Avoiding the Spam Can

Benji Gault - April 26, 2019

How To: 

Keep Your Emails From Being Delivered to The Spam Folder

A customer just informed you that your email ended up in their spam folder as opposed to their inbox. Not to worry, this happens to everyone in the world of email marketing. The important thing is to recognize why this may have happened and to take the appropriate actions in order to prevent it from happening in the future.

OptCulture support is here to help and assist with the use of the application but is not responsible for sender reputation or email delivery. These responsibilities fall solely on the sender. To ensure that emails end up in the inbox versus the spam folder here are some simple yet highly effective steps to follow.

Make Sure You Have Permission

The most important factor in having a great delivery rate is to make sure you have permission to email contacts. This is also known as the Opt-in process. It is very important your contacts understand that by collecting their email address they will be receiving promotions and advertisements via email for your product or store. Never purchase a list of emails, this can subject you to legal violations with real penalties. Your emails should also provide contacts with the ability to unsubscribe from future emails within the body of the emails sent.


Have your contacts whitelist your emails. The alternative to blacklisting, this process just involves adding your address to their list of trusted contacts. Alternatively if an email ends up in the spam folder have the contacts mark the email as “not spam”  and this will prevent future emails from ending up in the spam folder.

Keep Engagement Rate High

Attempt to make sure engagement rates are high. Top webmail providers have stated that they look at how many emails are opened and how many are deleted without being opened as a factor in their spam filtering decisions. According to recent data for 2018, average open rates for emails in general was 24%. Keeping open rates close to this number or higher will help keep emails out of the spam folder. Achieving higher open rates is done by segmenting lists to better target an audience, using catchy subject lines that contacts will be interested in as well as not sending too many emails to a particular audience which can cause contacts to become disinterested in future emails.Timing is key, with just about everything, and emails are no exception. Studies from companies show the best time to send an email is between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm on weekdays. Emails sent on weekends had significantly lower open rates than those sent on a weekday. To increase click through rates consider a call to action that results in a promotional offer. A questionnaire campaign to see how many contacts on your list are engaging with emails that results in a promotional offer upon completion is a great way to find out who is actually opening, reading, and clicking on the links in your email campaigns. Links to social media pages that show how to use products or how the products are being used is another way to improve contact engagement and click throughs.

Content is key. This may seem obvious but there are some often overlooked attributes that contribute to emails making it through the spam filter. Spam filters are getting more advanced every day and it is valuable to know what content is subject to flagging by spam filters.

  • Send through verified domains. Spammers often abuse free email domains such as Gmail or Yahoo. Using a company specific domain look professional and helps avoid the spam filter.

  • Use merge tags to personalize the “To:” field of your campaign.

  • Show subscribers how to whitelist your emails and ask them to add you to their address book.

  • Avoid the excessive use of “salesy” language (these are spam trigger words like “buy”, “clearance”, “discount”, or “cash”).

  • Keep the image to text ratio close to even. It is perfectly okay to send images in emails but avoid sending emails that contain only images and no text as this is a red flag for most spam filters.

  • Don’t “bait-and-switch” by using deceptive subject lines.

  • Include your physical store address.

  • Include an easy way for subscribers to opt-out of your emails.

Keep your emails fun and informative. Include links to valuable information for your contacts to click on and injecting humor is a great way to captivate contacts. The key to content is to make sure your sending emails that contain value for a contact. If the information is of value and subscribers are happy with the content open rates will increase and contacts will look forward to receiving and opening emails that you send. Conversely if you are just sending emails just to send emails, or to make a quota; contacts will recognize this and open rates will decrease, engagement will fall and your emails will become more likely to end up in the spam folder.