A common issue facing email marketers is campaigns ending up in recipients’ spam folders, which results in a significantly smaller audience.
There are many reasons an email may end up in a spam folder and it can be frustrating knowing the time and effort needed to create a campaign only for it to end up unread. It’s important to understand why emails end up in spam and the preventative action you can take.
What is spam?
Spam filters exist as a way for email providers to protect users from malicious emails used to capture personal data and cause harm. They’re an important line of defense and mean that users can be confident the emails that make it through are not posing a threat. Once you hit “send” your email goes through the spam filter of every recipient’s provider before (hopefully) landing in their inbox.
Why do my emails go to spam?
There are a few reasons your emails could be ending up in spam. The good news is that many are preventable with a few simple adjustments.
As with most things, it’s important to set up proper authentication, it signals to your audience that you are who you say you are and mean them no harm. Smart Messenger takes care of this for you and ensures your account has the proper credentials and authentications in place to keep you squeaky clean.
Your audience marking you as spam
One issue is that many of the filters rely on machine learning, which can result in incorrectly marking your emails as spam. It may also be that enough of your audience has marked your emails as spam for providers to automatically filter you out. If your campaigns remain unopened in the inbox, are deleted without being opened, or aren’t being replied to you risk ending up on the spam list. This is a direct result of the AI learning we talked about earlier, as there is no distinction between a recipient who marked your emails as spam or deleted without reading to clear up their inbox and one who actively wants to read your emails. To filters, it simply looks as though people aren’t interested in what you’re saying and therefore you should be marked as spam.
Not following image and video best practice
Not following best practice for including video and images in your emails could result in them being flagged as spam. The main reason images and videos can hurt you is because scammers started including all the information in a single image so recipients had to open the email to see what it contained. It’s for this reason that it’s always a good idea to include alt text with your images and videos and be careful about how and when you’re using them. Another reason they can sometimes trigger spam filters is if the image or video is an exceptionally large file. Not only does it create issues around loading times, it also runs the risk of getting flagged as spam. Images and videos can be a great addition to any campaign as long as you use them properly, if you are unsure how to do this, speak to your Smart Messenger account manager.
Using untrustworthy Subject Lines
Click-bait subject lines are a sure-fire way to get filtered out. Misleading, sensationalist subject lines mean recipients are much more likely to delete without reading or move emails to junk. Both of which signal that future emails from your address should go straight to junk. Another common subject line issue is including too many emojis. While useful for conveying a playful, eye-catching message, the golden rule is 'less is more', so ask yourself, Should I use emoji's in my subject line?
Including bad links
While it’s important to include useful links in campaigns so that recipients can find the information they need quickly and easily, it’s important that they link to reputable websites. Stay out of the spam folder by checking the reputability of any links you include.
IP address issues
An IP address is essentially the identity your device has on the internet, it works very similarly to a physical home or business address as a way of sending information from your device to another. If your IP address has been used to send spam in the past it will be flagged as such. If you’re using an email marketing provider that doesn’t take the sending of spam emails seriously this could affect whether or not your campaigns are marked as spam.
How do I stop email campaigns from going to spam?
The good news is, there are a few things you can do to minimise the risk of your campaigns being filtered out. While you can’t completely prevent individual recipients from marking you as spam altogether, you can greatly minimise the risk by sticking to best practices.
First off you should only be emailing people in line with GDPR regulations - if you’re not sure whether you’re staying compliant Smart Messenger have data protection specialists on hand to answer any questions you might have. The repercussions of falling foul are severe so it’s a good idea to reassess periodically.
Include preference links
Next up is preference links. Include clear links allowing recipients to unsubscribe or change their preferences. Typically these are found in the footer of emails but it’s up to you where to put them. The important thing is that they’re available and easy for people to find.
Optimise the viewing experience
When creating a campaign ensuring your emails are large enough to read easily without compromising functionality and loading times is a great way to optimise the viewing experience. It is important to include images titles on all of your images as this means that users can still understand what you’re saying even if their provider blocks images.
Making your messages mobile-friendly is also key as many recipients will be reading emails on mobile devices that have different functionality and dimensions to desktop email clients. Finally, it’s sensible to make at least 60% of your campaign text and 40% image or video to ensure a good balance.
Make sure you’re interesting and valuable
Another golden rule is to make sure you’re always giving value and including information recipients actually want. Product updates, sales information, general business updates, and top tips are examples of information that’s likely to result in high open rates. The more value your recipients see in your emails the less inclined they’ll be to delete without reading or mark you as spam.
Utilising the Smart Messenger segmentation feature you can better target a specific section of your audience therefore ensuring the information you send is relevant to them. The more relevant you are, the better as high open, click-through, and reply rates send positive signals to email providers about the usefulness of your campaigns.
Use subject lines and preheaders that aren't deemed as spam
There’s a thin line to tread with subject lines - they should be enticing but not ‘click-baity’. Keep them relevant to the content of your email, include an emoji where appropriate, but do be mindful of how they will be displayed on various devices and try to avoid using ALL CAPS as this can also trigger spam filters.
For information about preheaders and how to use them more effectively, while avoiding spam filters, take a look at our Email Preheader Best Practice Tips.
How do I stay out of spam filters?
By following the above tips you should be able to keep your emails out of the spam folder and in your recipients’ inboxes, where they belong. For more information about how Smart Messenger can help you, get in touch with our friendly team on 01603 858250.
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