While the spam folder can help filter junk email from legitimate emails in your inbox, sometimes emails wind up in the junk folder that you don't want to go to spam. There are several reasons for this and ways you can prevent emails from going to spam. In this post, we'll review exactly what spam email is, the different triggers for spam filters, and how you can make sure only spam emails go to the spam box.
Spam email is a type of unwanted and unsolicited email that businesses or other entities may send out to long lists of recipients. In most cases, spam emails aim to sell products or services to recipients, but they can also contain viruses, phishing links, and other malicious materials. This is why it's important to have spam emails sent to a separate folder from your regular inbox.
The spam box, also known as the spam folder or junk folder, is a designated location for storing spam emails once the email system filters them. The user's email program may create a spam box, or the mail servers may generate them. The purpose of this box is to keep all junk mail out of your main inbox to prevent clutter and increase safety. Every email program has a spam filter that helps sort legitimate mail from junk mail, sending the latter to the spam folder as needed.
Different mail service providers will use different methods to separate spam emails from regular emails. However, they all function fairly similarly to help keep the inbox and spam folder consistently separate.
For example, some email service providers may attempt to filter the following emails from inboxes:
Depending on the system and the nature of the emails you receive, there are several possible triggers for spam traps. These include:
If an email contains too many images, this could come off as spammy and cause email systems to send the email to the spam folder.
Typically, valid emails will include unsubscribe links that make it easy for recipients to choose to stop receiving emails from a specific sender. If an email doesn't give recipients this option, email service providers may send it directly to the junk folder.
Some systems may also send emails to spam if they contain a lot of grammatical mistakes and spelling errors.
Emails may sometimes contain a large number of links that are suspicious and come across as spammy, in which case email systems may mark them as spam.
If an email asks users to provide sensitive details or perform another suspicious action, service providers may send it to spam.
Emails may also have suspicious subject lines that suggest the content contains spam. A questionable subject line alone can cause the email to wind up in spam folders.
If attachments in an email don't seem appropriate or may contain viruses or other malicious content, email systems may consider the email to be spam.
These are simply some of the many potential triggers that can set off a spam filter for email. However, by taking the right steps, you can make sure that your legitimate emails don't get lost in people's spam folders.
If you want to stop emails from going to junk, there are some best practices to implement in your email marketing efforts. The following are some specific tips to follow if you want to ensure your email goes to the inbox every time.
Through domain warming, you can build a sending reputation for your email domain or a domain that you haven't previously used to send emails. Warm-up typically entails sending emails from this domain in small quantities before building up to larger volumes. You can do this gradually, increasing the volume of your emails each day, week, or month on a specific schedule.
You should also personalize your email to make it uniquely yours and establish a clear identifier. However, make sure it's devoid of potential spam triggers such as random numbers or other characters that appear suspicious. You can use your name or your company's name, which will help build trust and show that your emails are valid.
Email systems and recipients may find your emails suspicious if they read like the sender didn't care to craft a good email, or if it seems like a computer wrote it. While a small typo may not be enough to warrant sending the email to the spam folder, having multiple avoidable typos and poorly constructed sentences or paragraphs could jeopardize your emails. Your emails should read well and avoid including too many mistakes or poor wording and formatting.
Before sending your emails, always proofread them to make sure they're of consistently good quality. If you don't feel confident in your proofreading abilities or want a second pair of eyes to look over your email, consult with someone else in your company or another person you trust. You can also use proofreading software to help catch errors.
Spam filters may label your emails spam if you send too many emails to inactive addresses. This means that if you're sending too many emails to abandoned addresses, email systems may interpret your email content as spammy. To avoid this, be sure to remove any addresses connected to email accounts that aren't active. You can do so by checking to see which recipients aren't opening your emails as often. If you find that a recipient hasn't opened your emails in a long time, it may be worth it to remove them from your list.
However, if you find that your open rate is minimal overall, this could indicate that your email marketing efforts need some modification. By reworking your campaigns, you may find that open rates increase as people find more value in your emails.
In the past, you could avoid having emails sent to spam by carefully avoiding specific trigger words in subject lines. However, today, spam filters are considerably more complex and difficult to navigate. This is why it's best to modify your entire subject line to ensure it doesn't sound spammy in any way.
Even reputable brands often have their emails wind up in the spam box because they're poorly worded and suspicious. For example, email subject lines might include too many exclamation points, dollar signs, numbers, or suspicious wording that triggers spam filters. While you can still send emails containing offers in subject lines, practice care when crafting them. Don't overuse specific dollar amounts to attract opens or make your emails sound over-excited.
Never include attachments in your email marketing messages, as they come across as either too personal or generally spammy when coming from a brand. Typically, attachments are reserved for personal correspondence between two individuals, making them best to avoid as much as possible in marketing campaigns.
People are also often suspicious of attachments because they often contain viruses, malware, or other types of malicious software.
Instead of an attachment, consider including a clear call-to-action (CTA) within your email that directs users to a landing page on your website. From there, people can download an ebook or another piece of content that you want them to download. This will not only help increase downloads, but it will also direct more traffic to your website and help build trust in your brand.
Spam filters also tend to look at IP addresses associated with senders' email addresses. In the process, the filter looks for any complaints regarding these IP addresses. If the system identifies any issues, it will likely flag any email addresses connected to that suspicious IP.
To make sure spam filters don't mistake your email addresses as spam senders in this way, use a reliable email service provider. The right provider will help make sure that spammers don't use their platform, which will help further ensure that your emails aren't mistaken for spam. Additionally, a reputable provider can help you avoid spam filters by preventing common triggers from appearing in your emails, such as suspicious email addresses and neglecting to include a physical address.
Once you build an email list with plenty of subscribers, you need to continually engage with those subscribers. If you don't send emails frequently enough, recipients may eventually forget about your brand and your content, potentially leading them to mark the few emails they receive from you as spam.
To make sure recipients don't simply toss your emails in the spam or trash folder, connect with them on a regular basis with valuable and compelling content. You can do so weekly or monthly and include enticing offers or helpful content that brings real value with each email. This will help establish your brand as trustworthy and worth engaging with more consistently.
While the last thing you may want to do is get people to unsubscribe to your email list, you should still make it easy for them to do so. Subscribers will be more likely to trust your brand if they see a clear option to unsubscribe, and you'll be able to maintain compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act. You can include a button at the bottom of your email clearly labeled "unsubscribe," and you can place it either in the header or footer of your emails. However, it's best to avoid placing the button in the header to avoid unintentional hits and encourage people to read through the content first.
By implementing certain best practices in your email marketing efforts, you can successfully avoid spam filters and ensure more people see and open your emails. The key is to use the right email service provider and carefully craft your emails to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act and gain the trust of both users and platforms. Taking these and other steps will keep your emails out of the spam box more easily.
If you would like more help engaging with audiences through your marketing efforts, consider integrating Storyly into your campaigns. Through the use of Storyly's App Stories and Web Stories, you can share visuals and messaging that establish a strong connection with audiences. When combined with email campaigns, your customized stories will go a long way in building a relationship with prospective and existing users or customers.