Note: This guest post has been authored by Reuben Yonatan. Reuben is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP and GetCRM, trusted VoIP and CRM comparison guides that help companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs.


One of the most maddening frustrations for email marketers is to spend time crafting detailed content that can help their leads, only to have it reliably end up in spam folders. There are many different factors that contribute to marketing emails being flagged as spam, so it’s crucial to know what mistakes you might be making right this moment.

Following are the common reasons why business emails land in the spam folder and ways to avoid that:

The recipient hasn’t opted in for your emails

Many marketers don’t see the problem with sending email messages to people who haven’t given their express permission to receive them, but this practice can be actively harmful to your email marketing campaign for several reasons. First and foremost, anyone who hasn’t expressed interest in your content is unlikely to engage with you, and chasing these kinds of leads is a waste of resources (no matter how small).

Additionally, people who keep receiving emails which they don’t want are likely to manually mark them as spam. This, in turn, can harm your deliverability with the rest of your audience.

Your content is getting flagged due to low open rates

ISPs rely on algorithms that evaluate email senders by reputation in order to determine what goes in a spam folder. Senders with low open rates and high bounce rates are often flagged as potential sources of spam.

At first glance, this seems like a catch-22: your emails aren’t getting to the recipient because you have low open rates, but you can’t improve your open rates without making sure they receive your emails! So how do you get yourself on the right track?

There are two proven strategies that can help. First, follow the advice above and only target people who have given their consent to receive your emails. Don’t waste your time with purchased email lists. Second, work to lower your hard bounce rate by removing addresses that have bounced more than once.

Your emails don’t include a valid address

At some point during email marketing’s rise to prominence in the digital sphere, many people began to equate all forms of promotional email with spam. But nothing could be further from the truth. People actually want to receive promotional marketing emails from companies that have potential value to offer, because they are a great way for nurturing relationships.

The problem for spam filters has been learning to distinguish between the legitimate companies and the armies of bots and spammers. One way to do this is to check for a valid street address, which every legitimate business has. Make sure your company’s address is included in every email you send.

You aren’t giving the reader an easy way to unsubscribe

People don’t like feeling trapped, and that’s exactly the sensation that is conveyed when they end up on an email list and can’t figure out how to remove themselves. Not only is it a good practice to include a clear, easy-to-access unsubscribe button on your marketing emails, but failing to do so is actually illegal in the U.S. and many other countries.

Periodically pruning your email lists is always a good idea, and manual unsubscribes act as an aid in this task. These unsubscribes come from people who have indicated that they aren’t interested in engaging any longer, and their presence on your list will only contribute to lower open rates.

Your subjects feature spam trigger words

One of the most common causes of emails ending up in the spam folder is the presence of certain words, phrases, or symbols that instantly trigger spam filters. Many potential leads and repeat customers who actually want to engage with you could be missing out on important content, and it could all be because you’re using words that you don’t realize are problematic.

There are numerous categories of spam trigger words, including those like “sale,” “% off!,” and certain hyperbolic adjectives. It’s best to keep several lists on hand and consult them for every subject line you write.

You are ignoring HTML best practices

HTML formatting has been a boon for marketers because it allows them to connect to audiences using high-quality imagery and visual data. However, that doesn’t mean that you have carte blanche to do anything with HTML formatting—there are still several rules that should be adhered to.

For instance, you should keep your images as small as possible, and also limit the number of total images you include in one email. Make sure to include appropriate alt-text for email clients that block images altogether, and always offer a plain-text version so that your content will be readable on any client’s platform.

Build a variety of spam protection measures into your strategy

While there’s no single way to ensure your emails make it to your readers, following these guidelines will help protect you against most spam filters. Seek engagement with your readers by getting their permission to send content, and fight to improve your open rates by pruning with strategic unsubscribes.

Ensure the filters recognize you as a legitimate entity by including your physical address, avoiding common spam triggers, and proofreading carefully (one study shows that 80% of recipients believe spelling and grammatical errors are unacceptable). Finally, put the power of HTML formatting to good use by showing restraint and focusing on readability. Implementing these simple measures will help you reach your audience more consistently and improve your email marketing ROI.

Wrapping Up

Marketers don’t like watching their skillfully-crafted emails ending up in spam folders. Following a set of best practices, marketers can significantly reduce the number of emails that are being considered spam not only by email clients but also by users.

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