Why is Your Email Sent to Spam?

Jul 31 2017

So you’ve put together your email campaign, and sent it out. Now all you have to do is wait to see those click through rates to soar, those leads to filter in and your sales to sky rocket. But somethings wrong. You aren’t getting any clicks, opens and very few sales. What’s the problem? Chance are you’re content is seen as email spam. New email marketers can find themselves in this situation all too often. But why?

1. Your IP Isn’t Warmed

If you’ve recently changed IP addresses, you can’t just dive right into your normal email marketing campaign. You have to ease into it. This process is called warming up your IP. If you haven’t gone through the process of warming up your IP, your IP looks suspicious to email service providers (ESP), causing them to send you straight to spam.

2. Low Open Rates

If your campaign is not being opened, ESPs assume the content isn’t valuable to their users. Getting the user to engage is one of the most difficult parts of email marketing. You have to make sure that your email title makes the user want to open it. That means making the title stick out without using spam words or spam tactics. That means avoiding all caps, tons of punctuation and words frequently related to spam traps.

It’s also important to make those titles feel personal and interesting. Try starting your title with the user’s name, and have the rest of the title be very relevant to them. A clever title is also a great way to get the user to open your message. Whichever tactic you use, make sure the user has opted into your email list and is expecting to hear from you.

3. Deceptive “From” Address

It’s tempting to make your email address something witty or cute, but that could hurt you much more than it helps you. Be clear with your “from” address. Try making your address relevant to what the user opted into. For example, if the user signed up for your newsletter, have the email come from newsletter@domain.com. A simple info@domain.com is also a safe bet when it comes to email addresses. Making sure the user knows exactly where this email is coming from, removes some of the hesitations to open the email.

4. Sending Mail to Inactive Accounts

If you aren’t paying careful attention to your email list, you could be sending emails out to inactive accounts. ESPs pay attention to all of the addresses you send to. By regularly sending emails out to inactive accounts, you tell the ESPs that you are a reckless sender. These inactive accounts will eventually send back hard bounces, which make them dangerous to your sender score. When the ESPs see that you don’t check your list before sending out mail, they view your domain as dangerous and therefore reroute your email to go directly to spam.

5. Including Large Attachments

Emails that regularly include large attachments are seen as suspicious. Since spammers regularly use attachments to infect a user’s computers, avoiding attachments is a best practice. Instead, consider including links to downloadable content. This will not only increase your click-through rates and your page views, it will also make the user feel safer. Including large attachments can scare the user into unsubscribing from your email list or, worse, send you straight to spam.

6. Making it Difficult to Unsubscribe

Unsubscribing from your email list should be easy. Make sure that your unsubscribe button is obvious and not hidden. This way, anyone who wants to unsubscribe can do so without issue. It’s tempting to hide your unsubscribe button so you retain users, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Hiding your unsubscribe button requires users to hunt for it. No one wants to hunt down an unsubscribe link, so chances are they’ll take the easy route and mark your emails as spam. As we’ve discussed, this is bad news for your sender score, increasing the possibility that ESPs will automatically reroute your mail to spam across their entire user base.

7. You’ve Been Blacklisted

A combination of any of the dangerous behavior described above can lead to your domain being blacklisted. When an ESP blacklists your domain, it can cause an avalanche of effects across other ESPs. If your domain is blacklisted, none of your emails will be delivered to users on the ESP that has blacklisted you. This is detrimental to your sender score and could result in even more ESPs blacklisting you.

Once you’ve been blacklisted, you have to apply to the ESP to be removed from the blacklist. Considering each ESP has their own process for removing domains from their blacklist, this process can be tedious and time-consuming. The best way to avoid this is by using email verification, like XVerify, and use email best practices for clean, well-informed emails.

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