congratulations, Dear friend, For only ($), etc., can trigger spam flags with certain email service providers.
Is Landing in the Promotions Tab Any Better?
Comparatively, yes. It is undoubtedly better to be in the promotions tab, which Google designs to accumulate all deals, offers, and marketing content, than to be filtered by spam filters. 19.2% of the emails in the promotions tab are opened, which, while not impressive, is better than nothing.
Should you try to get into the primary inbox instead? Yes, without a doubt. These practices recommended for avoiding the spam filters will also help you get through the promotions filters and land in the primary inbox where the chances of your mail being read are the highest.
How Do I Stop My Email From Landing in Spam as per CAN-SPAM Act?
\Spam filters are there to protect the interests of both the senders and the recipients of emails. But these filters are not perfect, and more often than not legitimate emails get trapped and you lose business. You can adopt the following reasonably simple practices to put 100% of your emails through.
Avoid Image and Link Heavy Emails
Images are a great way to communicate with your subscribers while also building a recognizable brand identity. Sadly, a lot of spammers use image-only emails, and links sent through emails are one of the primary mediums of malware infection. So, many spam filters are set up to block image-heavy or link-heavy emails.
When you first start using a new email account, it's important to "warm up" the domain to avoid email spam. This means sending out a few emails to friends or family members to get the ball rolling. Once a few emails have been sent and received, your domain will be less likely to be flagged as spam by email providers.
Touch of Personalization
Remember, the goal is to land in the primary inbox with personal emails and emails from people that your readers know. Using a little personalization can help you get that familiarity quotient up.
Simple & Crisp
This goes without saying for any type of cold communication. You’ll be lucky to get any read-time, so it’s best to make the most of it.
Use Alt Tags
Adding alternative tags to the images you use in your emails is a slight improvement that serves 3 important purposes. Firstly, it helps the spam filters to contextualize the images. Secondly, the alt tags put the communication through email services that block images by default. Thirdly, it gets through to the visually impaired readers that use a screen reader to listen to the emails.
Be Careful with the Subject Lines
We have already discussed this part of the don’ts. Make sure your subject lines reflect the subject matter of the email clearly and concisely. Be creative with the subject line by all means, but not to the point of trickery. That might and will backfire against you. Avoid all caps and special characters in the subject lines.
Prioritize Email Sequences Over Email Blasts
Email blasts are great for announcing all of your customers or subscribers at once. Email sequences are more like a well-thought-out conversation you have with your leads to nurture them. Email sequences have a better potential click-through rate. It increases engagement and helps you avoid promotion/spam filters.
Add Email to Contacts
One way to help ensure that your emails don't end up in someone's spam folder is to ask your contacts to add your email to their address book. This way, your emails should be more likely to be delivered successfully. Another tip is asking people to reply to your email when they receive it, so their email server knows that your messages are not spam.
Segment Your Email List
Segmenting your email list means dividing your subscribers into smaller groups based on different criteria, such as their interests, location, or behavior. This allows you to send more targeted and relevant emails, which increases engagement and reduces the likelihood of people marking your emails as spam.
Maintain a Good Sender Reputation
Your sender reputation is a score assigned by email providers that determine how trustworthy your emails are. It's based on various factors, such as your email frequency, the number of bounces and complaints, and the engagement rates of your emails. Maintaining a good sender reputation is crucial for avoiding spam filters and ensuring your emails land in the primary inbox.
Include a Clear Unsubscribe Link
Including a clear and visible unsubscribe link in your emails is not only a legal requirement but also a good practice. It allows subscribers who are no longer interested in your emails to opt-out easily, which reduces the likelihood of them marking your emails as spam.
Monitor Your Email Analytics
Regularly monitoring your email analytics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and bounce rates, can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your email campaigns. It allows you to identify any issues or areas for improvement, such as low engagement rates or high bounce rates, and adjust your strategies accordingly.
Do not get disheartened if your emails are landing in spam/promotion or getting blocked. Spend a bit of time investigating the reason behind it. Try the practices recommended here. Find out what works and what doesn’t. It is a matter of joyous effort and time before your emails reach where they are supposed to.
Various companies across the globe have started using Suprsend to send emails that land directly into the user’s inbox and not spam or promotions tab. If you are looking for a notification solution, check out Suprsend today.
- What are common words/phrases that trigger spam filters?
There are a few common words and phrases that often trigger spam filters. These include words like "free," "win," "offer," and "bonus." Phrases like "congratulations," "you're a winner," and "act now" are also often flagged by spam filters.
- Is the promotional filter different from the spam filter?
There is a big difference between the promotional filter and the spam filter. The promotional filter is designed to only filter out promotional content, while the spam filter filters out all unwanted content. The spam filter is much more aggressive and will often filter out legitimate emails along with spam.
- What do you mean by domain authority?
Domain authority is a metric which is used to score the strength of any website's backlink profile. The higher the domain authority, the more influential the website's backlink profile is, and the better it can rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
- How can I improve my email's subject line to avoid spam filters?
To avoid getting your email caught in spam filters, you can do a few things to improve your email's subject line, such as keeping your subject line short and to the point; long, rambling subject lines are more likely to be caught by filters. Also, avoid using all caps or excessive punctuation in your subject line, as these can trigger filters.