Why Are My Emails Going to Spam?

Are you banging your head against your computer asking yourself this question? Do you want your email marketing program to thrive but your emails are going to spam? Email marketing can be challenging to master if you don't know how to navigate to the inbox. If your emails are going to spam, this can impact your metrics and your overall business performance. You could even be on the verge of getting blacklisted, if that hasn't happened already. If you're here, then you're probably not following some simple rules that can keep your emails out of the spam folder and there are a few more questions you need to ask yourself if you want to make progress.

Why Are My Emails Going to Spam? Spam Alert!
Why Are My Emails Going to Spam?

Did You Setup DMARC, DKIM & SPF?

How do these three acronyms have anything to do with the question, "why are my emails going to spam?" When setting up your domain, you want to be sure to add a few security protocols to your domain name system (DNS) that will help to identify you as a legitimate sender when your email campaigns are passed through spam filters and received by internet service providers (ISPs).

  • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) primarily links the sender’s domain name with what is listed in the From: header.
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) ensures that the content of your emails remains trusted and hasn’t been tampered with or compromised.
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF) hardens your DNS servers and restricts who can send emails from your domain.

If ISPs detect these security protocols, it's like having a key to enter. The best way to get these implemented would be to contact your IT department or your technology team and they should be able to help you out. If you don't have a tech person you can contact your DNS provider (i.e.; GoDaddy etc.) and they can help you out. If you can get the security protocols setup, then this is a first step in preventing emails from going to spam.

Did You Warm Your IP Address and Domain?

You cannot ask yourself why are my emails going to spam and not attempt to look at whether you went through a proper warming process. When you started sending emails, did you just start blasting everyone on your list or did you take the opportunity to go through a thorough warming process for your IP address and your domain? IP and domain warming is the process of incrementally increasing the volume of email sent. This process helps to establish your sender reputation and helps to get you in the good graces of the ISPs.

ISPs register all email traffic coming from new domains and IP addresses to evaluate it and determine its legitimacy. Email volume is assessed as a primary factor in detecting spam. The senders that perform the best and prevent emails going to spam, begin sending lower email volumes and increase that incrementally over two to three months, depending on list size. If you start sending to your entire email list straight out of the gate, you'll most certainly get flagged and this can be challenging, but not impossible, to come back from. However, even a solid domain and IP warming process will not guarantee you'll stop asking yourself "why are my emails going to spam?" You still need to follow all best practices if you'll want to stop asking yourself that question.

Are You Validating Your Emails?

Email validation is an excellent way to rid your list of bad and potentially harmful emails. There are various tools that you can leverage to do this, just look up "email validation tool" and you'll see several options. You can typically upload a large list of emails or you can even add real-time email validation at the point where contacts enter their email address. Each tool is slightly different but you should essentially keep the emails that tool marks as "valid" and discard the rest. When it comes to your email program and asking yourself "why are my emails going to spam", you don't want to take any chances.

Are You Using a Double Opt-in?

A double (confirmed) opt-in is one of the best ways to ensure your email list is comprised of highly engaged contacts. It gives everyone on your email list the opportunity to say "yes, I confirm that I want to receive your emails!" This greatly reduces the potential for spam complaints. It also ensures that you rid your email list of potential spam traps right out of the gate. A spam trap cannot open your email message, thus it cannot confirm the opt-in.

Are You Mailing Inactive Contacts?

When sending marketing emails, it's extremely imperative to mail your most active contacts. Engagement, engagement, engagement!!! ISPs assess whether your contacts (their customers) are opening your messages. If the ISPs see trends in you emailing contacts who are not engaging with your messages, they begin to take notice and you will likely be flagged as a spammer.

Every ISP is different when looking at the appropriate time to stop mailing a contact that's not engaging. If you're in a jam and you need to get out of the spam folder now, it's best to immediately stop emailing contacts who haven't opened or clicked an email in six months or greater. Once you've done that, you should start to see improvements over time. Once you start to see improvements, you can eventually extend that slowly to seven, eight, nine, and even twelve months if things are going well. Eventually, you'll stop asking yourself "why are my emails going to spam" because the'll be in the inbox.

Why Are My Emails Going to Spam? Now, They Aren't.

You now know the best practices to getting your marketing emails out of the spam folder and into the inbox. If you've followed these instructions thoroughly, it's unlikely that you'll have any major issues. However, it may take time for you to fully prevent your emails going to spam. Just give it some time and pretty soon, you'll stop asking yourself "why are my emails going to spam" and start saying "my emails go to the inbox!"

Just Use an Email Marketing Service!

Another solution to your emails going to spam would be to leverage an experienced email marketing service. There are some email marketing services such as NITRO PLUG Digital Marketing, who have decades of experience learning the algorithms at all of the ISPs and navigating the inbox. This would allow you to take your mind off of your email marketing program while the experts are managing this for you. In any event, whether you chose to go about this journey on your own or with an email marketing service, you should have all of the knowledge that you need right here. Best of luck!

Why Are My Emails Going to Spam?
Maxine Reynolds - NITRO PLUG Digital Marketing

Maxine has extensive experience in the digital space and in driving positive experiences for clients. Her background touches large companies, where she successfully led marketing teams through grownd-breaking initiatives.

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