It’s a never-ending fight to prevent your emails from going to spam. With technology monitoring which email goes where, the bots seem to have the control on categorizing your email within the inbox. Will it find a home within the main feed—or land in the junk pile?
Here’s some hard truth: you can’t expect your subscribers to do the work for you.
Sure, you can ask them to add your contact info to their address book. But how often have you made that effort within your inbox for a business or brand?
Don’t lose hope yet. There are many ways you can battle the spam bots so that your email reaches your target audience. And it’s all about how you deliver your email, from copywriting and design to metadata optimization and smart email etiquette.
So, what are the best ways to prevent your emails from going to spam?
First, Email Only with Permission
Never, ever, ever send emails to a purchased email list. You don’t like this to happen to you, so why would you do it to hundreds of people?
Solution: Only send marketing to email addresses given to you with permission, be it by signing up for your loyalty program or filling out a form at an in-person event.
Do the Double Opt-In
Put simply, a double opt-in adds a step (or two) to your email subscription process and doubles the chances of your email engagement with your readers.
The double opt-in looks like this:
- A person subscribes to your email list
- That person receives a follow-up email with a confirmation link
- That person clicks on the confirmation link, verifying that they want to receive email communications from you
Solution: Reach out to your email marketing platform to learn how you can enable double opt-in for your email subscriptions. Since email engagement is the best way to prevent your emails from going to spam, you should explore this option for your email marketing strategy.
Offer Unsubscribe Options
Giving your readers an option to opt-out seems counter-productive. However, it is illegal not to offer any unsubscribe options. Your opt-out options can both maintain your email list hygiene and prevent your emails from going to spam.
Solution: Be clear within your email on how your recipients can unsubscribe, be it a call-to-action button, hyperlinked text or requesting a reply-to response.
Turn Off Caps Lock
Stop yelling in your subject lines. It catches the attention of your recipients and spam filters—but in a bad way. Because this is a common spam tactic, your email is likely to be automatically dropped into the junk email pile or manually deleted by your intended readers.
Solution: Capitalize sensibly. The beginning of a sentence and proper nouns should suffice. Every other letter in your words should be lowercase. Proper usage of capitalization should prevent your emails from going to spam.
Drop the Exclamation Points
These days, the exclamation point is more common than the period. And it’s a popular way to send your marketing email right to the spam folder or trash bin. That’s because a bunch of exclamation points in your subject line look unprofessional, spammy and desperate.
Solution: Don’t apply exclamation points—not even one—in your subject line. Rely on strong words and active verbs, not punctuation, to convey your message.
Solution: Feature an image of your video player with a play button overlay that hyperlinks to your video on your website. If this isn’t feasible, create a call-to-action button that links to the rich media functional on your website. You can prevent your emails from going to spam by sending emails with features that all your recipients can enjoy.
Detach Your Attachments
PDFs and word processing documents can be useful documents for your recipients. However, since many spammers use attachments as a way to install malware or hack into a system, most email clients send any email with an attachment—except those flagged as safe in your address book—into the junk folder.
Solution: Upload the attachment onto your website, either as a public or gated content. Then, create a call-to-action button that encourages recipients to download the document from your website. That way, your readers receive your emails and can access your attachments safely.
Remove Embedded Forms
Email clients don’t support forms within the body of an email due to potential security threats. There’s always a chance that an email with an embedded form can be used maliciously to gain user account access, leading to hacked systems or identity theft. Regardless of your intent, email clients instantly send all embedded form emails to the spam pile for safety reasons.
Solution: Feature the form on your website instead to prevent your emails from going to spam. Then, create a call-to-actin button that persuades recipients to fill out the form on your website. Your target audience will feel more at ease filling out the form on your website instead of within the email.
Replace Spam Trigger Words
There are hundreds of spam trigger words that can set off the spam bots. Using the wrong word or phrase in your subject line can instantly shoot your email to the spam folder.
So, how do you know if you’re using spam trigger words? Ask yourself this: would a used car salesperson say this to make a sale? If the answer is yes, chances are you’re using a spam trigger word.
Solution: Choose your words wisely. Familiarize yourself with these common spam trigger words so that your email has a better chance in making it to the inbox.
Apply Email-Friendly Fonts
Uncommon fonts, enlarged font sizes and hard-to-read font colors are ways to keep your emails from being read or reaching the inbox. Same goes for using invisible text (for example, white text upon a white background) and red font anywhere in the email.
Solution: Select an email-friendly to prevent your emails from going to spam. Consider these fonts when creating your next email:
- Courier New
- Lucida Sans Unicode
- Times New Roman
- Trebuchet MS
*Please Note: While considered an email-friendly font, I highly recommend not using Comic Sans—and here’s why.
Keep Your Images Simple and Compressed
When it comes to images, too much of a good thing can be bad. That is, if you want your emails to make it into the inbox. Things that sound the alarm for spam include:
- Featuring one large image
- Showcasing too many images
- Applying a background image that’s not a solid backdrop
- Loading in high-resolution images
Solution: Balance the ratio of images to email text. Aim for images sized within the KB range and compress your images before loading them into your email template.
Set Up an Accurate Sender Name
All of us receive dozens of spam emails daily. When we don’t recognize the sender’s name, we send it out of our inbox and into our spam folder.
This can happen to your emails if you don’t set up your email settings to a name that your readers recognize. For example, your sender name could default to the person who set up the email account or apply unnecessary characters and formatting.
Solution: Customize your sender name to accurately reflect who you are. This should be your company name, brand title or personal name. One glance at a familiar sender name can prevent your emails from going to spam and increase your email open rate.
Include Your Recipient’s Name in the “To:” Field
When you send a mass email to a large email group, it’s not guaranteed that the reader’s name will appear in the “To:” field. Instead, it can often show as the name of collective email group or as blank. And when your recipient’s name doesn’t appear as the recipient of that email, the spam bots shoot it right over to the junk pile.
Solution: Work with your email platform provider. They should be able to confirm that your emails display the recipient name correctly within the “To:” field or can help you set up your settings so that your emails send correctly in the future.
Update Your Alt Text
Even today, several email clients still block images by default. That makes for a bad experience for your readers, especially when your call-to-action images render as blank boxes without any context.
Since alt text provides words to an image that doesn’t render, it can still encourage readers to engage even when an image breaks or won’t load. But if you leave image alt text blank, then your readers have no incentive to engage.
Even worse, spam bots raise a red flag on any email without alt text attached to embedded images. If you want to prevent your emails from going to spam, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and put in some work.
Solution: When loading images to your marketing email, make sure to include alt text. Phrase your alt text so that it accurately depicts the image and incentivizes readers to take next steps on actionable items.
Deliver a Web Browser View
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you optimize your email. There’s always an email client that still displays your email poorly. And if an email doesn’t render right, the email client can send it to spam by default, even to no fault of your own.
Readers are more educated on spam tactics these days. Even if your email reaches their inbox and still doesn’t display correctly, they are likely to set it as spam.
Many of these viewing issues can be easily solved by updating personal email settings. However, readers are more likely to tap “Report as Spam” instead of visit their email configurations. That means you need to be more proactive on how you deliver your email.
Solution: Add an option at the top of your email message to view the email in a web browser. Make this action item easy to spot and easy to tap, especially for mobile users who often experience email rendering issues.