Want to avoid spam filters, reach the inbox, and succeed with your email marketing campaigns?
This guide is for you.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels available.
But many bloggers, email marketers, entrepreneurs, content creators and so on, struggle to run successful email campaigns.
Because a high number of their emails always end up in the spam folder, not the inbox.
In this guide, you’ll learn how email spam filters work, plus 17 proven tips to avoid them on a regular basis. We’ve also included insights from industry experts throughout.
What are email spam filters?
Email spam filters are programs or tools that review incoming emails, to identify and separate unwanted, unsolicited and harmful email communication, also called spam emails.
In 2022, nearly 49% of all emails worldwide were identified as spam, up from 46% in 2021, according to Statista.
And that’s why many inbox providers like Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo mail and others, use an email spam filter to protect their customers from spam and deliver only legitimate emails.
How to avoid email spam filters and succeed with email campaigns
To avoid spam filters and achieve your email campaign goals, your emails must land in subscribers inboxes and also engage them.
In email marketing, once your emails are ignored or marked as spam or deleted without opening, these actions act as spam triggers.
And prompts mailbox providers to henceforth block your emails or send them to the junk folder.
Keep reading to learn 17 proven tips you can use to avoid spam filters, reach the inbox, engage your email recipients and also boost your open rates, click rates and so on.
1. Choose the right email service provider
“To ensure your emails avoid spam filters, select a reputable Email Service Provider (ESP),” says Marc Bishop from WYTLABS.
“Reputable ESPs have fostered connections with internet service providers (ISPs) and email clients. By entrusting your emails to them, you increase the likelihood that they will land in recipients’ inboxes rather than being flagged as spam.”
Remember, most email service providers have their pros and cons. And not all of them offer the best deliverability.
To help you choose the right ESP, Bishop recommends the following:
- Consider your unique needs, budget constraints and email list size
- Conduct thorough research and delve into customer reviews
- Consider testing a few ESPs to identify the best one for you
In our own experience, Mailerlite is the best option for most users. They offer industry leading email deliverability, extensive feature set, a free plan without too many feature restrictions, affordable paid plans and they’re also easy to use.
2. Build your email list organically
You can dodge spam filters when you, “focus on permission-based email marketing,” states Candor’s Kelsey Bishop.
“To avoid ending up in someone’s spam folder, the easiest way is to send emails to someone who wants to receive them. This helps to ensure people actually open your messages and don’t directly send them to spam.”
So, get people to subscribe and give you permission. Don’t buy or rent email lists, or add people without their consent, or send marketing emails to people who did not subscribe.
You can build an email list full of engaged subscribers in an organic manner, when you:
- Have sign up forms & make it easy for people to subscribe
- Offer irresistible lead magnets
- Use a double opt-in sign up process
- Create an engaging welcome email or email series
- Ask subscribers to add you to their address book
Here on Blogging Wizard, we make it easy for readers to subscribe by having this image at the bottom of every blog post.
When you build and grow your email list organically, using a double opt in process, you’ll find it easier to avoid spam filters, evade spam traps, reach the inbox, engage your subscribers and achieve your email campaign goals
3. Send emails from your website domain
Because spammers don’t send bulk emails from their own domain, you can avoid spam filters when you send electronic messages from your own website email address.
For example, if your domain name is Simple Tips, you should send emails and newsletters from firstname.lastname@example.org or other variations like hello@ or hi@ or contact@ and so on.
This way, mailbox providers can quickly verify your domain and ip address, confirm you’re sending legitimate emails and deliver them into recipients inboxes instead of the spam box.
4. Authenticate your bulk sending domain
You can dodge spam filters and boost your domain reputation when you authenticate your bulk sending domain.
“Proper authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and BIMI prove to email providers that you are a trustworthy sender, thereby increasing the chances that your emails reach the inbox,” explains Vladislav Podolyako from Folderly.
Check out the full meaning of those terms:
- Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
- DomainKeys Identified Email (DKIM)
- Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)
- Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI)
Interested in knowing which protocols are being used by marketers? Here’s what statistics reveal:
- Nearly 100% use SPF
- Around 90% use DMARC
- Another 90% use DKIM
- Less than 50% use BIMI
According to Podolyako, here’s what you can do:
- Set up SPF records for your domain to authenticate that emails are coming from a trusted sender.
- Configure DKIM signatures to verify your emails are delivered unchanged.
- Enable DMARC to block spam messages pretending to come from your domain.
- Consider adding BIMI to provide a branded logo for authenticated emails.
5. Stay updated and comply with anti-spam laws
To protect people from spam and punish spammers, various countries now have anti-spam laws such as
- The CAN-SPAM Act in the United States
- The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union
- Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASR)
Here’s a general overview of what the CAN-SPAM act and others require:
- Send emails only to those that gave you permission
- Share your physical mailing address or post office box in every email you send
- Provide a clear unsubscribe link or button in all your emails
- Attend to opt out requests promptly, without delay
- Protect all the personal data you collect from others
When you stay updated and comply with relevant anti-spam laws, you’ll have peace of mind, avoid spam filters and all the hefty penalties and fines attached to non-compliance.
6. Segment your email list & write personalized emails
“You can avoid spam filters and improve deliverability, if you segment your audience,” shares OSDB’s Ryan Rottman.
“When we segmented our target audience into groups, based on interests, geographical regions, opportune delivery times, and other relevant factors, we were able to hone our messaging to specific parts of our audience. And this saw our open rates rise dramatically.”
Segmentation makes it easier to create personalized emails that meet the needs of each segment of your email list.
And that’s why statistics show that clicks from segmented email campaigns are 101% higher than those from non-segmented campaigns.
Alister Wood of VisitUs also adds, “as a B2B company, we had less engagement on our email campaigns before creating a weekly newsletter, focused on the benefits of our product for different kinds of businesses.”
“In this newsletter we highlighted product features with links to our store and also showed products that fit with the content.
The result was a huge increase in website visits and interestingly, our bounce rate also decreased.”
In essence, “send targeted emails to relevant recipients based on their interests and engagement history. And avoid sending mass emails to unsegmented lists,” highlights Mailmodo’s Tarun Agarwal.
7. Stay away from spammy behavior
In email marketing, some of the most common spam filter triggers are behaviors typical of spammers.
And if you copy such, any email you create can become a spam email, get blocked or sent to the spam folder, or even land you in spam traps and negatively affect your domain reputation.
For instance, “spam filters often flag attachments,” observes Abhishek Shah of Testlify.
“So, instead of attachments, use links to cloud-hosted files in your emails.”
Added to that, you can also avoid spam filters when you don’t:
- Write with all caps or use lots of exclamation points
- Use different fonts, font sizes and font colors in one email
- Write in red or use white font on white background
- Embed forms, videos or Flash in your emails
- Create image-only emails
- Link to dubious or questionable websites
- Have one huge image or too many images in your emails
To evade spam filters, avoid spam traps and succeed with your email marketing campaigns, have between 70 to 80% text and 30 to 20% images in your emails.
And remember to add alt text to images and reduce image file sizes without lowering the quality.
8. Create reader friendly emails
Another way to get around spam filters is to, “be a human being, write like a real person and avoid words and punctuations that raises red flags,” says Amy Bos of Mediumchat Group.
“From experience, simply being courteous and getting your point across generates more success than a loaded email.”
So, take these steps to create reader friendly emails and boost engagement:
- Keep your emails short and to the point
- Write short sentences and paragraphs
- Use bullet points and introduce plenty of white space
- Write in a conversational manner and avoid keyword stuffing
- Include subheadings, if necessary
- Add a call to action button
- Proofread more than once
- Preview and test emails across devices and email clients before sending
9. Consider writing in different languages
“As a business with customers and connections all around the world, we’ve learned that translating some of our email content helps to lower the volume that ends up in spam folders,” notes Ryan Walker of Beyond Academy.
“When we have a database segment big enough to warrant translating, we opt to send versions in different languages to try and reach people’s inboxes.
And we’ve seen an increase in deliverability and open rate, at 11% and 1% respectively, for those customer groups and locations.”
10. Avoid spam trigger words
When used in email subject lines and body, spam trigger words or phrases makes your email sound desperate or pushy or too good to be true.
Of course, all these can quickly trigger spam filters, cause your email to be flagged as spam email and either sent to the spam folder or blocked.
To get around spam filters, choose your words carefully and avoid spam trigger words in the subject line and body of your emails
Agarwal also agrees, “refrain from using words and phrases commonly associated with spam emails, such as guaranteed, free, and so on.”
Here are more examples of email spam trigger words:
- Earn extra cash
- Best price
- Meet singles
- Cash bonus
But what if you can’t avoid using these words completely?
Then, use them sporadically within context, follow all other email marketing best practices, plus all the tips in this guide, and you should still be able to dodge spam filters.
11. Pay Attention to Your Subject Lines
Subject lines written in a clear and engaging manner are critical in email communication.
In case you don’t know how powerful a subject line is, statistics show that a whopping 69% of email recipients mark emails as spam, based solely on the subject line.
That’s why you can get around spam filters when you pay special attention to your email subject line.
For example, “reducing the use of exclamation marks in subject lines led to a noticeable decrease in our emails being flagged as spam,” shares Lisa Richards from the Candida Diet.
And Wood adds, “email marketing is our main focus for generating sales and we cannot afford to land in spam folders. That’s why our subject lines are always relevant to the content in the email.”
Richards also continues, “another effective strategy for us is using intriguing questions as subject lines.
It appears people are naturally curious. And by framing our subject lines as questions, we grab their attention and motivate them to open and discover the content inside.
We’ve consistently achieved a 20% higher open rate with these question-based subject lines compared to non-question ones. And even established deeper connections with our audience and better outcomes for our business.”
In addition, here are more strategies to create an irresistible email subject line:
- Keep it short, less than 30 characters or 40 to 50 at most
- Create curiosity and urgency
- Provide value
- Where possible, personalize and include the recipient’s name. Statistics show that this can boost open rates by as much as 50%
12. Email subscribers on a consistent schedule
With the right email marketing software, it’s easier to send emails consistently, maybe daily, weekly and so on.
This way, subscribers will know the email frequency to expect and be less likely to send your emails to the spam folder.
Shah agrees, “maintain a consistent sending frequency and avoid sudden spikes in email volume.”
Remember, in case you have a newly created ip address, start slowly and increase the volume of emails over time.
And for both new and old ip addresses, “make sure you’re not sending too many emails,” recommends Kelsey Bishop. “If a subscriber feels like your emails are overbearing, they’re more likely to mark them as spam,”
You can send emails consistently and dodge spam filters, when you provide options and encourage subscribers to choose their preferred email frequency.
13. Ask recipients to respond
“To ensure your chances of inbox success and avoid spam filters, request recipients to respond to your email in some way,” suggests Lieu Dang of Ling App.
Considering how spam filters work, “this can be a comment, a question, or anything really. Email filters will pick up on the interaction and be more likely to consider your email a trusted source.”
Dang sums up, “using this strategy, not only did we see open rates jump by 37%, but we’re able to build stronger relationships with our audience.”
14. Maintain a clean & healthy email list
If you want to evade spam filters and avoid spam traps, improve your email list hygiene and maintain a clean and healthy email list.
In other words, an email list filled with engaged subscribers who open and read your emails promptly, click links within your email, take actions you want them to take and even reply to your emails.
You can maintain a clean and healthy email list when you, “regularly clean your lists and remove inactive or bounced email addresses to improve deliverability,” says Agarwal.
And Bos agrees, “email marketing plays a significant role in our efforts and avoiding spam filters is a priority.
Therefore, my top tip is to update your contact list often, deleting obsolete or incorrect email addresses. By implementing regular list reviews, we reduced emails relegated to spam by just over 20%.”
Here are more ways to maintain a clean and healthy email list:
- Decide how often to clean your list
- Identify email addresses that represents a group or an alias, also known as role accounts and remove them
- Identify inactive subscribers and re engage them with win-back emails
- If reengagement fails, remove all inactive subscribers from your list
15. Optimize your emails for mobile
“To avoid email spam filters, ensure your emails are mobile-friendly and render well on various devices,” recommends Shah.
Because in 2022 alone, over 60% of the global internet population, around 5 billion people, used a mobile device to go online and this figure is expected to increase, according to Statista
And in another study, 55.9% of marketers say the number of emails opened on mobile devices increased in 2022.
You can optimize your emails for mobile and dodge spam filters when you use email service providers or email marketing software that ensure your emails are mobile friendly and look great on screens of all sizes.
16. Use email deliverability tools
With email deliverability tools, you can improve the quality of your marketing emails, boost your domain reputation, avoid spam filters, dodge spam traps and reach the recipient’s inbox.
All because these tools can:
- Review your email list and identify email addresses to avoid or delete, such as spam traps, invalid email addresses and so on
- Stop bots and questionable people from joining your email list
- Identify spammy words, broken links, wrong formatting and so on, that can prevent your emails from being delivered and also proffer solutions
- Predict whether your email will land in the primary inbox or promotions tab or social tab
- Evaluate the health of your email list and provide insights
- Find out whether your domain is on an email blocklist and if yes, suggest how to get off
Some of the best email deliverability tools available include Mailercheck, Litmus and GlockApps.
17. Have a high sender reputation
Sender reputation is built over time and represents the sum total of your domain reputation and ip address reputation.
It’s also a score or rating given by ESPs to businesses and individuals who send emails.
And it can vary from one ESP to another.
The higher and closer to 100 your score is, the stronger your sender reputation. As a result, your emails can regularly land in the inbox.
But the lower and closer to zero your score is, the poorer your sender reputation. And most likely, your emails will be blocked or diverted into the junk folder on a regular basis.
Here are some factors that affect your email sender reputation:
- How often your emails are marked as spam
- Number of unsubscribes and undelivered emails
- How often your emails land in spam traps
- Sending volume and frequency
You can maintain a high sender reputation when you adhere to email marketing best practices and also implement most of the tips in this guide.
To check your sender reputation score and also track and monitor it, use online tools like:
- Sender score
- Talos Intelligence
- Google Postmaster Tools
- Send Forensics
That concludes our guide on avoiding most spam filters with 17 tips that work.
Already, bloggers, email marketers, content creators and many businesses are using these tips to dodge spam filters, achieve their email campaign goals and succeed with email marketing.
Just like Shah points out, “following some of these practices, Testlify achieved a significant increase in email deliverability, with a 25% reduction in emails landing in spam folders. Our engagement rates also improved, resulting in a 15% boost in response rates from recipients.”
So, what are you waiting for?
Implement these tips one after the other, so you can run successful email campaigns and enjoy all the benefits.
You’ve got this!