You want to contact a person through email. You have sent it to that person. You are looking forward to a response but you don’t receive any. Ever wondered about the possible reasons behind him/her not reverting back to you? Bright chances are that your email has been delivered to “Spam” folder of the recipient. Why does your email turn into spam email and landed in spam box instead of the primary inbox?
The most commonly used email service providers (ESP/mailbox provider)- Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, sometimes direct your email to the recipient’s spam box. These service providers are not to be blamed for this. It is your own email sending habits that result in your email ending as spam.
Following are few points that prevent your email end up being a spam email:
1. Spam Email marked by the audience
People subscribe to your email with some expectations. If not fulfilled, they tend to mark it as spam. The below situations can be one of the reasons for this.
- Sending too many emails as it leads to irritation.
- Sending less number of emails as people tend to forget who you are. They also forget that they did subscribe to your emails in the past.
- Sending email irrelevant to subscription. For example, if they subscribed to your blogs and you send them email related to the product you deal with, this irritates them.
In all the above situations people tend to develop a dislike towards your email. It can result in driving them to mark your emails as spam email. This, practiced by too many people will leave an impression on the email service provider that your email is no longer welcomed by people. And as you send mail to anyone using that domain, the recipient Email Provider directs it to the user’s spam box.
2. Goodwill with the MailBox provider
It does happen that people tend to ignore emails sent by you. The mailbox provider senses that the number of email opening and clicks in the email content have deteriorated for your emails. People ignoring your email hampers your goodwill with the mailbox provider. People expect the mailbox provider to filter the emails not desired by them and put it in updates/spam. Such situations should be avoided.
Advice – The list of inactive email subscribers should be made and they should be sent few special emails to encourage them to respond to you. If they respond to you, well and good, otherwise you should stop sending them further emails.
Keep in mind, once you are blacklisted by the mailbox provider, all your sent emails will go to spam. So it is always better to remove email ids which are not responding to your email, from your email list.
3. Buying an email list is not advised
The mailbox provider does not appreciate the idea of a purchased email list. If you buy an email list you would be sending emails to people who haven’t given you the permission to do so. This will make them put your email to Spam or they will not even bother to open it. So, it will affect your reputation with the mailbox provider.
The email list available in the market are of poor quality, mostly having fake addresses or inactive ones. They often come with spam tags. This will lead to a number of undelivered emails and thus one more reason to the Email service provider to blacklist you.
If at all you need an email list, resort to the good email list providers. Choosing the appropriate list will help your emails avoid spam box.
4. Having a promotional subject line is a No-No
Having words like buy/sale/discount/off/offer which are associated with promoting and selling any product or service gets marked as spam email/promotional by the recipient’s Email Service Provider.
Advice – Focus on the features and specification of the product/service you are selling and redirect them to the web page where you ask the page visitor to make the purchase.
5. Always provide an Un-Subscribe button on Bulk emails
As per the CAN-SPAM act, popular email service providers have been directed to automatically mark bulk emails as spam emails if they don’t contain the Un-Subscribe link. This link helps the recipient unsubscribe to certain email lists on topics which are not of his/her interest.
6. Consistency admired
Changes are not appreciated by mailbox provider. A big rise and fall in the metrics related to email is not admired by them.
These metrics may include email sending volume, unsubscription rate, hard bounces, etc.
For example – If there is too much hike in email sending rate the email service provider thinks an email address list has been purchased by you or your site has been hacked and someone is sending spam emails from it. So always try to be consistent, otherwise, your mail will be directed to the Spam box of the recipient.
7. Regulation of Content Volume
An email should neither be too small nor too big.
- A very small email is put to Spam email by the mailbox provider. Though it is smart enough to detect the matter and filter the email as a spam or not,even if it is small. For example, an email promoting the sale of the product can have the following lines – “Sale of 10% is on the [product name]”. Such emails won’t end up as a spam.
Advice – Draft your email with more than 500 words. If not, add images to it.
- A very big email also becomes irritating. It takes a lot of time to open which leads to irritation. Once it opens up, the very thought of reading such a big email develops a reluctance towards it. Some mailbox provider also chops your email, if it is too big. This will give an unfinished look and it does sometimes happen the important information you want to send gets missed.
Advice – Reducing the file size of images by compressing them, adjusting the color and removing metadata.
The advice, if followed, will help you avoid spam box.
8. Image Only Email = Spam Email
If the email contains only image the email service provider puts it to the spam and mark them as the spam email. It happens that people hide spammy codes within the image. Email service provider becomes wary of it and it tends to put image-only emails to spam. There are certain email providers which even tends to block the images by default. You may end up sending an empty email.
- Use not more than 30-50% images in the content.
- Add ALT tags(image description). This will help the recipient get an idea of what the image represents, lest it opens
9. Spam words and phrases should be avoided
There is a list of words and phrases to be avoided in the content of the email. Using these words gives the email service provider the impression that your mail is not wanted by the subscribers and it leads to your mail ending into a spam. A list of such words or phrases can be found here.
10. HTML, as well as, text version required
For an email two parts are mandatory. First one is HTML version and the second one is text format.
There are certain mobile devices which fail to support the HTML version. On such devices emails having only the HTML part, will open up as empty emails. This makes the text part important.
Some ESP compares the HTML part and the text version to make sure both the parts are the same.
There are few ESP which can create the text version automatically. Whereas for few, such asAPI , SMTP, both the versions need to be identically present. Therefore, keeping the HTML & Text part same will enhance the chances of email avoid spam box.
11. Resort to different IP addresses for different category of emails
Marketing and transactional emails are the two categories of emails sent by most of the companies. It is always a good practice to send different category of emails through different IP addresses. In the case of any deliverability problem with one category, this practice will not affect the other category.
Moreover, if your company have a dedicated IPS, make sure your ESP separates different categories to be delivered through different ESPs. This will definitely help emails avoid spam folder.
It is also advised to use different domain names for different categories, as the ESP also keeps track of the domain reputation. For example,
Marketing emails: hi@advertising.[company name] .com
Transactional emails: hi@sales.[company name].com
This tip can facilitate your emails avoid spam box.
12. Authentication of sending domain required
The email provider, say Yahoo, Gmail, should have an idea that you are a company sending emails to people. Otherwise, your emails will end up as spam. For this, authentication is needed.
There are various ways of authentication, few are SPF(Sender Policy Framework), DKIM(DomainKeys Identified Mail) & DMARC( Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance). A good description of this can be read here.
Companies sending a vast number of emails and having a good emailing reputation are granted dedicated IP address. This has various advantages, such as it enhances company reputation, helps in customization of email sending process. But it comes with a few drawbacks. As company’s IP address being new it takes some time to earn goodwill with the ESP. The ESP does not have any idea whether the company is a good mailer or a spammer. If we start sending too many emails at the outset, the ESP will consider the IP to be a spammer and all the emails sent will land up in the Spam box. To avoid this situation start sending emails to a limited number of recipients and gradually increase it. This will facilitate the ESP to access the sending practices and will prevent the email to end as a spam.
Keeping in mind the above pointers will help you overcome the problem of mail sent by you in ending as a spam.
Do let me know which of the above points was acting as a hurdle for your mail to land up at the Spam box rather than Inbox of your recipients.