How to Stop Emails From Going to Junk: 10 Best Strategies

How to Stop Emails From Going to Junk: 10 Best Strategies

Marketing emails are useful for every brand, but only if they get to the intended recipients. You may send email messages and notice that the open rate is low (the average email open rate is 17% and anything significantly below that might be a problem).

A low open rate happens because your messages are being flagged as junk mail and going to the spam folder instead of the primary inbox.

Are you worried about how to prevent your emails from going to the junk box? Then, this article is for you. We will explain 10 proven ways to stop emails from going to junk and instead reach the recipient's inboxes.

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1. Build your own email list

Many people want to take the shortcut to successful email marketing and decide to buy email lists. But this is a surefire way to get your messages sent to the junk folder.

The right thing to do is to build your email list gradually and get an engaged audience. For instance, you can place a newsletter signup form on your website to collect customer emails.

You may even include perks for people that sign up for these newsletters. This way, you are sure of sending marketing emails to people that have given you explicit permission to do so, so your messages will not be flagged as spam and sent to the junk email folder.

By all means, avoid the following:

  • Purchasing email lists from a third party

  • Sharing email lists with another business partner

  • Using bots to scrape emails from across the web; email providers, e.g., Gmail and Outlook, will flag your messages and send them to the junk box very fast.

Growing your email list organically seems harder, but it is the tried and tested method to get an engaged audience and improve your email deliverability.

2. Clean up your email lists

It is one thing to grow your email list and another to keep it in good shape. The quality of your email list is more important than the number of addresses on the list.

Some people on your email list may stop engaging with your emails or even flag any message from you as spam. This can be detrimental to your email deliverability, so it's wise to regularly check your list for non-engaged addresses and remove them.

Focus on the email addresses that are engaging and responding to your messages and forget the rest. After all, you can not please all your contacts. Regular list cleanup is a proven way to avoid spam filters and stop emails from going to the junk dialog box.

For a quick intro to the topic of avoiding the deadly spam box, watch the following the following video by Alex Berman.

3. Double opt-in

Double opt-in is a way to verify every addition to your email list and confirm that it is not a spam trap or dud email account.

When a user signs up for your email list, a link will be automatically sent to their email. It is only after clicking this link that their subscription will be confirmed to get future emails from you. Otherwise, you treat it as an invalid sign-up.

This strategy may seem counter-intuitive because you want to make it as easy as possible to collect new email addresses. However, consider that a lot of people use temporary emails on signup forms.

A nefarious competitor could even attack your list by sending in a lot of junk emails with the goal of getting you flagged by spam filters and bringing down your email deliverability score. Double opt-in, or double check, ensures that the mails you send get to the intended address.

4. Email authentication

Authentication is how email providers verify that an email actually comes from the address it claims to come from. It is important because many spammers attempt to impersonate popular brands in order to bypass spam filters.

There are four main email authentication methods:

  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM): The sender puts a unique and encrypted digital signature in their mails. Once the email client detects the signature, it is sure that the email comes from its stated sender and delivers it to the inbox. Otherwise, it is going to spam or getting automatically deleted.

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF): You will add a record to the DNS zone of your domain name. This record contains the sender's IP addresses or hostnames authorized to send mails from your domain. The email provider will compare the IP address of the sender with that on your DNS zone. If it is an authorized IP address, then it will send the message to the inbox. Otherwise, the email client will mark it as spam.

  • Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI): This involves adding a unique brand logo to messages sent from your domain. Email clients supporting this protocol will display the logo next to your messages in the inbox, verifying that it actually comes from you.

  • Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC): You publish email authentication policies in your DNS record, e.g., which IP addresses are authorized and a unique public key to be contained in every message. You can then decide how the email client should react if some policies are broken, e.g., Quarantine (mark it as suspicious and send it to the spam folder) or Reject (it should be automatically deleted).

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5. Comply with email privacy laws

Different jurisdictions have different laws regarding email marketing. It is advisable to comply with all the options to avoid being blacklisted by internet service providers (ISPs) and email providers.

The most important laws include:

  • CAN-SPAM ACT (U.S.A.): The CAN-SPAM ACT enacted by the U.S. government in 2003 stipulates that emails must not contain false or misleading information or use deceptive subject lines. You must also disclose your location to recipients and tell them how to opt out of future emails and honor such requests promptly, among other laws.

  • Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL): This law is similar to America's CAN-SPAM ACT. It dictates that email marketers must obtain explicit consent before sending marketing emails and ensure that their messages don't contain misleading information.

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): GDPR covers all countries that make up the European Union (EU). It dictates that businesses that collect customer data, including email addresses, must be transparent with how the data is stored and used and honor deletion requests for such data.

6. Send relevant content

The content you send also plays a big role in your email deliverability rates. It is important to send only content that is relevant to your audience. For example, a makeup brand shouldn't be sending emails about tech products or vice versa. That will be annoying to your users, and they will likely flag your email as spam.

Send only things that are related to your brand. Put yourself in your reader's shoes. What do they expect from you? Does the message add value to the reader?

Also, pay attention to the frequency of your emails. It is wise to have a set schedule, e.g., daily, bi-weekly, or weekly. Sending mails too frequently, e.g., multiple times a day, is not advisable because that is the typical behavior of spam emails.

This sounds trivial, but also pay attention to the wording of your emails and ensure you proofread them. A hallmark of spam emails is grammatical errors and mistakes, so it is important to avoid such or risk getting flagged as spam.

spam frustrations

7. Avoid spam triggers

Spam filters scan the content of your emails for specific triggers that signal if an email is likely spam or not spam.

Common triggers to avoid include:

  • No unsubscribe links: Having no link for recipients to unsubscribe from an email screams "spam" from the mountaintops. This is why many jurisdictions require every marketing email to have a clear link that recipients can click to stop receiving messages. Always ensure you include this link in your email, usually at the footer. You should also monitor your unsubscribe rate; the average is 0.5%, so anything significantly above that is a signal to make some changes.

  • Unnecessary attachments: Emails with a high number of attachments usually get sent to the junk folder because attachments can be a vector for introducing malware into a user's device. If your email must contain an attachment, ensure that it is for an important thing. Likewise, avoid including more than a few attachments.

  • Too many photos: Having too many pictures can prevent emails from getting to the intended recipients. This happens because spammers tend to include many images in order to trick spam filters, so avoid imitating their behavior. 60/40 is a healthy text-to-image ratio to follow.

  • All caps subject line: All caps in an email subject line is a spammy tactic, so avoid using it. Also, avoid words like "free" or "sale" because they are commonly used in scam messages. Your subject line should be clear and concise to the email user.

8. Work on your IP reputation

Email providers assign reputation scores to IP addresses that send emails. Thus, it is necessary to pay attention to your IP reputation to avoid emails getting marked as spam.

Warm up the IP address by sending a low number of emails at first, then increase the quantity over time. This helps email service providers understand your list accuracy, sending behaviors, and user engagement. Besides, an IP address that sends, let's say, 100 emails daily suddenly start sending 1000 emails; that can trigger a spam filter and stop messages from getting to their intended recipients.

For utmost protection, you can request a dedicated IP address from your email service provider (ESP). This way, your reputation won't be affected by the activities of others on a shared IP address. A dedicated IP gives you complete control over your sender reputation, which increases your chances of maintaining a good one.

9. Whitelisting

People are more likely to get emails from addresses added to their whitelist than from those that aren't. Hence, you can ask subscribers to add your email address to their whitelist to ensure they receive emails from you.

Put this request in the welcome email you send immediately after someone signs up for your list; this is when people are most receptive to the idea. Use creative language like "please add us to your contact list" or "ensure our emails don't land in your junk folder by adding us to your safe senders' list."

Many email users may not know how exactly to add your address to their whitelist, so you can provide a quick guide to help them.

10. Use Mailer To Go

The email service provider (ESP) you use to send emails plays a major role in deliverability. It is essential to use a reputable ESP that has no known association with spammy activities. Mailer To Go is a good example of such an email service provider, with features including:

  • Custom domains: You can send emails from addresses tied to your own domain name; you just need to verify ownership with a DNS record. This increases brand awareness and makes your recipients trust you more.

  • Reliable: The server infrastructure is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world's biggest and most reliable cloud provider. Thus, expect near-perfect reliability when sending emails.

  • Security: Mailer To Go's websites and microservices use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TSL) protocols to ensure that hackers can't tamper with your sensitive data.

  • SMTP integration: You can integrate your account with any app that works based on the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), the most popular email delivery system globally.

  • Compliance: Mailer To Go is compliant with data privacy laws across different jurisdictions, including the ones we mentioned in this article.

  • Easy to use: This platform has a minimal and uncluttered interface that makes it easy to navigate.

In conclusion

The average email deliverability rate for marketers hovers around 80%. Anything significantly below this level means that your messages are going to spam folders instead of the recipients' inboxes.

We have provided tips to follow to prevent emails from going to a spam folder instead of the main inbox. Adhere to these tips, and you'll likely notice an increase in your email deliverability rates. 

For further insight into why your emails are going to spam, explore our latest posts.

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Frequently asked questions

Why are my emails going to junk?

Emails might go to the junk folder for various reasons. These include the email being flagged by spam filters, the recipient's email client settings, or the email content appearing suspicious or spam-like.

If you're sending bulk emails, such as newsletters or promotional emails, they might also be filtered into the junk folder if the recipient hasn't explicitly agreed to receive them.

How can I stop my emails from going to junk?

There are several ways to prevent your emails from going to the junk folder:

  • Authenticate your email: This involves setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records for your domain, which helps verify your emails and protect against spoofing.

  • Maintain a clean email list: Regularly remove inactive subscribers and invalid email addresses from your list to reduce bounce rates and improve engagement.

  • Send high-quality content: Emails that are relevant, engaging, and provide value to the recipient are more likely to be opened and less likely to be marked as spam.

  • Use a reputable email service provider: Providers like Mailer To Go have built-in features and support to help you optimize your email deliverability.

What should I do if important emails are landing in my junk folder?

If important emails are landing in your junk folder, you can add the sender's email address to your contacts or safe senders list. This tells your email client that you trust emails from this sender and they should not be marked as spam. You can also adjust your email client's spam filter settings to be less aggressive.

How can I prevent my business emails from going to spam?

Preventing your business emails from going to spam involves similar steps as above: authenticating your email, maintaining a clean email list, sending high-quality content, and using a reputable email service provider like Mailer To Go.

Additionally, you might consider using a double opt-in process for your email list, which requires subscribers to confirm their subscription before they start receiving emails.

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