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8 signs your email is going into the spam box

If your business emails are constantly going to spam, you need to change how you email. Mailbutler explains how to stop emails going to spam.

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    By Adam

    Adam Fout is a recovery/mental health blogger at adamfout.com and a speculative fiction/nonfiction writer. He has an M.A. in Professional and Technical Communication and is a regular contributor to Recovery Today Magazine.

    If you're wondering why your emails are ending up in the spam folder, then you're not alone — and you have a problem.

    Company emails going to spam folders are a serious waste of time and money.

    Email marketing is not exactly cheap, and email marketers understand the importance (and the value) of getting emails out of the spam folder and into the recipient's inbox.

    What's sometimes difficult to pinpoint is why this is happening.

    Your Inbox, Smarter

    Designed for business owners and freelancers using Outlook, Gmail and Apple Mail.

    Why are my business emails going to spam?

    One of the biggest problems with spam complaints is that they can actually get you banned from email service providers. Gmail and Yahoo have recently implemented new spam rules that are stricter and more sophisticated, making compliance even more crucial. Thanks to the CAN-SPAM Act, there are a number of rules you have to follow to ensure you don't get in trouble with a reputable email provider.

    Your sender's reputation is critical to continuing to make use of the high ROI that email marketing has.

    Here's how you can follow the CAN-SPAM Act rules and what you can do when your emails are going to spam.

    Spam filters are being alerted by spam trigger words

    Spam filters today are more sophisticated than ever before, thanks in part to the CAN-SPAM Act. A recipient's spam folder can fill up quickly when you trip certain spam triggers.

    The list of spam trigger words is practically endless, so it's a good idea to take a look at the many words that will alert spam filters.

    That being said, you're not going to alert spam filters just by using specific words — often it's the entirety of the email, including the subject line and the body of the email.

    Because many spam emails are being written by machine translation software today, they often have grammatical errors and sound unnatural.

    Having a native English speaker write your emails will keep them from ending up in spam folders (or at least less often).

    Another trigger is when you have spammy words in your subject line or use a ton of emojis.

    Spam filters are going to pick up on this right away — and your marketing email is going to go right into the garbage.

    Similar post: How to trace an email

    You're not personalizing your emails

    Modern email marketing succeeds best when you're using personalization.

    Marketing emails aren't going to get sent to the spam folder as often, and your readers aren't going to use that unsubscribe link as often if they feel like you're really thinking about their needs and have written your emails just for them.

    There are plenty of email service providers that make personalizing emails simple for email marketers, but sometimes it's just going to take a little time and a lot of segmenting to make sure you're being as personalized as possible.

    Think about what you would do if you were sending a letter to a physical address.

    Wouldn't you want it to be as personalized as possible? The same applies to email marketing.

    Nothing can ensure that your email marketing will fail quite like a lack of personalization. If you're saying "dear friend" or "dear sir or madam" in your subject lines, you're going to trigger spam filters in addition to showing your recipients that you don't care enough to try to connect to them.

    You only talk about your company — and your recipients send you to their spam folders

    While spam filters aren't going to block you on this one quite as much, you can definitely turn off readers and have them manually send you to the spam folder if you're just talking about yourself — rather than the reader.

    Think about what it would be like to get a letter at your physical address from a friend who only talked about themselves.

    How interested would you really be?

    The same goes for emails. While with a letter to your physical address you would just toss it in the trash, with emails, you can manually send a certain sender to the same folder.

    It's pretty much the same as if you were sending spam emails — those emails are going to spam one way or the other, whether it's through the native spam filters or through the spam filters a recipient has set up themselves.

    You've got a bad email list

    bad email list

    If you've bought an email list and you're finding that your emails are bouncing a lot, then you've got a problem.

    This can happen for a variety of reasons, one of which is that the list might have inactive email addresses.

    Lots of bouncing emails or email deliverability issues are going to make spam filters think that you're sending out spam — even when you're not.

    Low engagement rates can similarly trigger spam filters. You'll want to vet any purchased email list thoroughly to ensure you're not going to ruin your reputation and end up triggering spam filters.

    Your images are too large, or you're using too many images

    If your emails are going to spam, you might have another problem — your images.

    Images can cause problems for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the problem is that, to avoid using spam words in the body of the email, spammers send spam as text encapsulated in a single image.

    Images can also cause problems with the user experience. For example, if an image is too large and isn't tailored to a mobile view, it can make your email very hard to read.

    Lots of images that replace text can similarly result in emails going to spam. Emails should have a good mix of images and text.

    And remember, there's nothing wrong with having text-only emails! After all, your subject line is text-only and works well — the same can work for the body of your email.

    Sending emails without consent

    It's essential for your reputation and legal compliance to only send emails to individuals who have explicitly opted in. Acquiring consent isn't just about ticking a box; it's about establishing trust and respecting your audience's choice.

    Ensure your website's sign-up process includes a clear opt-in mechanism that outlines what subscribers are signing up for. This clarity is not only professional but also key to successful email deliverability and engagement.

    Missing unsubscribe link

    Reason why your emails go to spam

    Ever been stuck getting emails from a company you're just not interested in anymore, and there's no unsubscribe option available? I've been there, and it's really frustrating. In the best scenario, you might irritate your subscribers, or your emails end up in their spam folder.

    In the worst scenario, you could even face fines from the FTC. It's a situation where nobody wins. Therefore, including an unsubscribe link is crucial, and it's also a legal requirement.

    Bonus video resource from Kinsta:

    Emails going to spam FAQs

    How do I know if my email is going to spam?

    One of the most convenient ways to see if your email is going to spam is to use a reliable third-party tool to check your spam score. Another good option is to look at your open rates.

    If your open rates are lower than 15%, it’s highly likely that your emails are going straight into the spam folder. This is when you should analyze your messages and find ways to improve them.

    What triggers emails to go to spam?

    Your emails might be arriving in the spam folder because:

    • You’re using spam trigger words like “buy,” “clearance,” “order,” “near you,” “additional income,” “earn extra cash,” “best price,” “no cost,” and many others
    • You’re not personalizing your messages
    • You’re not talking about your recipients, only about you as a company
    • Your email list is full of inactive email addresses
    • You’re using too many images or they’re too large

    How do I make sure my email doesn't go to spam?

    Start by familiarizing yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act (if you’re based in the US) or the GDPR rules (if you’re based in the EU). Then, introduce a double opt-in to make sure your recipients have actively and deliberately agreed to receive email campaigns from you.

    Next, make sure to never buy or rent email addresses. Instead, build your mailing list organically.

    You should also avoid using dirty email marketing tricks like deceptive subject lines and spammy text in an image form. Finally, make sure to personalize your emails and use anchored links instead of direct ones.

    Beware: Email Spam Filters Are Triggered by These Common Spam Words

    Note: Always be cautious when using these words in your email campaigns. Even if your email is legitimate, including these words can increase the chances of it being flagged as spam.

    Most Common Spam Trigger Words
    $$$, 100% free, Act now, Apply now, Bargain, Best price, Big bucks, Billions, Bonus, Cash bonus
    Cheap, Congratulations, Dear friend, Direct marketing, Double your cash, Extra cash, Free gift, Free hosting, Free info, Free membership
    Free preview, Full refund, Hidden charges, Human growth hormone, Increase sales, Increase traffic, Incredible deal, Join millions, Lifetime deal, Lose weight
    Lowest price, Make money, Miracle, Money-back guarantee, No catch, No cost, No fees, No gimmick, No hidden costs, No strings attached
    Not junk, Once in a lifetime, Passwords, Promise you, Risk-free, Save big money, Special promotion, This isn't a scam, This isn't junk, Undisclosed
    Unsecured credit, Unsecured debt, Urgent, Weight loss, Winner, Winning, You are a winner

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