While sending automatic emails to your audience is an effective way to keep them engaged and informed, the risk of them getting marked as spam and failing to reach their inbox presents a major challenge.

Spam filters are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are quick to mark emails as spam if they think they’re unsolicited or irrelevant. To avoid having your emails end up in your audience’s spam folder, it’s important to take some preventative measures.

In this article, we’ve compiled some helpful tips and best practices that you can use to ensure that your automatic emails make it to your audience’s inbox and avoid being filtered as spam.

By following these tips, you can improve your email deliverability and keep your audience engaged and informed.

1. Maintain a good text to image ratio

This one’s an essential rule for emailing, yet we may easily overlook it. Image-only emails are, indeed, much more likely to be considered as spam. Moreover, some email providers block the automatic download of images by default. Therefore, to ensure email deliverability, try not to put your core message in an image – use a text format instead. However, this does not, of course, mean that you can’t provide images for illustrative purposes.

2. Work on your subject line

When writing your subject line for an email message, steer clear of anything that might be interpreted as spam. Three important examples:

  • Be spare with exclamation marks; these are red flags for spam filters (counter-example: Discover it today!!!!)
  • Limit your use of capital letters (counter-example: DISCOVER OUR SPECIAL OFFERS!)
  • Avoid common spam trigger words such as 100% free, cash, make money, this isn’t a scam, etc.

3. Avoid being marked as spam by recipients

The more people who direct your emails to the junk folder, the more likely your email address will be to automatically be considered as spam by the email provider. What to do to avoid being flagged?

  • Always explain why you’re sending the email. If recipients don’t get why they get your email in the first place, they will be more likely to report it. As part of a Qualifio campaign, you could for instance specify: “You participated in our July campaign, here’s your reward” rather than just saying “here’s your prize.”
  • Point out that the email isn’t sent because the recipient’s on your mailing list. It is thus not properly a marketing email, but really a transactional email (a follow-up of their participation in your competition). This will help prevent the recipient from marking your email as spam.

4. Choose your sender’s name wisely

Your email address should alway contain your domain’s name (e.g. [email protected]). Free email addresses are more likely to be considered as spam when they generate automatic emails. You can then opt for a consistent sender’s name. For example, if your reply-to address is [email protected], you could use a sender’s name like “Paul from My Company”. Email domains that do not have security protocols enabled are also likely to end up in spam. It’s a good idea to check your SPF record and fix any errors you may have.

5. Customize the recipient field

When you send an email to someone, you should use their name if you already have it in your database (for instance, if they’ve already filled a form on your website) rather than just their email address. If you know the recipient’s name, you are less likely to end up in their junk folder. (Besides, this type of variable is easy to configure if you are using an emailing platform such as Mailchimp or if you send your email directly from Qualifio Manager.)

6. Use spam-checkers

One last thing: test your email before sending. You can do this using free tools like Mail tester or isNotSpam, with which you can check whether your emailing will land in the spam folder. It’s very simple: you send your email to an address provided by the tool, then you’re done and you can check your “score” (so a sort of “percentage chance” to go into the spam folder).

If the damage is done…How do I stop my emails from being labeled as spam?

If it turns out that your emails already end up in other people’s spam folders (e.g. if you’ve been labeled as spam too many times in the past), there are a couple of options you can consider. Here are steps to take when your emails are marked as spam:

  • Send a simple, personal email to your list. No promotional link, but an invitation to add you to their contact list. This kind of email should not be considered as spam. Once you’re part of your recipient’s contact list, you can go back to sending marketing or promotional emails without going to their spam folder.
  • Clean up your list if you want to improve deliverability. When you have a lot of wrong addresses in your email distribution list (or a lot of recipients who never open your emails), you are also more likely to end up in a junk email folder. So if you want your emails to be delivered directly to your recipient’s inbox, clean your email list!