How to avoid getting into the spam folder when emailing.

5 Tips to Prevent Emails From Going to The Spam Folder

Diana Aghumyan

Table of Contents

If you are running an email marketing campaign for the first time, there is a high chance the results were not as good as you were expecting. 

You might have wondered why your emails remain unanswered. Or, why do your emails keep going to spam?

Well, don’t worry, as everyone has been there at least once in their lives. If you wonder how to stop emails from going to spam, we have prepared a comprehensive guide that will allow you to learn how to prevent your emails from going to spam with some actionable tips.

We are sure that you would do everything to avoid a scenario where you dedicate a lot of time and effort to crafting your emails, but they end up being in the subscriber’s spam folder. In fact, statistics show that about 45% of emails sent each day are considered spam. 

When you’re planning to launch an email marketing campaign, statistics like this can scare you. But you should not, as we’ve got your back. Our guide will provide you with useful tips to keep your emails out of your spam folder and in your recipient’s inbox where they should be. So without further ado, let’s get started. 

But before discussing the tips, it is worth learning what a spam folder is and why your emails go to a spam folder. 

Keep reading!

What is spam folder?

It is essential to understand what’s a spam folder, as it can help you manage and organize your email effectively.

The spam folder is the place in your email account where you can see unwanted emails that did not manage to reach your inbox and are flagged as spam by email service providers (ESPs). A Spam folder is also known as the “Junk Folder” or “Bulk Folder.”

These filtering systems help users as they significantly decrease the number of unnecessary and promotional emails that people receive on a daily basis.

Every time you send a message, email service providers (ESPs) examine the reputation of your email address and your email content. If there is something suspicious about your emails, ESPs automatically block your email. As a result, it does not reach the targeted inbox. Recipients can also flag an email as spam.

Why do emails go to the spam folder?

To understand how to stop emails going to spam, you will need to identify some of the common reasons that your emails appear in a spam folder.

Below you can find eight reasons why emails go to spam instead of inbox.

Lack of a clean email list

Crafting an effective email for your email marketing campaign does not guarantee your email will make the cut. There are several email KPIs, including email deliverability, opens, clicks, and conversions, to consider.

If you want those KPIs to remain high, you need to have a clean email list. Regularly monitoring and keeping your email lists clean will boost your email engagement and reduce your unsubscribe and spam rates.

Before making changes to your list, you’d better identify if a subscriber is truly inactive or not engaged enough. If it is the first case, you might need to remove them, but if it is the latter case, you still have an opportunity to win them over. You might need to craft more targeted marketing strategies to refresh your disengaged subscribers’ interest in your emails.

After identifying your disengaged subscribers, make sure to include them in a separate list and build a solid strategy to spark their interest. This could be in the form of a discount code or some other engagement strategy.

The next thing to consider when cleaning your email list is the bounce rates. In fact, they badly affect email deliverability, but not all bounces are created equal. There’s a hard bounce and a soft bounce.

hard bounce occurs when the email fails to be delivered for some reason, such as an invalid email address. 

soft bounce, on the other hand, is an email that was not delivered due to some problem on the recipient’s side, such as a full inbox. 

The first one is a permanent problem, whereas the latter one is a temporary issue.

The emails that have a hard bounce should be removed, but pay attention to your soft bounces, as they can be easily solved over time.

Another step to take while maintaining your email list is to remove those subscribers who flag your emails as spam. Spam filters damage not only your email deliverability but also your reputation. If subscribers are not interested in your emails or, even worse, consider them spam, then it’s advised to remove them from your list.

Poor email authentication

Another common reason why your emails end up in a spam folder is poor email authentication. It is a process that is used to verify that emails are not forged or faked.

Suppose you are an SEO specialist. Link building outreach is probably an integral part of your job. However, if your email authentication measures are not properly set up, your outreach efforts may be in vain, as your emails could be flagged as spam by the recipient’s email service provider. 

It’s quite easy for spammers and phishers to send emails on behalf of your company. This is where email authentication comes in handy to stop scammers from using your domain without your consent.

There are several email authentication types available, but the main ones are DomainKey Identified Mail (DKIM), Sender Policy Framework (SPF), and DMARC.

DKIM uses a digital signature to inform the recipient that the email was sent and authorized by the owner of a domain. If the email is signed with a valid DKIM signature, it means that the email’s content has not been changed. 

SPF, on the other hand, makes sure that your domain is only sending emails from a verified list of servers that you specify. And to tie it all together, DMARC adds some additional security layers by combining SPF and DKIM with consistent policies.

So, if you use an automated email service and you have issues with email deliverability, authentication is the first thing to check.

Bad domain reputation

Spam filters pay attention to domain reputation when scoring your emails.

To find out whether it is your low domain reputation that makes your emails go to a spam folder or not:

  • Assess your sender reputation by checking your domain against famous email blacklists. If your domain is on the list, your domain reputation will be poor, and, as a result, your emails will end up in a spam folder.
  • Monitor domain reputation with relevant tools/services to gain insights into your sender reputation and detect any issues that need to be addressed. 
  • Reach out to your email service provider to get some guidance on how to improve your email deliverability and avoid the spam folder.

Bad IP reputation

The IP address you use to send your emails hugely affects email deliverability. Just like businesses build a reputation over time, each IP address has a history that mailbox providers monitor. For instance, high spam complaints and bounce rates can kill your IPs credibility.

To make sure that your bad IP reputation is a reason why your email lands in a spam folder instead of the targeted inbox:

  • Learn what your IP reputation is.
  • Use tools allowing you to easily check your IP reputation.
  • Check if your IP is on a blacklist.
  • Contact your email service provider to understand if they can provide any more insights on why your emails land in a spam folder and if they’re already taking some measures to fix the issue.

Lengthy text

Lengthy text is another reason why emails go to spam instead of inbox. When your email is overwhelmed with long content, it raises red flags for spam filters and can be considered as suspicious or irrelevant by email providers.

Lengthy emails can also trigger spam filters as they have the characteristics of phishing attempts or malware-laden messages. Hackers often use long texts in their emails to hide malicious links or code within the text, hoping to make the recipients click on them. This is why spam filters are more cautious, and as a result, such emails go to the spam folder.

If you don’t want your emails to appear in a spam folder, keep them concise, focused, and to the point. Break down the information into smaller parts so that subscribers can easily understand what your email is trying to convert. You can also use bullet points or numbered lists to make it easier for people to read.

Emails with too many visuals

Using too many visuals can also get you into trouble with spam filters.

If your email contains a large image and little to no text, it can surely trigger spam filters. This is a common practice used by spammers who add a bunch of text in a single image file rather than as actual text. Such attempts look suspicious to spam filters.

However, you can run into problems if you use a lot of images and very little text. Therefore, try to keep a balance between visuals and text.

Optimize email content to avoid getting into the spam folder.

Replacing text with visuals can lead to negative consequences, so don’t do that! Even if you are writing cold emails, remember that overwhelming your email copy with visuals can negatively affect cold email deliverability. Therefore, it is better to use one or two visuals rather than allow your emails to end up in a spam folder.

Misleading subject lines

A misleading subject line is another major reason why emails go to spam instead of inbox. Be it cold email subject lines or any other type of email, it’s crucial to make sure that your subject line accurately reflects the content of the email.

What makes a subject line misleading?

Below are some examples:

  • Hiding the sender’s identity: A good subject line should be clear enough for a subscriber so that they immediately understand who sent the email. Subject lines like this, “Did I leave my t-shirt at your place?” are indicators of a deceptive subject line.
  • RE or FW: Making an email appear like it is forwarded or part of an ongoing email thread is another tricky way to earn subscriptions.
  • False sense of urgency: Emails with such subject lines create a false sense of urgency. These emails cover urgent situations like security concerns or authentication problems to make subscribers open the email and quickly find out what happened. In fact, 26.5% of all unwanted emails are connected to financial matters. 

Now that you already know what a bad subject line looks like, let’s find out how to write professional subject lines.

  • Use action verbs.
  • Create a sense of urgency but don’t mislead your subscribers․
  • Make sure the subject lines match the content of your email. Otherwise, you risk hurting your reputation.
  • Personalize your subject lines by adding the recipient’s name. 

Too many attachments

Attachments are major red flags, as they can trigger spam filters. This is because attachments can contain malware and viruses. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid sending any attachments, especially in newsletters. However, if you decide to add an attachment, make sure you don’t use more than one attachment.

How emails with too many attachments can send your messages to the spam folder.

You can upload your file or document to a cloud storage service like Google Drive and only then include the link to the file in your email. This way, your email won’t trigger any spam filters.

How to prevent emails from ending up in a spam folder: 5 tips

Now that you already know what causes your emails to end up in a spam folder, let’s learn some useful tips to improve your deliverability and make sure your emails reach the inbox.

Warm up the email domain

Your domain’s reputation and credibility are two things email servers take into account when deciding whether your message is spam or not.

Before you start your email campaign, you will need to warm up your domain and email address to show email servers that your domain and email address are legitimate and trustworthy.

In terms of credibility, a new domain starts neutral, and the reputation builds up over time. This is exactly why you need to warm up your domain and email address before launching mass email campaigns.

It is not recommended to start email campaigns if your domain is less than six months old. Once you start sending emails, make sure to start slow. Avoid sending 200 emails a day. Instead, gradually increase the number of emails sent each day.

Send emails to your colleagues or friends and ask them to open and answer your emails, as well as mark them as not spam.

There are also several tools that can allow you to automate warming up your domain and email address. 

Regularly clean your email list

Sending emails to invalid or fake email addresses can dramatically damage your email reputation and increase the chances for your emails to land in the spam folder.

You may wonder why? If some of your emails don’t deliver, email servers will find it suspicious and consider you as a spammer, and your email deliverability rates will drop.

There are many reasons why email addresses in your list can become invalid, including subscribers changing their email addresses, companies changing their domains, and so on.

To avoid sending emails to invalid or fake email addresses, make sure to verify all the email addresses on your list using email verification tools.

Use email authentication

As we have already mentioned, poor email authentication is a big issue when it comes to email marketing campaigns. If you lack properly set up email authentication, your emails will land in the spam folder of the recipient.

Email authentication protocols enable email servers to understand if a particular sender is authorized to send emails from a specific domain or email address.

To prevent your emails from getting into the spam folder, consider using the email authentication protocols we have already discussed in this article.

Use a reputable email service provider

Using a reliable Email Service Provider (ESP) can highly reduce the chances of your emails ending up in the spam folder. These providers have built relationships with prominent email providers, ensuring that their emails are more likely to be delivered to the targeted inbox.

Reputable ESPs comply with email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. They also actively keep track of and manage IP addresses’ reputation, which plays a significant role in email deliverability.

ESPs keep good sender reputation by performing strict anti-spam policies and regularly removing users who are involved in spammy behavior. Besides, some major email service providers offer advanced features, including engagement tracking, enabling you to monitor email performance and optimize your campaigns for better inbox placement.

Don’t use spam words/phrases to avoid the spam folder

Trigger words and phrases in your emails can significantly increase spamming rates. Such words make you sound like a spammer and trigger spam filters. Using one or two trigger words is not a tragedy, but too many trigger words in the subject line or body text, as well as other factors like poor domain and IP reputation or too many visuals, will make your emails end up in a spam folder.

Therefore, it is recommended to use spam checker tools to check your email copy for spam words/phrases before sending them.

Here, at SayNine, we use Mailmeteor’s tool to make sure there are no words that can trigger spam filters.

Detect spam words in your emails.


This tool enables you to identify spam words that look unnatural, shady, overpromise, and more. By knowing which words or phrases trigger spam filters, you can rephrase them or use synonyms to avoid this issue.

In the screenshot above, you can see words that look unnatural, shady, overpromise, and more. Dear friend, for instance, is an unnatural phrase, whereas ASAP shows urgency. By rephrasing or using synonyms, you avoid spam filters.


It is frustrating when you write an email, and it ends up being in a spam folder. But after reading this article, you should have a basic understanding of why your emails are going to spam and solve the problem(s).

You also know what basic steps to take to prevent emails from going to a spam folder. So, we hope our tips can help your emails reach the targeted inbox.

Good luck!

FAQ about avoiding the spam folder

What are some common spam trigger words to avoid?

Some common spam trigger words include “free,” “discount,” “money,” and “urgent.” Use them wisely in your emails.

What is email whitelisting, and how can it help?

Whitelisting is the practice of adding an email address or domain to a trusted list. This way, you can make sure that future emails from that sender appear directly in the inbox instead of the spam folder.

Should I use purchased email lists?

It is not advised to use purchased email lists, as they often lead to high bounce rates, spam complaints, and poor sender reputation. Instead, grow your email list organically with opt-in subscribers who are truly interested in your content.

Can I use emojis and special characters in my emails?

While emojis and special characters make your emails more visually appealing, it’s essential not to overuse them, as they may trigger spam filters.

What should I do if my emails are consistently marked as spam?

If your emails are consistently flagged as spam, you should review your email practices. It is recommended to check for potential issues, such as a compromised email account, discuss the issue with your email service provider, and get professional guidance to resolve the problem as soon as it is possible.


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