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How to Avoid Being Marked as Spam

October 13, 2017

avoid being marked as spam

Email marketing is a crucial channel when it comes to promoting your products and special offers. Not only that; it’s an easy way to stay in touch with your customers. Sending professional newsletters on a regular basis helps to build brand awareness, and with marketing automation, it needn’t be too time-consuming. However, even with a careful strategy in place, things don’t always go to plan: it’s not uncommon for emails to land in the spam folder. We explain why this might happen and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent it.

Why avoiding the spam folder is crucial

Successful email marketing relies on consumer trust. You can only build this trust if your emails are professional and legitimate. Once this trust has been lost, it may be that your emails are frequently marked as spam. What many businesses may not realise is that this can have long term negative consequences. Time and time again, marketers are surprised by how many spam complaints their emails receive. The main issue here is that, if several recipients mark your emails as spam, it may lead to major problems with email delivery. At worst, your server may end up on a blacklist. This is bad news for your IP reputation, as your IP address is then blocked. Any emails sent from this IP will not be delivered.

Why do emails get marked as spam?

There are many different things that may lead to spam complaints. Whether an email is marked is spam depends not only on the spam filter but also on the recipient. They will assess how trustworthy the email seems to be, as well as how relevant the content is. The most common reasons for spam complaints are:

  • The recipient no longer remembers giving consent to receive the newsletter, or subscribed by mistake
  • The recipient only signed up in order to buy something
  • The recipient isn’t sure what company sent the newsletter
  • The email seems dubious
  • The email doesn’t contain the kind of content that the recipient was expecting
  • The recipient receives too many newsletters
  • The email content is not of interest to the recipient
  • The recipient no longer fits into the target group
  • The recipient can’t find the unsubscribe link
  • The unsubscribe process is too complicated

How to prevent your emails being marked as spam

1. Review your subscribe process

Seeing as you are not allowed to send newsletters without the recipient’s permission, the first thing you should do is to review the sign-up process. To be on the safe side, it is best to use the double opt-in approach. When a new subscriber signs up to your newsletter, they will receive a confirmation email containing a link. Only once they’ve clicked on this link will they be added to your address book and subsequently receive your newsletter. Go through your contact list and check that each subscriber has actually opted in. If in doubt, remove them from your mailing list.

You should also check that your website contains the necessary information and links to the current privacy policy. Does the user know exactly what email they are subscribing to, and how often it will be sent? If your customers already know what to expect when they subscribe, the risk of spam complaints will be significantly lower.

2. Make the unsubscribe process as straightforward as possible

If a user is no longer interested in your emails, they will of course look for the unsubscribe link. If this is hard to find, they will no doubt get frustrated – and reach for the spam button. However, from a marketing perspective,it is much better for a user to unsubscribe than to mark your emails as spam! Make sure you include an unsubscribe link in every email, and that it’s clearly visible.

3. Newsletter design

The first thing you see when an email arrives is the subject line , so be sure to optimize this! If your subject line seems spammy – written in all capital letters, for example, or too many special characters – the user will most likely send it straight to their junk mail. Generally speaking, avoid any overtly salesy words and phrases, such as “Click here!” or “Get it now!”, and keep exclamation marks to a minimum. You only have a few seconds to convince the recipient to open your email; find out how to write a winning email subject line here.

Try to align your newsletter design with your corporate branding so that the user can immediately recognize who sent the email. When it comes to images and graphics, be careful not to overload your newsletter. Too many images will slow your email down – which only leads to frustration for the recipient.

4. Send via secure servers

Spam filters pay close attention to what server an email comes from. It is therefore advisable to send your emails via secure servers only. The easiest way to do this is through a professional newsletter software whose servers are already known as “safe” to most email providers and are entered onto a so-called whitelist. The advantages of this? An excellent IP reputation, meaning your emails bypass spam filters and land straight in the inbox – ensuring over 99% delivery rates.

Avoiding the spam folder is a crucial part of any successful email marketing strategy. When designing your newsletters, it’s important to bear both spam filters and the recipient in mind. Above all, focus on creating professional, relevant emails that are of interest to the reader. Finally, make sure the subscribe and unsubscribe processes are as straightforward as possible. With these simple strategies, you can keep spam complaints to a minimum and build consumer trust.

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