12 Reasons Why Your Emails Go in the Spam Box (and How to Make Sure They Don’t)

12 Reasons Why Your Emails Go in the Spam Box (and How to Make Sure They Don’t)

Are you struggling with low open rates for your email campaigns? It could be that your subscribers never even get the chance to open them. Why?

Because your emails are winding up in spam folders.

So today, in this guide, we’ll share 12 reasons why your emails go to spam, and how to make sure they don’t. Then, we’ll give you 6 concrete tips to make sure you can avoid your emails winding up in the spam folder.

Finally, at the end of this post, we’ll provide you with a few spam checkers that you can use to test your email campaigns.

Want to jump ahead? Use this table of contents to navigate which section most interests you

But frankly, we recommend you take in the entire article. Because by the end of this post, you’ll not only know why your emails go to spam, but you’ll also know exactly how to get back to your subscribers’ inbox.

Let’s dive in.

If you prefer written instructions, then please continue reading.

Why Emails Go to Spam Instead of Inbox

Globally, email has an inbox placement rate of about 83%, which is OK. That means roughly 1 in 6 emails get sent to spam or blocked for your subscribers’ inbox altogether.

And you may think 83% is pretty good. But here’s a question:

Would you be OK with only achieving 83% of your earning potential? If you knew that you could make huge income in this year, would you be OK with bringing it.

Because when we talk about your emails going to spam, we’re really talking about something else:

You’re losing out on profits you could have earned had your emails gone to your customers’ inbox.

So you really need to pay attention to why emails go to spam in the first place. Otherwise, you’re leaving revenue needlessly on the table.

One of the big reasons that your emails go to spam is that spam filtering has become more rigorous over the last few years.

Email service providers like Google and Yahoo are cracking down on spam to better serve their customers. The problem is that the filtering process isn’t 100% perfect. Which means that sometimes legit emails go to spam, too.

But there’s another side to this story that you need to be aware of:

Subscriber engagement plays a huge role in email deliverability. Your email service providers look at your engagement levels and recipient behavior when deciding which emails make it to the inbox, and which go to spam.

We’ll explain all of these factors in detail so you can avoid getting flagged and stop your emails from going to spam.

First, let’s start with all the reasons why emails go to spam in the first place. Then, we’ll dive headfirst into some actionable solutions to get your emails back in your subscribers’ inbox where they belong.

12 Reasons Why Emails Go to Spam

Many things go into whether or not your emails get delivered to the inbox. Let’s dive into the 12 reasons why your emails aren’t getting past the spam filters.

1. You Aren’t Targeting the Right Audience 

Remember how earlier we mentioned that subscriber engagement plays a role in email deliverability?

When your emails are inaccurately marked as spam, it could be because you have low engagement rates. One of the tell-tale causes of low engagement rates is having the wrong audience on your email list in the first place.

Now, we know that every marketer is trying to grow their email list to be as large as possible. And considering the importance of email marketing, they should be trying to improve their email list as much as they can.

But rather than simply getting more subscribers, marketers need to focus on getting the right kind of subscribers. How can they do that?

Washahost allows you to create optin campaigns that target exactly the audience you’re looking for. Because we offer so many different targeting options, you don’t need to blindly cast out a net to get leads.

Instead, you can set up various display settings and triggers to make sure you’re only adding people who fit your buyer persona.

As a result, your engagement rates will rise, and your emails will be sorted to the right place.

2. You Don’t Have Permission to Email Subscribers

The #1 rule of email marketing is to get permission to email first. Never buy a list of email addresses, or you risk violating the CAN-SPAM Act and may be subject to penalties of up to $16,000. Oh, and that’s $16,000 per email:

CAN-SPAM Act fines

That means if you’ve been sending an automated email series to people who haven’t given you permission, you’re looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

To get permission, you’ll need an optin form on your site that makes it perfectly clear that your visitors are subscribing to your email list.

Here’s an example of OptinMonster’s sidebar optin form:

OptinMonster sidebar form

When a user fills out this optin form, it’s crystal clear that they’ll be joining OptinMonster’s email list.

Another way that marketers harm their email campaigns is by manually adding emails that they get from business cards collected at a conference or from social media.

Let’s be clear on this: Don’t do that.

While you may think that they would appreciate your newsletter, sending emails to them violates the CAN-SPAM Act because they did not give you permission.

Instead, you should send those leads personalized emails rather than templated newsletters. Follow up with a separate drip campaign, personal email, or autoresponder series designed just for those leads and give them a chance to optin to your newsletter.

3. Your IP Address Is or Has Been Used for Spam

Even if you never send spam yourself, your emails could get flagged if your IP address was used for spam in the past.

If you send your campaigns through an email marketing service, your email is delivered through their servers. So if even one other customer sends spam, it could affect your deliverability as well.

Note, however, that every email marketing service we recommend is vigilant about keeping their reputation intact. They have strict procedures and regulations in place to prevent this type of thing.

In general, you should be fine if you stick to a reputable email service provider. And while we can’t verify every email service provider in this post, we recommend Constant Contact, Drip, and Sendinblue.

We know for a fact that these 3 providers take email deliverability seriously. Thus, they don’t let spam get connect to their server’s IP address.

4. You Have Low Engagement Rates

We already discussed the importance of getting high engagement rates.

Top webmail providers have stated that they look at how many emails are opened and how many are deleted as a factor in spam filtering decisions.

So if you have low open rates or read rates, your emails are at higher risk of being flagged as spam. You need to do everything you can to increase engagement.

Other than targeting the right audience form the start, you can send your emails at the right time, perfect your subject lines, segment your list, and keep your list fresh by scrubbing it regularly.

5. Your Subscribers Don’t Remember You

The second most common reason that emails never reach the inbox is spam complaints.

Every time a subscriber reports an email as spam, the complaint gets recorded by the mailbox provider regardless of whether or not the email was spam.

Once the complaints exceed a certain threshold, all future campaigns skip the inbox and get sent directly to the spam folder.

So why would a subscriber flag your email as spam if it isn’t spam?

Well, the most likely reason is that they simply don’t remember you. Even though they gave you permission to email them, they don’t remember doing it, so they think you are sending them spam.

To prevent this from happening, make sure that the branding in your emails is memorable, and matches the branding on your website. This includes any images, colors, typography, voice, etc. Also, make sure the “from” line is from a name they will recognize.

It also helps to personalize your email copy to the person you’re sending it to. Here’s an example from an OptinMonster email that includes:

  • Our company’s name where the recipient can see who the sender is
  • Consistent branding with our website
  • Personalized introduction by first name

Even if a subscriber forgot they signed up with washahost.com, we use these small cues to remind them that we’ve started the relationship.

To make sure they don’t report your as spam, you’ll want to provide an easily accessible Unsubscribe link. That way they’ll simply opt-out of your list instead of reporting you as spam:

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