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How can I stop my email newsletters from going to spam?

Email marketing can produce incredible results turning warm leads into clients. But how do you stop your marketing emails from ending up in your audience's spam folder?

There’s a misconception that email marketing is a thing of the past, left in the dust by social media and the race to the top of Google’s search results. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Email is still an extremely useful marketing medium that can reap tangible results. 

The greatest returns are often seen when marketing emails are targeted towards warm leads to bring in new clients. In fact, email is 40x better at bringing in new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.

There’s still a problem facing email marketers, however. Even if your emails are targeted towards the right audience, they might never reach them. The spam or junk mail folder is the bane of any email marketing campaign, especially when reaching out with promotions which may be flagged as “spammy” by providers. Fortunately, there are ways to stop your newsletters and mass emails from ending up in a prospective client’s spam folder.

There are two ways that an email can be identified as spam: by the person receiving the email, or in advance by their email service. 

What gets my emails flagged as spam by email services?

Naturally, your email is more likely to be flagged as spam by an email service if it resembles spam mail. Here are some of the things email services will identify as spam:

  • Overuse of punctuation or uppercase: Including phrases like “DISCOUNTS!!!” or “OFFERS!!!” in your subject line is an easy way to end up in a spam folder.
  • Pushy language: Phrases like “action required”, “buy now”, “urgent” or “don’t delete” are likely to be flagged if used in the subject line or body of your email, especially if combined with the punctuation or capitalisation mentioned above.
  • Buzzwords: Language which puts your offers or services in extreme terms like “100% off”, “amazing”, “incredible offer” and so on are more likely to trigger spam filters. It might be the case that you’re offering a free or discounted service as part of a deal, but ensuring that it’s phrased in a way that seems authentic and not too good to be true is key.
  • Unnecessary images: Images can also risk triggering spam filters in a couple of different ways. Image names, file size or the site they are hosted on could set off a spam filter, though luckily many mass email services will host any images themselves to avoid them being traced back to sites which may inadvertently be seen as untrustworthy. As a rule of thumb, don’t unnecessarily add images to your emails.

What gets my emails reported as spam by recipients?

The people receiving your emails can also report them as spam. Here are some reasons why your recipients could be reporting your emails as spam, along with my tips to improve your email deliverability:

  • High frequency: Receiving too many emails from one source is one of the most common reasons people flag them as spam, with 45.8% of people surveyed listing it as a reason according to TechnologyAdvice Research.
    • Tip: Commit to a regular newsletter schedule so your recipients know when to expect your emails. This could be on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.  
  • Lack of personalisation: If your emails seem impersonal it could lead recipients to mark them as spam. If nothing else, it can make you less likely to turn a warm lead into a client.
    • Tip: If your email marketing software allows, use personalisation features like first name and business name within your email.
  • Irrelevance: In the TechnologyAdvice survey, 31.6% of people identified irrelevant content as a key reason to report an email as spam. Making sure your emails are useful to recipients is important. 
    • Tip: Managing multiple email lists or segments can help, allowing you to sort recipients and send them the most relevant information.

Testing your emails

Automatic spam filters are always evolving. To avoid too much guesswork, you can test your emails by running them through software which will give you an idea of whether or not they would be flagged as spam. Many of these services are free and can save you from puzzling over what does or does not count as a buzzword, pushy language, and so on. 

There are plenty of free spam filter test tools available online. They work by allowing you to send an email to their temporary address, then letting you know how it scored based on some of the factors spam filters use to determine authenticity. You can use these services to fine tune your strategy for avoiding the spam folder, helping your emails reach your audience and bring back leads to your business.


More help

Got any questions about content marketing? Email me at [email protected].

Abby Webb

Abby Webb

Senior Search & Content Consultant

Abby leads on SEO campaigns, with a strong background in copywriting, content and paid search marketing campaigns.

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