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Stop your emails from going to spam
Stop your emails from going to spam
Emily avatar
Written by Emily
Updated over a week ago


A recipient marking your email as spam is the strongest negative signal to inbox providers. Spam complaint rates above 0.08% are considered high, and these levels can lead to poor deliverability. Some inbox providers consider spam rates even lower than 0.08% as high, which is why you should always keep a close eye on your spam complaints after each campaign.

Here are some tips on avoiding your emails from going to spam.

Build your own email list

Email content is vital for communicating important information to stakeholders, providing shipping confirmations or security alerts, etc., but it can’t help your recipients if the emails never make it to their inboxes or go to an unengaged audience. Always avoid:

  1. Renting, purchasing, or co-registering an email from a third party

  2. Sharing or using a shared list with a partner

  3. Scraping emails or using a robot to collect emails—known as email harvesting—puts you squarely into the spam folder, so don’t ever do it

You want to have an email list consisting of folks interested in receiving your emails, that way you ensure engagement. Organically building your email list is in your best interest long term. It may not be the easiest or fastest way to grow your list and audience, but it is by far the most effective.

Provide a double opt in for your email list

Verifying recipient registration and opt-in is crucial to building a healthy, sustainable email list. Using a double opt-in ensures that subscribers are consenting to receive your emails by sending them a confirmation or welcome email.

Clean up your email list regularly

Email lists and subscribers naturally ebb and flow as recipients drop off of your list. Some folks just don’t want to receive your emails, and that’s okay! The quality of your list is much more important and valuable than the number of contacts on your list.

While some individuals may unsubscribe, others will ignore your emails or mark them as spam. This is detrimental to your sending reputation, making your emails less likely to reach recipients’ inboxes, including those that actively engage with your messages. A leaner, more engaged email list is always more effective than a large list of unengaged users.

Regular list maintenance helps stave off low engagement and its impact on your sender reputation. Removing unengaged users, bounced emails, and other spam traps are some of the most effective ways to clean your list.

Remember that email list turnover is normal—don’t take it personally! Be proactive, clean up your list, and you’ll start to experience improved delivery rates to the inbox.

Monitor your email engagement metrics

Metrics and email performance are the tried-and-true way to know how your email program progresses and improves. Before you can utilize these key performance indicators, it’s important to understand your baseline metrics—we all have to start somewhere, right?

Start with the following basic metrics:

  1. Spam complaints

  2. Open rates

  3. Click through rates

  4. Delivery rates

When you start tracking these metrics, don’t panic if you notice negative trends. The most important thing you can do is act quickly and calmly to remedy the problem. For example, in the case of dropping open rates, review your subject lines and email frequency. These two variables often have the most impact on this metric.

When testing emails, use real content and recipients. Some practices, like seed testing, allow senders to test emails sent to small batches of recipients to understand how an internet service provider (ISP) will respond but don’t provide a perfect analysis. Every ISP weighs seed testing differently, so try not to put all of your eggs in one basket here. In most cases, seed testing provides a false sense of security to senders—send tests to real recipients to get a more accurate idea of how they’ll respond.

Send content relevant to your email list

The core of any successful email program is a commitment to sending relevant, interesting content to your recipients. This means being intentional about your sending practices and not sending for the sake of sending. Aimless sending can cause your engagement to suffer, and that’s the last thing we want. The emails you send should resonate with your recipients. Otherwise, you risk getting ignored—or worse, sent to spam.

The next time you draft an email, consider the following before hitting send:

  1. Am I sharing new, urgent, or relevant information with my recipients?

  2. Have I shared an update about this topic recently? Is it too soon to send another update?

  3. Do all of my subscribers need to know this information? Should I update a specific segment of my list instead?

  4. Would I find this email valuable as a recipient?

Finding what email content works best for your brand often involves trial and error, so feel free to try new things and experiment with new styles of copy as you get to know your recipients.

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