I answer a lot of questions about email and MailChimp. This week I got a question from a Facebook group I participate in, “Why are all my emails landing in the spam folder?” In other words, how to avoid spam filters in email marketing?
An email campaign won’t work if your emails don’t make it to your customer’s inboxes. You have permission from everyone on your list, and your domain name is brand new, so why are your emails going into the SPAM folder?
We started with the obvious:
- Did you authenticate the domain in MailChimp?
- Is the domain name blacklisted?
- Are all email inbox services spamming the emails or just a specific one?
- Sending to corporate email addresses?
- Are you using words in your subject line that trigger the spam filter?
She had a brand new domain name, so something odd was definitely going on.
Your IP Address Was Used for Spam
This one was definitely a possibility since her domain address was practically brand new and had not been blacklisted. Your email server might have been used by someone else accused of sending spam. If one account on the server is identified as spam, everyone on that server is suspect. Check if your IP address is blacklisted.
The size of the server doesn’t matter. Small servers may not have the security protect from spammers, and large servers have more accounts on them. More accounts increase the chance of one or more spammers being present. When looking for an email server, ask about the security measures and pick a hosting company that’s diligent about its spam protection policies.
You Have Low Open Rates
I love Gmail. Their spam filters are pretty tight, so usually, I don’t get too much noise in my inbox.
Email inbox service providers like Gmail or Outlook consider several factors when determining what to send to a spam folder. One of these is the number of emails from a sender that are deleted without being opened.
Before starting an email campaign, take the time to craft a compelling subject line. Sometimes it takes as long to write the subject line as it does to write the email. The extra time you spend will be worth it.
You Have Low Mailbox Usage
If you haven’t updated your email list in a while, you may need to. People change email addresses over time, and your messages may be going to outdated boxes. Email services frequently look at the ratio of inactive to active inboxes on your list. This is a warning signal to many spam filters.
How do you get around this? Use an email validation service like DataValidation.com to refresh your list. Prices start at $.007 an email address. Which is really cheap to get new sales and clients.
Your Subject Line is Misleading
It’s tempting to use “cute” subject lines that make recipients curious. The problem is that it can be misleading and make the person feel you tricked them. Make sure your subject lines indicates exactly what your email is about to avoid misunderstandings.
You’re Not Following Email Best Practices for HMTL
Should your email be 600px or 800px wide? You may be tempted to create the wider email because you can put more info in the newsletter. But email best practices call for a 600px wide template. MailChimp will default to this, but if you don’t use an image block, the pic won’t be able to resize down to a smartphone screen.
Sending lots of images may get you flagged as spam. The emails that get through the most spam filters and get the most engagement with the readers have a very low text to image ratio. My preference is to send text emails with an image logo in the signature line or at the top of the email. It looks very similar to a business letter format.
You Can’t Get Through Corporate Servers
If you have a B2B product or service, frequently you’ll send emails to corporate email addresses. Some corporations will filter out all email addresses that look like their coming from an ESP (email service provider) like MailChimp or Constant Contact. How do you get around this?
- Authenticate your email address with the ESP
This makes your email look like it’s coming from your email address on your web domain rather than from MailChimp. You can’t authenticate Gmail.com or Outlook.com email addresses. This may help your email get through the corporate spam filter. Learn how to authenticate your domain name with MailChimp
- Send a text based email
If your emails still aren’t getting through, try sending a text-based email. Text based emails have the least amount of code to get flagged by a corporate email server. They may just fly under the radar.
Is There Anything Else I Can Do?
You’ve followed the above steps and still having issues. Check your email message with an online program such as IsNotSpam.com. It analyzes your message and gives you a report with any weak areas that are apt to trigger spam filters. It’s just one more step in your marketing toolbox, one that you need to use to figure out how to avoid spam filters in email marketing.
Final Words in How to Avoid Spam Filters in Email Marketing
You’ve worked hard to build your email list. Avoiding spam filters can be confusing, but it’s worth all the time and effort. Spam checkers can help take a lot of the guess-work out of the process, but the result is ultimately in your hands. The best thing you can do is keep in communication with your email list. Give them a reason to look forward to your email and open them regularly. In the end, that’s the best way to avoid that banishment to the spam corner.
Have a question about email marketing or MailChimp? Join me every Wednesday at 10am Pacific for my MailChimp Email Marketing help call.