If you send enough email campaigns, you’re likely to run into spam filter issues.
According to ReturnPath’s website blog, around 21% of permission-based emails are being sent by legitimate marketers end up in a spam folder.
Spam filters work with firewalls and ISPs to reduce inbox irrelevance. Therefore, internet users must understand spam definition, how spam filters work with firewalls, and some steps to avoid flagging spammers.
What is spam?
Spam is typically defined as unsolicited email. However, the definition of ‘unsolicited’ is pretty broad and can vary, depending on the context in which it is being used. Most people in the corporate world are likely to be familiar with spam filtering software. This software works by looking for keywords or other markers within an email that identifies it as likely spam.
For example, if you have a domain name like today-hotladies.net, then chances are your emails will end up in someone’s junk folder very quickly. In this case, while technically your email address may be correct and you didn’t send out any solicitation yourself, the recipients probably feel that there’s no need to keep you connected with their inboxes because they’re well aware that you were perhaps trying to sell them something.
Spam filters are email filtering programs that receive and evaluate emails. This process is typically automatic, removing most spam messages and leaving only the relevant email messages. There are many filter rules in place to review the email before delivery. These include blocklists of known spam senders, allowlists of the known good email sender, Bayesian filters, DNS-based blocklists, and IP address checks.
Email servers use spam filters, including end-users computers and email software such as Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird. Spam filtering is an effective method of preventing Internet users from receiving unwanted emails. There are many types and levels of spam filters in use today, each with its requirements and impact on network performance. Email administrators can choose to implement various methods:
- Combine several spam filters into a stack that provides strong protection against more sophisticated spam attacks.
- Modify an existing third-party filter to suit your needs or extend one with new features.
- Write your code for a custom solution.
An email server typically has two different roles during the delivery of messages: one is as a c salient program that sends using the SMTP protocol to servers on the internet, and another is as a server p for a program that accepts incoming messages via HTTP, IMAP or POP3 and delivers them as required. products available
How to avoid spam filter?
There are many different ways to avoid spam filters. Some of them require you to take more time and effort than others. One way to avoid spam filters is to register your email address with a site that will keep it marked spam. Other ways include:
- Using an identity that is not easily guessed.
- Using different words in the subject line and the email body.
- Making sure the message itself has something of value in it.
Some people may find this difficult, but you can’t just send out emails without any content in them because spammers have been doing this for years. Spam filters know what not to look for through experience, and they can tell when there’s no actual content or offer in the email. One quick fix is to include a short message in the body of the email.
Spam filters look for specific words, not grammar or intent, and adding one word can make all the difference. You might also consider putting a link in your email that identifies you as an affiliate of the product you’re promoting. This is essentially permitting your email address to be marked as spam by telling people what it is.
You should avoid using certain subject lines because a spam filter may identify those words as standard spam terms. For instance, if your title has anything about making money online or getting rich quickly, a computer will pick up on this and either delete it or send it into another folder other than your inbox where you can easily see it. Spam filters can now even identify certain words within the email that could be considered spam.
For instance, if you put things like “get rich quick” or “free money” in the body of your email and use a standard automated signature such as “check out my other products at no cost,” it will not only get flagged but also deleted immediately.
The way around this is always to try to look for something beneficial in every email you send out. This makes it easier for people to read through your emails because there’s the value placed on them, and they’re more likely to stay open, increasing the chance that people won’t delete your email right away.
Spammers often change their addresses so that spammers can’t figure out where their emails are coming from and the email is delivered. This makes it harder for you to provide your email to others, though. An easy way to avoid spam filters has been explained in this article by avoiding specific keywords or using a free email address that’s hard to figure out on your own, but there is no guaranteed way of knowing when you will get through at all.
How do I make sure my emails don’t go to spam?
You can make sure your emails don’t go to spam by checking your email account’s Spam folder to see which messages have been marked as spam. If you don’t have a pop-up notification that an email has been associated with the spam folder, check around the following time intervals:
- 12 hours after each message is sent
- 24 hours after each message is sent
- One week after each message is sent
- Two weeks after each message is sent.
You can also use Bounce Management and allow listing tools to prevent false positives in Gmail. For more information about how these features work, please take a look at our article on Bounce Management and Allowlisting Tools for Gmail users here.)
For another easy solution to avoid spam, keep your email address off the internet. If your email is unlisted on Google, it’s less likely to be found by spammers and subsequently marked as spam.
How do I know if my emails are going to spam?
To find out if your email will go to spam, you can research the subject beforehand. For example, you can contact your customer’s service department to find out their spam policy and what they are looking for in an email. This is especially important if you send to customers who haven’t purchased from you in the past or if their domain name does not contain relevant keywords.
If they do not provide useful info, then you should test your campaign before launching it on a large scale. For example, you can use email services to specify what kind of customer email addresses go through and which ones get redirected to spam folders.
This way, you will see how your emails will look in different spam filters and find out how high of a risk level they have for meeting that criteria. At the same time, those services also let you check if your email address has been added to denylists. If this happens, there might be nothing you can do about it.
There are ways to reduce the risk of your email being spammed. First, make sure that you use a reputable email marketing service or email provider and do not rely on free accounts. You might end up having your domain banned from all hosted servers for spamming. That will be bad news for your business if it happens.
Second, pay attention to the subject line of your emails. It should contain relevant keywords that will catch the interest of people who will open it but avoid spam filters since they are very strict regarding this type of content. If you have other ideas on what makes an email suspicious, feel free to share them with us below!
What triggers spam filters?
A spam filter can be triggered by words or phrases that often indicate spamming activity. Spam filters are a technique used to reduce unwanted messages, usually considered junk email or junk newsgroup posts. Messages identified as potential spam are sent to a user’s Junk mail folder (aka Spam Folder).
In the context of web-based computer applications, such as email and blogging software, content is likely considered “spam” if it’s unsolicited and either advertises for money-making schemes like get-rich-quick schemes, phishing scams for banking details, or credit card numbers, includes links to pirated software, contains sexually explicit material and is presented with no apparent intention of communicating anything relevant or constructive.
Here are some of the common email marketing mistakes that can trigger spam filters:
No clear >from< address.
It’s common for an email marketer to include only an email address in the >from< field while sending out emails to his list. While technically, this is still compliant with most email marketing laws (as long as it’s your domain), it does not assure delivery because of how email servers work.
So here’s a tip: always add a proper name, company/website/etc., at least on the signature line, so recipients know who you are and can take action on you if need be.
If the email gets delivered successfully, your campaign is considered successful? Not really, as sending to valid email addresses in your list doesn’t matter until it’s opened by recipients and read/clicked on by them. Also, not every recipient checks their inbox regularly – that’s why they have more than one email account (work, alternate, etc.).
Spammers know this, so they will create an email address just for you. They will deliver their message, but it won’t go anywhere because the data is invalid or non-existent in any database since it was just explicitly created for spamming purposes.
You can avoid this by checking each email address in your list against online freely available email databases. More often than not, you’ll find that the email is fake or invalid. Of course, there will be times when the email address may have been created in error, so always give your email subscribers an option to update/correct their information!
Sending unsolicited emails
An opt-in-only list has opted-in to receive emails from you as a marketer by providing either an explicit ‘opt-in’ or implicitly consenting (e.g., they clicked on a link in your website). Anyone who provides this express consent should be added to your email marketing lists and those who didn’t should not. This means acquiring new subscribers’ email addresses using any method aside from the opt-in process is against several email marketing laws such as CAN-SPAM in the United States, CASL in Canada, etc.
Overlooking your disclaimer
An email’s disclaimer can be considered part of an email’s content and is seen as valuable real estate by both ISPs and spam filters, so it better makes sense to your recipients, or else they will look at it as spam no matter what you say about your company or products on the rest of the message.
If there are any questions regarding what should be included in this line, use this one from constant contact.
Note: SPAM filtering systems may identify parts of some disclaimers (such as legal language) as “keywords” that often indicate unsolicited bulk email, so it’s a good idea to test your release using email-filtering software.
Autoresponder is an excellent way for you to let people know that they’ve been added to your list and, at the same time, give them an option to opt-out if they no longer want to receive emails from you. Still, there are some instances where auto-responders may trigger spam filters or, even worse, get your IP address blocked by ISPs.
Not clearly stating what action recipients should take in return
Recipients should know what to do when they see your email. For instance, they need to see if they have to click on a link or fill out a form, etc., so make sure you clearly define this in your message and the URL to take action (e.g., subscribe/unsubscribe).
Missing physical address
Your website may not be the only place that offers visitors information about your company. A good example would be your physical store. People who visit your brick-and-mortar store are likely familiar with you or at least people of the same interest as yours, so you might want them to join your mailing list.
Then, just like asking for their email addresses during registration, do it again when they’re about to leave. You can also send your email to the people who registered at your store as an incentive for them to come back and may also be interested in some of your products.
Using generic or uninformative subject lines
Be creative with subject lines so you’ll stand out from others that will surely use the same subject line (e.g., “Cheap Sale! Up to 50% Off!”). Also, make sure you include only one call-to-action per message as multiple actions given in a single email are just asking for spam filters to classify you as someone who’s trying hard to evade their detection system(s). Lastly, be smart when using certain words – ISPs will flag or block emails with phrases that are commonly used by spammers, such as “lose,” “weight,” and “diet.”
Sending Email Messages That Don’t Comply with The CAN-SPAM Act
See this report from USPS about how to avoid sending email spam, so you’ll know what you can do (or not do) when building a newsletter. For example, one of the requirements is:
Request Permission: You have to request permission before sending an email marketing message to someone who did not make expressly opt-in to receive email communications from your company. This includes an opportunity for a recipient to opt-out if they don’t wish to receive future emails from you.
So make sure your landing page where people will be opting into your email newsletter is a landing page and not just the “thank you” page. And also, don’t require them to opt-out at this stage because as of January 1, 2014, you are no longer allowed to use pre-checked boxes for unsubscribing from an email list.
Getting spam filters to work for you
Suppose you’ve learned a lot from the above anti-spam measures. In that case, there’s something you should know – spam filters aren’t meant to make it harder for spammers but rather protect legitimate users, so if ever someone is calling you as a spammer by using those filtering systems, then know that they’re probably false-flagging your campaign(s) or maybe even sending their spam.
Be sure to follow up with your subscribers
The best way to avoid being flagged as a spammer by ISPs is to make sure you follow up with your subscribers, and that means not just sending them an email now and then. Instead, you need to engage in a conversation with your target audience, let them know what’s happening on your end so they’ll learn more about you, why they should stick around, etc.
Then, put yourself in their shoes – if someone sends you information about something of interest without even bothering to ask how things are or offer any help, then chances are you won’t be staying put for long. And while we’re at it, opt-in forms are no longer allowed under the CAN-SPAM Act (as of January 1, 2014), so to avoid any problems with your email campaigns, then you might want to consider using a double opt-in system.
Now that you understand how spam filters work, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to ensure your message doesn’t get caught in one. Implementing a few best practices will go a long way in keeping your email out of the spam folder and into your customer’s inbox. Feel free to share this article with your colleagues and friends who might find it useful. And as always, if you have any questions or need help getting started, don’t hesitate to reach out!