Recently, I switched eMail providers. No matter what I did, no one was getting my emails or they were going directly to the SPAM folder. It took a lot of time and energy to fix this problem, so I thought I would show you how to avoid eMail going to SPAM!
Reasons emails go to SPAM
First, let’s look at a series of reasons your emails may go to SPAM. There is a checklist you’re going to want to use. You can sign up and download it below:
Let’s look at the common reasons email goes to SPAM.
Your IP Address was flagged as SPAM
So why this happens is that someone in your email provider WAS sending SPAM. Let’s say BadPerson uses Small eMail Provider, Inc. as their email provider. BadPerson SPAM’d everyone with the standard Nigerian Prince thingy. Someone (or many someones) marked them as SPAM. Now, anyone that uses Small eMail Provider, Inc. will not be able to send reputable emails.
Don’t be scared. MOST advanced email providers, MailerLite, ConvertKit, AWeber, Flodesk, etc. have strict regulatory processes to prevent this from happening to you. They simply mark BadPerson as SPAM.
You can check your domain at What Is My Ip BlackList site. You should see results that all show “no” in the column
Your eMails have Low Engagement
For example, if Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail notice that your marketing campaign emails are deleted immediately, or not opened at all, they MAY mark your address as SPAM. So pay attention to your engagement rates. You may not have the right audience for your product or niche.
Permissions and consents are missing
In other words, the user never opted in to your emails. You can follow up for those that did not give consent, once, giving them a link to opt-in. If they don’t answer, that’s it. Remove them. If they answer, your emails will no longer be marked as SPAM.
It’s Been Too Long Since you Emailed Subscribers
Your subscribers may not remember you. They may mark it as spam because they have no idea who you are. Of course, the easiest way to avoid this is to regularly email your subscribers. Here’s a list of things you should have in your emails:
- Images and tone should be similar to what is on your website
- Use branding colors and fonts (same as on your website) so the look and feel is familiar
- Make sure your emails have your business logo
- ALWAYS add an unsubscribe link to your emails
You are Sending eMails to inactive or dormant accounts
Say what? Ok, this isn’t necessarily your fault. Some people (ok, maybe I have been known to do this occasionally) have an email address JUST for SPAM that I MAY read occasionally. However, I rarely check this account. Email providers know that you haven’t checked your account lately so they may flag for spam filters. If your subscribers are using this method, you may want to unsubscribe them.
eMail Subject Lines are misleading, weak, or contain Trigger Words
The best way to test to see if your subject line is commonly you is to consider the following:
- Reading your subject line, is there any way to misconstrue or think it is possibly SPAM? If yes, rephrase it
- How would YOU feel if you received an email with this subject line?
- Trigger words are being used such as free, earn per week, Earn $, Big Bucks, etc.
There is an exhaustive list you can compare to at BlogSpot for Trigger Words. In addition, Co-Schedule has an eMail Subject Line Checker. If you want to check your entire eMail for “spamminess”, you should send your email to Mail Tester. There is also an excellent book that shows you Words that Sell. I highly recommend it.
Your Sender Information is Inaccurate
Always ensure to use a proper “send from” address. You should also include an actual name in the “from” field. This can be just your first name, or your full name, or even your brand name. My emails come from Annie Richardson Consulting as an example. You should always be clear in who they are getting emails from. This also helps avoid SPAM.
Your eMails must have a Physical Address
Now here’s where it gets pretty tricky. I know someone, Jennifer Maker Marx of Jennifer Maker, who used to put her personal address on her emails for a year or so way back when. Then, she started making 6 and 7 figure income! She got a little scared (as would I) about people knowing how much her company makes and having her home address just “out there”!
There are many ways you can do this. You can get a Post Office Box from your local area Post Office, or any Post Office you want. You will register your current Business Address to that PO Box, but all the email will show is the PO Box xxx, your city, state, zip.
Another option is to pay for a physical address. This is the option I chose because post office boxes in my area were outrageous. This option costs about $10/month and you can choose from many cities/states. These are actual physical addresses that truly exist, but the suite # they give you is virtual. They will even open mail and scan it for you, should you desire. Go to PhysicalAddress to see all they offer and sign up.
There is no Unsubscribe or it’s Hard to Find
This is a clear red flag. Make sure your unsubscribe link isn’t hard to find or totally missing. In addition, if someone eMails you and asks to be unsubscribed, do it immediately or in a timely manner.
Design Best Practices Not Being Followed
Yup, there is such a thing. Of course, I prefer Flodesk, but there are other email providers out there that can still accomplish emails other than plain text. Whatever provider you choose to use, think about these best practices:
#1 – Make sure your image-text ratio is appropriate
Remember, it’s the words that count, not just pretty pictures. Try to keep the ratio to 60-70% text and 30-40% images. In addition, you want to use images, not blocks when the email actually goes out.
#2 – Use fonts that work everywhere
Custom fonts may be pretty, but not everyone’s browser can handle them. Stick with default web fonts or those that are proprietary to your provider. Proprietary fonts have been tested with all sorts of browsers with no issues. Otherwise, stick with default web fonts. A good place to start is Google Fonts.
#3 – Use an image optimizer
Ensure that your images are formatted for web usage, not high-quality printing. There are several image optimizers available. One such optimizer is JPEG Optimizer. Currently, it is still free and has many options for resizing.
#4 – Make sure your eMail is easy to read
Use bullet points where possible instead of long chunks of text. Keep your paragraphs short. Use Bold and Italics only when it makes sense. Break up your text with headings, call-to-actions, and images.
Avoid Attachments in Marketing eMails
You may want to send your folks a freebie or something. Give them a link to download it. Don’t try to attach it to the email. Attachments tend to potentially carry viruses and are often filtered because of that. In addition, attachments almost always slow down your eMail load time. I don’t know about you, but if it takes a second or two to download the eMail, I’ve lost interest already.
Excessive Spelling Error in your eMails
No one expects you to be perfect, but most phishing and scam emails have a high amount of grammatical and spelling errors. This is usually due to translation issues, but if you have a high amount of spelling and grammatical errors, this is a red flag. So…. Spell Check! You should also use Grammarly to check your grammar. Make it one of your best practices to use both prior to sending your eMail.
eMails Sent from Freemail Addresses
Using emails from gmail, yahoo, and hotmail are considered freemail domains. eMail Service Providers prefer to see domains that are registered in some way to you. Check out the technical side of this post, and the steps I took from a technical point of view in the post My eMails Went to Spam – a Technical Approach.
You Have Links to Weird Websites in your eMails
You should remember that ALL links in your emails are checked by spam filters. So if you have a link to a dubious website, the entire email will be marked as SPAM. To avoid the junk folder:
- have a good text-link ratio (don’t just have links on your page). This is automatically marked as SPAM. You’ve seen them before, all there is on the website is affiliate links. Bad idea.
- Too many domain links. Try to avoid linking to many different domains in one email. Again, looks like all you’re doing is sending out links.
- You should link to reputable websites. You know them when you see them.
- Avoid link shorteners or redirect links. It’s tempting to use link shorteners, but be careful. They could cause too many redirects.
Misleading or Unclear Signup Form
I absolutely HATE misleading emails. You know the ones, sounds like you’re getting all this great stuff for free, but when you sign up, it’s one piddly little page with an upsell for $99 for the resat or something. Drives me nuts.
You should explicitly tell them what they are getting when they sign up AND that they will be on your eMail list and receive info from you. This applies to sign up forms, on your thank you page (if you use one) and in your welcome delivery or first freebie delivery email.
Quick Tips for How to Avoid eMail Going to SPAM
There are still lots of yukky techie stuff to check if your email is still going to SPAM. Watch for our post coming up on the technical side.
In the meantime, here are some simple things you can do:
Tell your Subscribers to Whitelist your Email Address
The easiest way to do this is to add a Thank You page where folks are redirected after they have opted in. On your Thank You page, you should have the following:
- Write something heartfelt about joining your email list. An example would be “I’m so happy you’ve joined my list!”
- Ask them to Whitelist your email address. Give them instructions such as “if you haven’t received your welcome email in 15 minutes, check your SPAM/Junk folder” and either move it to your inbox or contact you immediately.
- Provide more detail about your freebie or give them a direct download link.
- Ask them to send you a feedback email in response to the email they receive
- Add a “Reply” button in your email as well.
Authenticate your Domain
The techie details for this are in the post called ….. But just know that authenticating your domain, setting up DKIM and SPF will help you increase your reputation and your brand.
Test Your Emails Before Sending
Always, ALWAYS send a test email to yourself before sending it out to 1,000 people! I’m sure you get the emails that say here’s the goods, then you almost immediately get another email that says “Ooops”. You can avoid the ooops by sending the email to yourself and checking all the links, design, aspect, and basic best practices before sending out to the rest of your people.
Understand Your Audience and What They Need
You should understand what your audience is looking for from you. For example, it makes no sense for me to tell you all about eMail and avoiding SPAM, yet my opt-in is a recipe for Cake. People would say “huh?”. Know your audience. Give them what they need and what they WANT. Provide real value.
Test Your Sign-Up Process and Automations
This is where you can avoid duplicate emails or no emails at all due to some error in your workflow or automation. Some questions to ask yourself:
- Is your sign up form clear in its intent of what you will provide?
- Is it clear they will receive promotional emails, newsletter, etc?
- Does the automated welcome sequence arrive promptly?
- Does the email go to your junk folder?
- Are follow up emails in the workflow delivered according to the schedule?
- Does the Thank you page load properly
- Does the Thank You page give information about what they will be receiving?
- Do you receive the appropriate opt-in?
- Does the download link work?
- Does the picture of the opt-in match what you receive?
Create a Real Plan when Switching from one provider to another
I absolutely LOVE Flodesk and highly recommend anyone wanting beautiful creative emails to join. However, if you’re using another provider currently, it is imperative that you have a good, solid plan.
I recommend that you evaluate your current needs and make an informed decision. This includes comparing features, costs, and other things. Make sure you can tag and/or segment your users. If your current provider uses segments, make a list of all of those and create those same segments in your new email provider. There will be another post that goes through this process in-depth at a later date.
Now that you know how to avoid your email going to SPAM, I hope you write beautiful emails to your list! If you’re still having issues with your email going to SPAM, it’s time to look at the technical side of things. Watch for our technical post Coming Soon!
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Until Next Time, Happy Blogging!
Your Fairy Blogmother
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