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Why Are My Emails Going To Spam?

Web hosts like HostGator and GoDaddy tend to offer free emails with some of their plans. But do you find that your emails keep ending up in the sender’s spam box? This can be incredibly frustrating, right? Fear not, though, as I am going to help you to get to the bottom of the problem.

You have been marked as spam by the recipient

A lot of email clients give users the option to mark an email as spam manually. If you have been marked as spam, you’re going to go in the spam folder – it is as simple as that!

If you have noticed that most of your emails are sending without issue, yet a few are heading into the spam box, it is likely that the recipients have marked your emails as spam. This is a difficult one to get around because users have chosen to put your mail in the spam folder!

You send too many attachments

Why is this a problem? Well, attachments are used for malicious activities, such as distributing malware, so if you send a lot of attachments, spam filters will be on your case! This is especially the case if you’re sending .exe files.

You’re using misleading links or linking to shady sites

The main reason why people send spam emails is because they want people to click on some kind of link, and so it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the wrong kinds of links can end up getting you in the spam folder.

There are two things that can cause problems here. The first is when you link to a site that appears spammy for some reason. For instance, it could be that it has been infected with malware or associated with copyright infringement. 

The second issue is when the display URL and the destination URL do not match. For example, if the display URL was https://google.com but we were linking to https://webhostingprof.com/, it could get our emails flagged as spam! Using a link shortener can result in a similar issue.

Using bad design practices

You may think that the design of your email does not matter, but it does! You need to follow best practices when emailing. Some of the common mistakes people make in this regard are as follows:

  • Using complicated text that is not easy for the reader to consume
  • Not including a physical address
  • Using spam trigger words
  • A poor image-to-text ratio
  • Emails that are not on-brand, meaning readers cannot easily recognize you
  • Emails that are not desktop compatible and mobile-friendly
gmail email

Using a bad email list

If you are sending emails in bulk to a group of subscribers, there are a few things that are bound to land you in trouble. This includes the following:

  • Low engagement rates – If there are low open rates with your emails, ISPs may take this as an indication that your subscribers do not want your emails, causing more to end up being marked as spam.
  • Stale list – Should your list contain a lot of disabled or inactive email accounts where emails bounce, filters will see this as spammy. 
  • No permission – If you have not gotten opt-in from subscribers, this can cause spam problems.

Inaccurate “from” details

If you mislead the reader as to who your email has come from, this goes against the CAN-SPAM Act. For example, if I were to send an email and make it look like it came from a government body, not only will my email end up in the spam folder but I would be breaking the law as well!

Therefore, it is vital that your name is included in the “from” field. Don’t change this regularly. Either use your personal name, business name, or both.

You use spam trigger words

Spam trigger words are words or phrases that appear spammy. Some examples include:

  • Act now
  • Will not believe your eyes
  • Have you been turned down?
  • Great offer
  • Join millions of Americans
  • Important information regarding
  • Drastically reduced

You also need to avoid bad grammar practices that can indicate spam, such as:

  • Misspelling words or using poor grammar
  • An overload of emojis 
  • Lots of exclamation marks
  • All capitals

Misleading subject lines

As per the CAN-SPAM Act, using your subject line to intentionally mislead someone is against the law. 

Interestingly, a Litmus and Fluent survey revealed that more than 50 percent of people feel like they have been deceived, tricket, or cheated into opening a promotional email because of a false subject line.

There are many ways a subject line could be seen as trickery. For example, thanking someone for their order when they haven’t placed one or using ‘urgent’ for something that isn’t.

Missing or inaccurate sender information

Inaccurate or missing sender information can also result in spam problems. There are two key areas here:

  • Not having a physical address – The FTC demands that you add a physical address to bulk emails. 
  • Inaccurate Reply-To/From information – Be sure that the email address you are sending from is a match to the sender and your authentication details.

Your mailbox use is low

Email service providers use spam filtering algorithms that will often assess the ratio of active email accounts to inactive email accounts on your list. An email account that is deemed is inactive is one that is rarely used or has not been used for a long time.

If you are sending emails to a lot of email addresses that are inactive, this will set off alarm bells. To stop this from happening, it is wise to periodically clean up your email list, getting rid of those email addresses that have not engaged with your campaigns for quite some time. 

Proper authentication has not been set-up

Aside from the reasons I have gone through so far, failing to set-up proper authentication is a big reason for emails ending up in the spam folder.

Think about when someone calls you on your mobile phone. When you see a random number, do you pick up? A lot of people don’t, as they assume it is an automated message or a spam call. The same issue happens with emails. 

There are technologies in place for email authentication, which will ensure your emails appear trustworthy. This helps you to prove who you are.

Some of the options here include SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKey Identified Mail). You can also use DMARC, yet do note that you need to be using both SPF and DKIM for this. 

Should you be using a custom email address and these authentication methods have not been established, this is probably why you’re ending up in the spam folder.

Your IP Address is being used for spam or has been used for spam in the past

Even if you have not personally sent spam to anyone, if your IP address is being used for spam or was used for spam in the past, you could get flagged.

When using an email marketing service for your campaigns, the service provider’s servers are used to deliver the email. This means that if even one of the customers is sending spam, your deliverability could be negatively impacted. 

If you opt for a reputable email service provider, like Sendinblue, Drip, and Constant Contact, you should not have an issue.


What can you do to stop your emails going into spam?

Now that you know why your emails are probably ending up in the spam folder, let’s look at some of the things you can do to prevent this. 

  • Maintain your subscriber list properly – If you are sending emails to a list of subscribers, be sure to give subscribers a clear option to unsubscribe, periodically clean your list of inactive accounts, and be sure your subscribers explicitly opt-in.
  • Follow best design practices when you send emails – Once emails have been authenticated, make sure you don’t make any of the copy or design signs mentioned earlier. This means;
      • Only link to sites that are reputable 
      • Add sender information
      • Avoid unnecessary attachments
      • Avoid spammy copy
      • Do not abuse images
  • Set up proper authentication – Use methods like SPF and DKIM to authenticate your emails.
  • Spot issues using Mail Tester – A final piece of advice I have is downloading Mail Tester, which is a free tool that you can use to find any technical problems with email deliverability. 

So there you have it: an insight into some of the common reasons why emails end up going into spam. I hope that this has helped you to understand why your emails are going into senders’ spam folders. Use the advice that I have provided to reverse this and give your email campaign the best possible chance of success.

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