If you have sent some important email to your client or colleague and if it lands in the spam folder your client or colleague will not be able to view it directly. Usually people don’t search for important emails in the spam folder and if your email is delivered in the spam folder there are chances that people might think that you did not send the email at all.
Why exactly do emails get caught in the spam folder? The answer to this question is – because of the spam filters!
Before we go on to tips for stopping your emails from getting marked as spam, let’s have a look at how the spam filters work!
A spam filter is basically a software program that scans the emails as they flow. The spam filter is programmed with a specific set of criteria about filtering the spam emails. The spam filter pulls out the emails that match the criteria and sends them to the spam folder. A good internet mail server is equipped with a spam filter and the spam filters can also be installed on network servers and individual PCs.
Usually, every email that looks like spam earns the email points. When a certain limit or point value is reached during the email scan, the email is termed as spam and it is flagged or deleted.
How are the spam values calculated? Every email spam filter scans some specific components of an email to determine whether it is a spam email or not, they are mentioned below:
- Subject line of the email : Common words or phrases are identified that associate with spam
- Content : Presence of suspicious links, low text to image ratio and other hallmarks that look spammy
- Metadata : Scanning the To/From/CC fields of the email, looking for the sender’s domain and the embedded code
- Checking the IP address, checking if the email is sent from any of the IPs that have been flagged as spam or blacklisted
Now that you know how your emails might end up in the spam folder, here are some tips that will help you avoid the spam folder:
If you have a professional email ID linked to your domain name, the first thing it will do is create a great impression in the minds of the recipients. The best thing about having a professional email ID is that it comes with the credibility of the domain name and it is less likely to be marked as spam. Many free email services are targeted by spammers and malware; thus, the emails sent from a free email ID have higher chances of getting marked as spam. Creating your own professional email ID with your domain name and through an established web host will reduce the risk of crucial business emails or newsletters from getting bounced or getting sent to spam or trash. If you communicate with your clients and colleagues through emails on a regular basis, getting a professional email ID is extremely important.
Control On The Number Of Emails Sent
Most of the spam filters check the number of email you send at a time. If you are sending regular email updates to a large contact list, it is important to use the ‘drip’ method even if you have a fast and efficient email sending server. This method will make sure that the emails are going after a specific time gap thus preventing your emails from getting marked as spam. Play it safe and have control on the number of emails you send.
Test Your Emails
It is a good idea to test the email once before you send it to your mailing list. After all you have put in hard work in creating the email and you wouldn’t want it to land in the spam folder. If you have a professional email ID, send test messages to free email IDs on Gmail, Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo, AOL etc. and to one generic office email ID that uses the Outlook Client. Send the test email with the same server and information that you will use for sending emails to your mailing list. If your test email lands in the junk folder, then you must revisit it and work on the subject, title, content, links etc. of the email and then test it again. Once you are confident that your email is safe to be sent to your clients and it won’t land in the spam folder, go ahead and send the emails to your mailing list.
Don’t Sound Like A Spammer!
This is a very important point to be considered, make sure that you are not using words or phrases that will create your impression as a spammer. You will come across many free online software websites to check the ‘spam score’ of your email content. Here are some basic points that you must have a check on:
- Avoid use of the word ‘free’ too many times.
- Don’t write all the content in ALL CAPS.
- Avoid the use of lots of colored fonts.
- Make use of only one exclamation point at a time.
- Avoid the use of words that are generally marked as spam like drugs, guaranteed winner, earn money etc.
- Make sure that all your contacts are the ones who have ‘opted-in’ to receive emails from you.
Check your own email spam folder once and see what type of emails are getting marked as spam and make sure that you are not using any of those words or phrases in the subject line or content of your own emails.
Stick To Your Words!
If your subscribers have opted for monthly newsletters and if you are sending them newsletters on a weekly basis, they will think that you only want to promote your products / services and you are not professional. This is a big reason that your emails will get marked as spam and won’t be read. Therefore, it is important to let your subscribers know what you are going to be sending them and how often you will be sending them the emails. If you would like to send different types of content through your newsletters like blog post updates, special offers and promotions etc. consider creating separate groups in your mailing list so that subscribers can choose what type of content they want to receive from you.
Avoid Large Attachments
Generally .jpeg, .gif, .png and .pdf are type of attachments that are safe to send, provided they are in context with the email content. However, there are some attachment types like .exe, .zip, .swf that should be completely avoided. Avoid sending attachments to people in your mailing list who are not expecting attachments. If you wish to send a large attachment with your email or an attachment type that can be flagged as spam, it is recommend to use a professional service like DropBox.com. In case the attachment contains sensitive data, it is advisable to use your company’s secure FTP server to send the email.
Include A Text Version Of Your Email
It is important to include a text version of your email in case you are sending HTML emails. This is a common cause for the emails to land in the spam folder and it is easily preventable. If you incorporate a text version of your email content for an HTML based email, it will not just avoid your email from getting to the spam folders but it will also cover you if your recipient is not able to view the email as HTML.
Even the most perfectly crafted emails won’t get the right attention if they land up in the spam folders therefore it is important to review all the small details related to your emails. The tips mentioned above are in your control and if you execute them, you will get the right attention and response from your email recipients. It is true that the criteria for detecting email spam might change on a regular basis and you don’t have any control over that but if you make it a habit of sending good email content or something that your clients and recipients really want to know about, your emails won’t get marked as spam 😀