Here at Elastic Email, our team of delivery and customer success experts are available 24/7 to help you solve delivery issues, understand feature functionality and answer any other account questions that you need help with.
Of course, one of those common questions is about why mail is going to the spam folder. This can happen for a wide variety of reasons. This blog post will help you understand what those reasons are and how you can take steps to manage your lists, sender reputation and more in order to get your mail heading to the inbox instead.
Step 1: Setting up your Account for Best Delivery
Before you send your first campaign you need to make sure you’re giving yourself the best opportunity for delivery to the inbox. Make sure you’ve done the following, the links will provide you with more information:
-Reviewed our acceptable use policy.
-Verified your sender domain.
-Filled out your profile details accurately and fully. You may need to merge this information.
-Ensure that all mail (including transactional mail) has a clear unsubscribe option and physical address included.
Step 2: Help us Help You
Here are a couple of extra hints when dealing with spam folder issues:
If you’ve sent less than a 100 emails, and worse if they are ‘test’ emails (blank, not formatted well etc) - this isn’t going to give you or us an accurate picture of what the (if there even is one) issue may be. You need to send a small but representative campaign of mail that is formatted as you intend it to be and to members of your active list before it can be evaluated for potential delivery issues.
Any purchased, borrowed, third party, generic 'industry' lists, scraped addresses or any other contact lists that include addresses that have not directly opted in and asked to receive your mail are against our sending terms and additionally may not comply with laws like the Can-Spam Act or the GDPR. Not only is your mail likely to end up in the spam folder, but your account could get placed under review and all mail stopped completely.
If you decide to send a huge campaign to a single domain (ie Gmail, qq.com, Yahoo etc) or you're sending to an old list (anything over 3-6 months old and your contacts have probably forgotten about signing up to get your mail) and you’ve not warmed up your verified sender domain then your mail is probably going to have delivery issues. This can and likely will include your mail going to the spam folder. Use a service to verify your list, then consider sending a confirmation of consent campaign followed by a gradual increase in bulk campaign size.
More actions you can take to reach the inbox
- If you do send a few test emails (completely formatted as you intend to send them during your campaign) and they land in spam - mark them as not spam - this helps the filters learn that the mail is wanted.
- Personalize the email you're sending by using the recipient's name. Merge fields can help you with this. Spam filters like to know you're acquainted with the person you're sending to.
- Ask your recipients to add you to their contact lists or safe sender lists. You can easily ask your recipients to do this when they sign up to receive your mail.
- Take care of the IPs you're using. Whether you've opted for a private IP or are using one of the shared IP pools it's important that you abide by our terms and ensure that you're using good sending and list management practices.
- Use a double opt-in list and make sure your subscribers are familiar with your mail and brand. Your contacts should have agreed to receive mail from you and should be expecting it.
- Your email needs to look good. Spam filters will shut down a campaign that looks like junk mail. It should be balanced between images and text. Find out more about how to make a great email.
- Keep branding consistent between your social platforms and your email marketing.
- Make sure any code you're using is clean. Any sloppy code or extra tags will likely cause a problem. For example, copy and pasting HTML from a program like Word can cause format issues and trigger spam filters, we don't recommend it.
- Use A/X testing to help determine how your campaigns can be improved.
- Try testing your mail with mail-tester.com to help you determine what might flag a spam filter.
- Simply avoid "spammy" content. Using words or phrases similar to "click here", "dear recipient", "cash", "make money", "free" can increase the likelihood that your mail ends up being filtered.
- Use links that work and are connected to legitimate sites. Domains should not be blacklisted. All links that are connected to your email campaigns should be reputable.
- Avoid link shorteners. There should not be multiple re-directing links.
- Avoid any attempt at deception. Subject lines that include random characters or start with "Re:" or "Fwd:" or make any deceptive claims will damage your sender reputation and send your mail to the spam folder. Don't use CAPITALS.
- Do not use random 'From' addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org for example. We suggest more commonly used ones like 'email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com'. In addition, your mail will not even get delivered if you're not complying with DMARC. You cannot use common addresses from domains like Gmail, Yahoo, Comcast, AOL, Hotmail and more as your from address.
- Don't send a whole bunch of test emails to a single address. Multiple tests to a single email address may mean that your mail ends up in the spam folder because it looks like you're spamming. Spread your tests out to several addresses at different ISPs.
- Monitor your mail and choose how often and when you send with care. Sending an email to the same addresses every day might be too often, but sending mail only once every three months might not be enough because your recipients can forget about you. Determine a consistent sending schedule that will keep your subscribers engaged.
- Don't send test emails that literally include the word "test" and then are empty otherwise. This is not going to give you any legitimate feedback about how your actual campaigns will perform.
- Include a text version of your mail. You can find out how to do this in your account settings.
- Avoid adding attachments if possible, these can be difficult to get through spam filters.
- Do not use a single, large image in your mail - this looks like spam because it often is. Simple spammy ad mail often utilizes this format - if you don't want to be associated with spam like characteristics, it's time to get a bit more thoughtful and creative when designing your messages.
- If you take these tips into account and make changes to your mail, lists and sender practices then you'll have a much better chance of reaching the inbox.