Why Are My Emails Going to Spam? Improving Email Deliverability

If you’re having issues with your newsletter and transactional emails going to the recipient’s spam box?  Don’t worry, you’re not all alone. At some point, we also encountered this issue. With some research and efforts, we were able to change that.

While every email provider is different when it comes to handling spam emails. Most of them remain tight-lipped about their anti-spam methodology or the spammers would exploit the information for their favour.

Spam filters are constantly updated and modified to stay relevant with the time. They are constantly adapting and changing to new techniques to filter the spam folder. There are several things that we can do to avoid hitting users’ spam folder.

Why Are My Emails Going to Spam?

There are couple of factors which come in play while sending an email. Some of them are:

  1. Bad IP Reputation
  2. IP Address Not Warmed Up
  3. Bad Email Content
  4. Non-Compliance With CAN-SPAM Act
  5. Low Open (Engagement) Rate
  6. Non-DKIM Signed Email
  7. No SPF Record

We’re going to discuss them briefly in this article below.

Bad IP Reputation

This is a wide reason for email rejections or your email landing at users’ spam folder. If your IP address has been used in malicious or spammy behaviour in past, it’s most likely that the IP address has been flagged for that reason. In majority of the cases, it’s a PITA to remove an IP address from the spam database. So, you’re better off asking your hosting partner to allocate you a new IP address. You can find out if your IP address is blacklisted at this page.

IP Address Not Warmed Up

If you’re using a new IP address for sending emails, many of your emails would go to the spam box or get dropped all together. When an ISP notices emails coming from a new, dead or cold IP address, they immediately start evaluating its sending frequency and email content. Emails coming from a new IP address are usually considered as a major factor when detecting spam. It is recommended to send emails to only some segment of your subscribed user-base and then slowly increase the volume every week. SendGrid has written a great guide on this topic, you can check that out by clicking here.

Bad Email Content

Badly written email content may get dropped by the ISP for being spammy. Emails which contain words like “viagra”, “get rich quick”, “best investment scheme”, etc. are often flagged and end up reaching the spam-box of the user. Even subject lines like GET 99% DISCOUNT IN VICTORIA!!!!” can be flagged for spam. So, it’s best to write sober subject and body content which may not get flagged.

Non-Compliance With CAN-SPAM Act

Non-compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act can get your emails to land to users’ spam box instead of inbox. Established in 2003, CAN-SPAM Act is a law that establishes the guidelines for commercial email and commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them, and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate the law.

To stay complaint:

  • Include your valid physical address in the footer of the emails you’re sending.
  • Provide users a clear, simple way to unsubscribe from your emails and honour the opt-out requests within 10 days.
  • Use clear and valid “From”, “To”, “Reply-To” headers/fields while sending the emails.
  • Don’t send emails to marketing emails who haven’t explicitly opted-in for your emails.
  • Avoid using deceptive subject lines and body content to mislead the users.

Low Open (Engagement) Rate

While this shouldn’t directly penalize you, but sending emails which aren’t opened by the recipients which certainly attract some suspicious behaviour from the ISP. You don’t open the spam emails, do you? That’s why.

So, make sure that you send emails with proper, clear and attractive subject-lines as majority of the email providers consider email open rates as a factor while calculating the spam score of a sender.

Non-DKIM Signed Email

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) enables the sender to associate/link a domain name with an email message, thus endorsing for its legitimacy.

This is achieved by signing an email message with a private key. An email provider validates the received email by verifying it using the public key provided at the DNS records of the domain name.

If you don’t have a DKIM record at your domain, then many of the email providers would be dumping your emails in the spam box right now 😉

No SPF Record

An SPF record lists the mailing servers who are allowed to send emails on your behalf. While DKIM is used for cryptographically validating the integrity of an email message, this record simply means the listing of the mailing server which can send emails on your behalf.

With the incorporation of the tips above, your emails should directly land in the users’ inbox instead of spam box. If you’re still having problems with email deliverability, it is recommended that you use a service like Sparkpost or SendGrid.

if you need any help setting up your SMTP server, let us know at [email protected]

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