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Why Are My Emails Going to Spam? 16 Reasons and Solutions 

why are my emails going to spam thinking statue

Your emails might end up in the spam folder if they look suspicious to ISPs. This can happen if you send emails erratically, people don’t really engage with your messages, or you don’t set up your email domain properly. 

It’s frustrating when your emails end up in the spam folder instead of the inbox, isn’t it? Sometimes, even when you have the best intentions, certain issues can make your emails look like spam.

In this exhaustive guide, we’ll explore the 16 reasons why good emails sometimes land in spam. Plus, we’ll share some handy tips to help you stay out of that pesky spam folder. 

1. Your Subscribers Flag You As Spam

It’s disappointing when your carefully crafted email content gets marked as spam. You put in the time and effort to make your content helpful, but your subscribers might find it irrelevant. This is a big reason why emails can end up in the spam folder.

When ISPs notice a high volume of spam complaints against you, they start filtering your emails into spam folders automatically.

Here‘s why your subscribers may report you as spam: 

  • Your content doesn’t resonate. Subscribers want to see what they signed up for. If you promised to send them monthly newsletters on the latest trends in your niche, you shouldn’t send them weekly updates on your upcoming seminars. 
  • They didn’t opt in. If the people receiving your emails didn’t consent to joining your email list, it’s only fair if they report your emails. This happens frequently with purchased lists since recipients have no idea who’s contacting them and why. 
  • They can’t unsubscribe. Your subscribers’ interest can fade over time, or they might not find the emails useful anymore. You need to give them an easy way out. If you don’t include a clearly visible unsubscribe button in your emails, they might mark your messages as spam instead.

2. You Have Low Engagement 

ISPs and inbox services keep an eye on how users interact with the emails they receive. If your emails don’t get opened or clicked on, they might start to consider them unwanted. 

So, they begin to move your emails directly to the spam folder to keep users’ inboxes clean and relevant.

Try these solutions: 

  1. Spruce up your subject lines. Make them more interesting and tempting to open. Think about what your readers might find exciting or useful. 
  2. Revisit your content. Make sure the content inside your emails is engaging and valuable.
  3. Clean up your email list. Remove people who never interact with your emails. A clean list means you’ll only send emails to people who are really interested, which can improve your engagement metrics. 

3. You Hit Spam Traps

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and anti-spam organizations sometimes set up fake or “dummy” email addresses to catch spammers. If you end up sending emails to these addresses, it could look like you bought your email list or scraped addresses from the web without permission.

Here’s how to avoid spam traps

  1. Avoid buying email lists. Focus on growing your email organically. It might take a bit more time, but the people who sign up are genuinely interested in what you have to say. This approach is much better in the long run. 
  2. Clean your list. Regular list cleaning can help remove inactive users, unsubscribed addresses, and duplicate contacts, which reduces the chances of having a spam trap on your list. 
  3. Use an email verification service. These tools help identify typos and fake addresses upon sign-up. This way, you can ensure only valid email addresses enter your list. 

4. You Emails Contain Spam Triggers

You might be asking yourself, “Why are my business emails ending up in spam?” Especially since you keep things professional and only reach out to people who should be interested. What you might not realize is that your emails could be hitting spam triggers.

Major ISPs, like Gmail, have AI-based algorithms that look for red flags most commonly used by spammers. 

These are the triggers that can cause your emails to be marked as spam: 

  1. Words. You may use these spam triggers in any part of your email, including the header, subject line, body, or sign-off. Most spam triggers are meant to create a sense of urgency in the reader and encourage them to take actions that scammers want.
  2. Punctuations. Avoid all-caps words and too many punctuations. For example, a subject line like this is guaranteed to send your email to the spam folder: ACT NOW!!! SATISFACTION GUARANTEED!!!
  3. Shortened URLs. Spammers use URL shorteners to hide spammy links. So, spam filters are highly sensitive to shortened links, especially those created by free shortener tools. 
  4. Open links. When adding links to your website in your emails, use hyperlinks with descriptive anchor texts instead of just pasting the full URL. Naked links can clutter your email and make your email look less professional.

5. You Don’t Follow Good HTML Practices

Using an HTML-coded design instead of text-only emails can make your messages more appealing. But it can also be a double-edged sword that can hurt your deliverability and engagement. 

While using visuals can make your emails more attractive and easier to read, some email clients might block or remove these images. That’s because spammers often hide spammy content inside images to bypass spam filters. 

If you use images, they shouldn’t be too big or too many. Maintain a good balance between text and visuals. Use images strategically to improve readability, but never replace text with images. 

Also, try to: 

  • Keep your design light and minimal.
  • Test the code across all email clients. 
  • Avoid unusual and flashy email fonts

6. Your Emails Aren’t Mobile-friendly

With over 45% of subscribers opening their emails on their mobile devices, creating responsive email content is crucial. 

If your subscribers have difficulty reading your messages on their mobile devices, they will stop interacting with your content, and your engagement will take a hit. The lower the engagement, the higher the chances of getting identified as spam. 

So, ensure your messages remain readable across all devices.   

7. You Don’t Send Emails at the Right Frequency

Sending too many emails in a short span can irritate your subscribers and trigger spam detectors. 

On the flip side, emailing too infrequently can harm your connection with your audience. If they don’t hear from you for a long time, they might forget who you are. Then, when you do get in touch, they might not recognize you and report your email as spam.

That’s why you need to find the right balance. Work with your marketing team to develop a strategy that sets the perfect email frequency.

Also, tailor your email timing and frequency to fit the preferences of different subscriber segments. For example, consider age or location since these can influence how often they want to receive emails and the best times to reach them.

8. Your Email Has Missing Elements

A professional and legitimate email needs to have all the essential parts to avoid looking like spam. 

These are:

  • A clear subject line.
  • A header.
  • A proper greeting.
  • The main body of the email.
  • A closing.

To make your emails look more legitimate, tailor your greeting and content to the recipient, which will also increase your engagement. 

You can also include a signature at the end of your email with your contact information and role. Doing this adds a personal touch and verifies your identity.

9. Your Emails Contain Attachments 

Spammers love attachments since they can use them for phishing, spoofing, and BEC attacks. That’s why spam-detection algorithms quickly pick them up. 

Email attachments aren’t inherently spammy, but using them in the wrong way can raise alarms. Sending out bulk emails with attachments to all your subscribers is a surefire way to get the attention of anti-spam algorithms.

If you’re looking to share something like a free e-book with your email contacts, there’s a smarter approach. Consider using tools that let you share a link to the content or opt for cloud-based sharing. This method is much safer and less likely to be flagged as spam.

Another personalized tactic is to invite your contacts to request the e-book by shooting you an email. Once they do, you can send the attachment directly to them.  

10. You Don’t Have Domain Authentication Protocols

Here’s another answer to the question, “Why are my company emails going to spam?” 

If your domain isn’t authenticated, ISPs may see your emails as coming from an unreliable source. Authentication is crucial for ISPs to weed out spam email senders, phishing attempts, and fraudsters. 

The most common email authentication protocols include:

Authentication Protocol What it does
Sender Policy Framework (SPF)It specifies the IPs that can send messages and emails on your behalf. 
DomainKey Identified Mail (DKIM)It authenticates emails using digital, message-based signatures and cryptography. 
Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)It uses a combination of SPF and DKIM protocols to authenticate emails.
The most common domain authentication protocols 

11. Your Emails Lack Personalization 

People’s inboxes are flooded with emails every day. In most cases, they don’t have time to open every email, read the content, and interact with each message. To win this fierce competition, you need to send them engaging content. And the key here is email personalization

Sending personalized messages ensures your content is as relevant as it can get, which will increase your open rates and engagement. This will help prevent subscribers from sending your messages to the spam folder. 

And the key to personalization is segmentation. Segmentation means dividing your subscribers into groups based on things like their age, interests, or income level.

Your subscribers have different interests, personalities, and concerns. They’ve subscribed to your email list for various purposes, which you need to fulfill. Once you’ve segmented your list, tailor your content to match each group’s preferences. 

12. Your Content Links to Suspicious Websites 

Using links inside the email body is a common way to improve engagement and conversion. But the type of link and the website you link to can make the difference between conversion and ending up in the spam folder. 

ISPs and spam detectors are on the lookout for spammy links because they’re spammers’ favorite tools. They can be handy vehicles to guide victims to phishing websites or malware. So, make sure you only add links to websites you can trust. 

13. You Don’t Use Professional Email Addresses

Whether you use your email campaign to target B2B or B2C clients, it’s important to use a professional email address. 

Don’t use generic or vague email addresses that don’t show where the messages come from. The email address should contain the name of your company or department to show the reader and the ISPs that it comes from a reliable source. 

Instead of something nondescript like “john@yahoo.com,” opt for a more professional and identifiable email address like “john@yourcompany.com.” This small change can make a big difference in how your emails are perceived and handled.

Using your brand logo in the header is an essential email branding pratice. It helps readers recognize your emails in their inboxes, which improves your open rates. 

14. Your Sender Reputation is Poor 

Sender reputation is a big deal in email marketing. It signals to ISPs whether your emails are coming from a trusted sender or a spammer.

Even if you have highly relevant content, a poor sender reputation can affect the deliverability of your emails and impact your email marketing efforts. 

This creates a kind of vicious cycle that can send your emails straight to the spam folder. If you send out low-quality content, it can lead to spam complaints, which then harm your sender reputation. A poor sender reputation makes it more likely for your emails to end up in spam.

Here’s what can affect sender reputation:

  • Spam complaints
  • High unsubscribe rates
  • Low engagement
  • High bounce rates

We’ve already talked about the first three factors. Next, we’ll cover email bounces and how they influence your sender reputation.

15. Your Bounce Rate Is Too High 

When your emails don’t make it to someone’s inbox, they bounce. Sometimes the reason is permanent, like when you’re trying to reach an email address that’s fake or no longer active—this is what we call a hard bounce.

Then there are soft bounces, which happen for less serious reasons, like temporary connectivity issues or a full inbox.

The way to deal with hard bounces is to regularly clean your email list, removing those bad addresses. Soft bounces usually fix themselves once the temporary problem is resolved.

16. You Don’t Ask Your Recipients To Whitelist You

If you’re certain that your subscribers enjoy your content and have built trust with them, why not use this trust to your advantage? 

Asking your subscribers to whitelist your email address is a smart move. Whitelisting an email sender involves putting their address in the recipient’s contact list. This way, the ISP will realize that the sender has a healthy relationship with the recipient and doesn’t see them as spammy. 

Whitelisting also improves open rates because it ensures your emails end up in the recipient’s inbox. 

The best way to achieve whitelisting quickly and easily is to ask your recipients to add you to their contacts. You could make this request in your welcome email or send them a video. 

Depending on their email client, they may need to go through different steps to whitelist you. So, it’s best to include a tutorial video, picture, or gif to help them. 

Master the Art of Email Deliverability with Campaign Refinery 

Getting your emails to hit the primary inbox blends expertise with a bit of science. We’re excited to share a guide packed with knowledge gained from collaborating with top email marketers and copywriters across the globe.

The Inbox Formula will show you how to:

  • Keep your email list lean and effective.
  • Boost your sender reputation.
  • Smartly avoid spam filters.
  • Engage your readers like never before.

Grab your copy of the Inbox Formula today, and see your email results soar like never before.

And once you’re ready to take your deliverability rate close to 100 percent, look no further than Campaign Refinery. 

With our cutting-edge platform, the worry of emails landing in the spam folder becomes a thing of the past. 

What makes us stand out is our dedication to partnering exclusively with reputable senders and our foundation in strong deliverability principles.

Why choose us? Here’s the breakdown:

  • Automatic list cleaning: Our system automatically spots and removes problematic addresses. These include spam traps, role-based addresses, and invalid emails. 
  • Domain Authentication: Right from the start, we help you set up domain authentication, which is crucial for establishing your credibility.
  • Engagement gamification: We make interacting with your emails fun for your users. Our engagement gamification system rewards your subscribers for opening emails, clicking links, and more, boosting overall engagement.
  • User-friendly email editor: Crafting compelling emails is a breeze with our user-friendly email editor. You can create appealing emails that resonate with your audience without getting bogged down by complex HTML coding.

Apply to join Campaign Refinery today, and say goodbye to the spam folder. 

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