You’ve been anxiously waiting for a specific email. You keep refreshing your inbox, but it just isn’t showing up. After your umpteenth refresh, you check your spam folder. And there it is — the email you’ve been waiting for was in your spam folder the whole time.
If you’ve ever discovered emails you actually wanted in your spam folder, chances are you’re concerned your marketing emails are landing in someone else’s spam folder too.
Not sure why some emails are marked as “spam”? We can assure you it has nothing to do with canned pork.
Spam is a folder created by your email service provider (ESP). Your ESP automatically puts unwanted emails — or emails it deems “junk mail” — into this folder.
Although you can’t be certain your emails will never go to spam, you can help prevent it by implementing certain best practices in your email marketing strategy.
Today we’re sharing 6 tips and tricks — along with links to other helpful blog posts — for tweaking your emails so they have the best chance of avoiding someone’s digital “pile” of junk mail.
1. Prioritize good subject lines.
When the number of subscribers opening your emails drops significantly, Internet service providers flag you as a “low-quality sender” and send your emails to spam.
One way to avoid the spam folder is to get people to open your emails!
Subject lines have one important job. They persuade prospects to take the first step toward investing in your brand, which is opening your emails!
Copywriters make a big mistake when they prioritize the subject line last and use all their creative juices on the content in the email. Don’t get us wrong — the copy inside is important. But email subscribers won’t see that copy unless you craft a subject line that hooks them.
To avoid the spam folder, spend some time crafting strong subject lines. If writing subject lines is difficult for you, don’t worry — it’s hard for us too! Check out our blog here about how to nail your subject lines.
2. Avoid sketchy sender names.
We’ve all received emails from “questionable” email addresses.
Our guess is you don’t open emails from addresses like email@example.com.
We don’t either.
Another way to get people to open your emails is to put your name or your company’s name in the “From” field. These appear more trustworthy and personable in people’s inboxes.
You also don’t want to use words like “Marketing” or “Support” in this field (unless it’s part of your company name).
Trust us: going with your name or your company’s name will help keep your emails out of the spam folder.
You can add an extra layer of credibility to your outgoing emails by authenticating your email address. This step is a bit more complicated so you may need to utilize the help of your IT team.
Authenticating your email address tells ESPs that the email you're sending is coming from a verified and credible source. It also helps to prevent spoofing and phishing. This Google Support article gives an in-depth overview of what DKIM, SPF, and DMARC are and why they’re important to increasing your email address’s credibility.
Note: Some ESPs manage deliverability and authentication automatically. Refer to your ESP’s support page for more info on the specific steps you need to take to ensure your email is authenticated.
3. Keep your email list clean with a re-engagement email series.
“Email list decay” occurs when people unsubscribe from your email list, but you also lose a lot of subscribers who never unsubscribe. How? They stop opening and engaging with your emails.
Again, this could land your emails in the spam folder.
Sometimes, people just need a reminder that you’re still there. Think about your own inbox — chances are brands are vying for your attention every day. A re-engagement email series is often the gentle poke subscribers need to re-engage with your brand again.
Once you’ve written and designed your re-engagement email series, you can use “triggers” within your ESP to have your email series automatically sent to subscribers you deem as disengaged. The timing of your re-engagement email series will vary depending on your target audience and how frequently you send emails.
In the past, email marketers based these automations on open rates. But with the introduction of Apple’s iOS 15, we’ve had to get creative with the triggers used to accurately mark contacts as disengaged. If you’re ready to brush up on the effects iOS 15 is having on your email marketing, this blog post from Klaviyo is a great place to start.
We also wrote a blog here with ideas for a re-engagement email series that wins back subscribers to opening your emails.
4. Don’t use spam trigger words.
Did you know certain words work against your email marketing efforts?
Hubspot defines “spam trigger words” this way:
Spam trigger words are phrases that email providers flag as fraudulent and malicious. When they identify these emails, they then route them away from recipients’ inboxes. These words and phrases typically overpromise a positive outcome with the goal of getting sensitive information from the recipient.
Spam trigger words and phrases include “Double your,” “Buy,” “Opportunity,” and “Cash.” You can use these words in the body of your email, but you want to avoid them in your subject lines.
We recommend checking out Hubspot’s list of 394 words to avoid in your subject lines here.
5. Include a link for recipients to unsubscribe.
“Do you mean I should give my subscribers the option to unsubscribe?”
Your ESP probably includes a link to unsubscribe in its templates already — don’t delete it.
In the United States, you’re required by the CAN-SPAM Act to provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe from your emails.
Lastly, speaking of the law…
6. Stay up-to-speed with anti-spam laws.
In the Federal Trade Commission’s words, the CAN-SPAM Act “establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.”
Offering a way to unsubscribe is one requirement, but the law outlines other requirements like including a valid physical postal address.
You should familiarize yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act and other important anti-spam and data protection laws. For example, you must comply with these laws in other countries if you do business internationally, especially Canada and Europe.
Here’s a primer on Europe and Canada’s requirements with links for more information. You’ll also want to closely read the terms of service for your Internet and email service providers.
Many factors contribute to your email’s deliverability, but you’ll certainly increase your chances of avoiding the spam folder by implementing these 6 tips and tricks. Check out this longer list of 28 tips from WebEngage if you’re ready to learn more. Schedule a call today if even thinking about the boxes you have to check to avoid the spam folder is overwhelming you. Our team will work hard to increase your open rates and ensure your email marketing strategy is compliant with anti-spam laws and best practices.