How To Avoid Spam Filters

July 18th, 2019 BLOG

As marketers, we spend much of our time working with email – drafting pertinent copy and punchy headlines, designing eye-catching imagery or crafting vibrantly branded email templates to increase our open and click-through rates. 

But before you click send, have you thought about whether or not your email will actually reach its intended audience? It doesn’t matter how legitimate you are as a person or a business, there are tonnes of things which could prevent your email from reaching your audience’s inbox. Spam filters, ISPs and GDPR laws are working hard to reduce spam, so you’ll need to be extra careful when crafting your marketing emails to avoid them being flagged. 

What is spam? And why are emails sent to spam folders?

Email spam usually consists of junk or unsolicited emails sent in bulk to a list of people and is then usually caught by most spam filters. But how exactly do these spam filters work? There are hundreds of things that could be considered “spammy” by email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, Bing, etc. They weigh up everything from meta titles and descriptions to the number of images in your email and, thanks to the latest updated in technology, these lists just keep getting smarter. So how do we make sure our email campaigns get to their desired destination?

Best tips for avoiding spam filters

1. Always get permission and don't buy lists.

Making sure that you have permission to contact a person regarding the content of your email is key. For example, just because you have their details for general business inquiries, doesn’t mean they want to start receiving special offers or deals. Don’t give people a reason to flag your emails as spam or move your email to the junk folder – it will most likely end up in your emails being flagged by ISPs in the future.

We also know that there are many places on the internet that tout lists of “dedicated leads” which can be very tempting to buy, but don’t do it! Purchased lists are riddled with dead emails and bounces which are just begging to ruin your email reputation and be flagged as spam.

2. Content, Subject Lines & Formatting.

As you can imagine, the words you use in your email can dictate whether or not your email gets flagged as spam. Reduce the possibility of being sent straight to the junk folder by cutting out some of the more perilous words – such as free, promotion, buy now or symbols like $$$. The subject line of your email also plays a big part in deciding this so avoid using ALL CAPS or excessive symbols, and especially phrases like “big savings” or “last chance to enter”. 

Finally, formatting and layout is an extremely important factor when ISPs are deciding whether or not your email is spammy – be sure the image-to-text ratio is balanced and you keep your emails short and snappy. Also, studies show that people find grammatical or spelling errors to be the most unacceptable email offence so be sure to use spell check!

3. Attachments are NOT your friend.

This one may come as a bit of a shock, but attachments – whether they be images, videos or documents – often get flagged as spam. Why? Viruses and Malware tend to be sent via email attachments so a lot of spam filters, ISPs and even companies themselves, refuse to open emails with attachments or simply send them straight to the junk folder.

To combat this, best practice indicates that you should upload your doc or image to your own website, or another credible hosting site, and link to the file in your email with a button or another call to action. This should allow your email to bypass the spam filters and get the content where it needs to go.

4. Keep your lists clean – Bounces make you look spammy.

Ensuring your lists are kept up-to-date and free of unsubscribed, non-existent and expired email addresses is very important. ISPs take into consideration the bounce rate of emails when determining a sender’s reputation, so the more bounces then the more likely you’ll be blocked from emailing the subscribed members of your list. 

You can avoid bounced emails by practising good list hygiene and removing any dead or expired emails from your lists. This way you will decrease the chances of your emails being flagged as spam.

With a whole host of clients in a variety of tech industries, we're no stranger to a successful email campaign and are often juggling several at once. If you need some help fine-tuning your company's outgoing email campaigns, get in touch and we’ll help you out ...


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