Best Practices to Keep Your Emails Out of The Spam Folder

Posted by Deepika Rashi on 20 November 2019 in Marketing

“Look before you leap” is a very famous idiom that goes well here. Yes, before you send bulk commercial emails you need to carefully look through the email content and try to assess how likely will it go to the spam folder.

Many stat reports say that every one out of five mails goes to the spam folder. By the way, no marketer would compose emails to fill the spam. And also it is a saddening fact that not all of those emails deserve getting into spam.

Moreover, email marketing demands much more than an eye-catchy email. But in the demand for drafting a tempting, irresistible email, you fail to notice the “spam black hole” right next to you.

Also, different Internet and Email Service Providers (ISPs and ESPs) use different strategies adding more stringency to the process day by day. Hence it is quite a challenging task to escape from the so-called “spam black hole”.

Now let us discuss what experts do regarding the following questions.

Why emails go to spam?

How to compose and send spam-free emails?

What else can be done to prevent email from going to spam folders?

Are email spam filters really necessary?

Once email communication gained popularity marketing found its way through it. But at the same time deceitful junk messages, malware, and cyber offenses also sprung up.

Plus certain benign uncalled for marketing and commercial messages started becoming a nuisance and there came the necessity to spam filter all of those. So ‘Email service providers’(ESP) and ‘Internet service providers’(ISP) created filters that can divert such emails into the spam folder.

Why are my emails going to spam folder?

Here are the main reasons why emails get flagged as spam.

  • Lack of permission
  • Spam words
  • Misleading content
  • Blackmark on IP address
  • The email address was reported
  • The email address or content not recognizable
  • Containing heavy media files or inbuilt scripts
  • Low engagement rates
  • No option to unsubscribe
  • Lack of using best practices or policy violations

Quick checklist to avoid emails going to the spam folder

Before starting your email marketing campaign

  • Get legit permission for sending emails
  • Check the mailing list
  • Choose a reliable ISP and ESP – Internet and Email Service Providers
  • Check whether your IP address or email address has been blacklisted

Email content Do’s and Don’ts

  • Try being clear about the brand and purpose of your message
  • Review your email content against misleading subject lines, from address, spam words and too many links.
  • Do not forget to include email unsubscription option
  • Provide a physical address to contact you
  • Avoid using deceptive or invalid “from address”
  • Avoid using deceitful subject lines
  • Avoid too many links, media content, embedded forms, high-resolution images, and scripts especially the ones that take more time or is not supported to load
  • Refer existing spam-free email templates

Best practices once you are ready to set up the email campaign - Do’s and Don’ts

  • Use spam checker tools
  • Test your emails before setting them out
  • Clean up email lists regularly
  • Do not change your email address often
  • Try getting email engagements and response using a legit way
  • Be aware of the updated laws related to email marketing
  • Do not buy email addresses
  • Can get a third party certificate
  • Avoid miscellaneous factors that can predispose your emails getting reported or marked as spam

Before starting your email marketing campaign

Get legit permission for sending emails. Because sending emails without the receiver’s consent is to be considered unlawful as per certain regulations. Plus it is always recommended to get a secondary confirmation for an email subscription.

Always check the email list confirming whether all the recipients have consented or shown interest in receiving the email. By the way, you should avoid including people who have opted out, unresponsive and dormant accounts. This is mainly due to the fact that all these recipients are going to cause a relative reduction in your engagement rate plus they can very well flag your emails as spam.

Choose a reliable Email Service Providers as we are going to rely upon third-party services for email marketing and such services should not create a black mark.Check whether your IP address or email address has been blacklisted already and if so try using an alternative one. For this, you can use tools like Multirbl.Valli or MxToolbox . And the checking is very simple where you just have to enter your IP address in the tool’s “search” box and click “check” to know if you are blacklisted.

Email content Do’s and Don’ts

Help your customers recognize you by being clear about the brand and purpose of your message. In many cases, customers would have subscribed for your emails but they would not be able to recognize your brand as the subject and from address is unclear. So, always make sure that the from address, subject line and the purpose of the email is clear. Otherwise, you might get ignored or reported accidentally.

Review your email content against misleading subject lines, from address, spam words and too many links as there could be some mistakes and spam content. Further manual reviewing is very important and qualitatively reliable as there could be some contents that could even evade spam tools.

Do not forget to include email unsubscription option as this is a good practice and has become a mandate as privacy laws like GDPR demands “rights to revoke consent”.

Provide a physical address to contact you is a mandate according to GDPR guidelines and avoidance is a black mark in the eyes of ESPs filters.

Spam-free email example

In the below example, there is a legit ‘from address’ and a clearcut message stating that it is an abandoned cart recovery email. Plus there are no too many or unnecessary links. Further, there is a link to their privacy statement with an option to unsubscribe. And most importantly there is a physical contact address.

Spam-free email example

Clarity regarding the purpose of your email is the basis for establishing a flag against the spam mark you are trying to avoid.

Using deceptive contents generally creates mistrust and are sometimes even considered to be unlawful in the worst case. While using invalid content like “from address”, subject lines are highly prone to increase the bounce rate.

Here too many links, media content, embedded forms, high-resolution images, and scripts that do not load properly are considered to be spam by many ESPs. Further, irregular fonts and font colors, too much text and certain words and phrases might also be spam filtered by some ESPs. So, the whole idea to avoid getting spam filtered can be achieved easily by avoiding such content.

Spam email example

In the below example the “from address” appears like it is from the UK President office and it is illegal to do so. Plus the subject line claims that it is an URGENT email but actually it is not.

Also, there are too many links with no option to opt-out from receiving such emails in the future. Moreover, there is no physical contact address or even a Postal Office box number.

Spam email example

Best practices once you are ready to set up the email campaign - Do’s and Don’ts

Spam checker tools

It is not always possible to manually check against spam content. While you can missout, be unaware or unintentionally add spam contents. So here are some tools that can help you in the process of composing a spam-free commercial email.

Email checking toolsAvailabilityLitmusPaidIsNotSpamFreeMail-TesterFree

These tools give you a spamminess score. The score is obtained by checking your emails against spam contents, IP blacklists, DKIM, deceitfulness, problems with the Sender Policy Framework and so on.

This will help you assess the likeliness of your mail going to the spam. Further manual assessment against spam content is recommended.

Test your emails before setting them out for a campaign as this helps you understand from a receiver’s end. Moreover, it gives you ample scopes to test, try and rectify your flaws.

Try increasing your engagement

Webmail providers keep a count on the engagements you get through emails. Here engagement refers to the direct response for your emails like click-through rates, opening the links provided, and so on. And with higher engagement rates you can escape from getting into spam.

Engagement is very important at the same time difficult to achieve. Further, they ascertain and add value to your email.

How to get your emails whitelisted?

Getting whitelisted by your own subscribers is a strong shield against spam filters. At the same time, this requires a personalized approach where you make your subscribers take a step forward for you by opening your mail, links, and posts.

You can remind your subscribers to add your email address to their email contact list, organize all your emails in a single folder and Gmail users to drag your emails to their primary inbox.

Stay informed and updated about the laws


This act demands a standard to be met for every commercial marketing email. It also provides recipients with certain rights enabling them to legally sue the sender in case of a policy violation. CAN-SPAM act aims at setting up norms for email marketing by enforcing the following ethical practices.

  • Do not use misleading headers, from address
  • Do not use false subjects
  • Identify messages as advertisements
  • Provide options to opt-out
  • Address opt-out request
  • A physical postal address has to be provided in the email
  • Contract responsibility in case of outsourcing email marketing

GDPR regulation

This is a regulation formulated for the privacy protection of EU individuals by the EU law body. This law imposes a penalty on any policy violation and it applies to EU nations by default. GDPR also covers ethics related to email marketing and remarketing. It covers certain important aspects like the following in order to ensure us to send GDPR compliant emails .

  • Data subject legitimate interest
  • Explicit consent / Opt-in
  • Unsubscribe / Opt-out
  • Right to object

Buying email IDs

Buying email Ids are tricky and is certainly not recommended to do. This is mainly because emails that are bought do not come under legitimate interest nor it is legal.

Plus there is a higher probability to get reported and spam marked. Further, those email Ids could be abandoned ones, as a result, there would not be effective engagements. So this most likely adds no value for your purchase.


Spam traps are bothersome and every commercial email marketing solution wants to evade the same. But how it can be achieved is becoming tougher and tougher as the spam filters are getting more and more stringent. And this will keep on getting tougher with every newer update in the ESPs and ISPs.

From your side, you have to imbibe and use legit ways that can keep your emails consistently out of the spam trap. At the same time keep yourself updated regarding improving email deliverability and keeping an eye on any technical issue that would hinder the same.

So, here are the key points you should remember before every mass email sending event.

  1. Let the receiver decide whether to subscribe to the emails or not.
  2. Avoid any content that would trigger your emails into spam.
  3. Eliminate any accidental spam content by using spam checking tools.

Do not just stop with escaping from the “spam black hole” also learn and stay updated on what experts do. Further, you need to be aware of the laws and best practices for email marketing that are widely accepted.

Share your spam encounter experiences and the most common caveats faced during email marketing. Also, share your success stories as we are in the email marketing community are eagerly waiting to learn new hacks.

Author Bio

Deepika Rashi is a Content Writer and eCommerce growth specialist who focuses on articles related to eCommerce growth, customer retention, abandoned cart recovery and more. Apart from writing, Deepika loves to read, listen to music, cook and explore.