Top 5 Reasons Your Emails Are Going to Spam


There’s nothing worse than your email going right into the black hole of a spam folder – with no opportunity for your recipient to open it. The truth is, with the overuse of email and high-velocity sales tactics, this has required spam filters to be more unforgiving than ever.

Data shows that spam messages account for 56% of email traffic in 2019. With billions of spam emails being sent every day, the current state of email deliverability is way down.

Joel Stevenson, CEO of Yesware says - "Volume is way up, deliverability is way down, and the signal-to-noise ratio is at an all-time low"

Spam filters are now looking at what you’re writing, how you’re writing it, and how recipients are engaging with it. But these filters aren’t perfect. That means even if you’re a legitimate emailer, your email could still get misinterpreted and tossed into the void.

So, we compiled the top 5 reasons your emails are going to spam and how to avoid this.

Note: Before we begin, make sure you are familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act set by the FTC which is a law that sets the rules and requirements for commercial emails. The first step is to be ethical and follow these rules before anything else.

Now if you’re not a spammer, you’re following the rules, and you’re still asking yourself “why are my emails going to spam” – you’re not alone and we have the solution for you.

Here are 5 main reasons your emails are going to spam:

1. You have low engagement rates

Did you know that spam filters can now actually detect how your recipients are engaging with your emails?

If you historically have low open or bounce rates, your emails are much more likely to be flagged as spam. The more engaged your recipients are with the emails you’re sending, the more likely you are to reach your recipient’s inbox.

A key tip for avoiding this is to avoid sending emails to the same addresses who are not opening or engaging with your emails after multiple times. You can use tools like Yesware to see if people are interacting with your email or even opening them at all.

Top 5 Reasons Your Emails Are Going to Spam - Low open rates and bounce rates - use tracking to avoid.Track your first email

Yesware’s email activity feed and new Recipient Engagement Report will tell you exactly who is engaging and who isn’t. If you’ve tried multiple times and there’s still no positive engagement – our recommendation is to stop emailing this same person for now because low open rates will negatively affect your email reputation.

Bonus Tip: Help keep open rates high by perfecting your subject lines and sending your emails at the right time. Our data on subject line length indicate that subject lines between 1-5 words get the highest open rates. To know the best time to send an email based on the recipient’s location – use the tool here!

2. You are not updating and cleaning your email lists

Keeping your email lists clean plays a huge role in preventing your emails from going to spam. First and foremost, your email list should consist of legitimate addresses and valid opt-ins from the recipients.

Remember to clean out your lists by deleting all inactive email addresses on a regular basis. If you’re consistently sending emails to inactive accounts, this will significantly hurt your open rates. As discussed above, low open rates are a big indicator of spam.

Go through your email lists on a monthly bases, clean them up, and delete all inactive addresses to avoid a bad reputation. Stay on top of your email metrics to ensure your email addresses are legitimate and active.

3. Your content is flagging spam (body of email and subject line)

The content of your emails – both the body and subject line – can contain many flags that set off spam triggers. Spam filters are getting smarter by the day – monitoring your messages for spam-like wording and formatting.

Here are the top two behaviors you should avoid to ensure your email doesn’t get flagged as spam:

1.) AVOID ALL CAPS! Nobody likes to be yelled at. Avoid all caps in both the body of your text and your subject line. Email filters catch these easily.

2.) Avoid using multiple exclamation points!!! This looks very spam-like and just plain right unprofessional – for the sake of all of us, try to avoid this.

Top 5 Reasons Your Emails Are Going to Spam: The content of your message.

These are the two most common patterns in spam folders. As seen above, these were found in the dark hole of my very own spam folder.

Another huge spam flag is any type of spelling or grammatical errors. These are not only a spam trigger but they obviously don’t look good to your recipient. The best way to avoid this – use tools that flag your mistakes and always proofread.

Lastly, avoid using different colored text. Although some people might think these are eye-catching, spam filters actually pick these up as indicators of spam.

Our top recommendation for perfecting the content of your email is to PERSONALIZE, PERSONALIZE, PERSONALIZE.

The harsh reality is 57% of email recipients consider a message spam if it isn’t relevant to their needs. So if you’re sending the same mundane messaging over-and-over again, off to the spam folder you go.

That is why you need to personalize your messages. This way, spam filters can pick up that you know the recipient you’re sending to. And personalizing your email increases the likelihood of your recipient engaging and interacting with your message.

With advanced personalization features within Campaigns and Templates, you can easily personalize your messaging at scale.

Yesware’s Templates enable you to create a library of your go-to messaging and actually see what works so that you can iterate.

Top 5 Reasons Your Emails Are Going to Spam: Personalize

Start using templates

Using templates, you can personalize every email without wasting the time of typing each one separately. Emails with customized messaging for individual recipients see higher open rates and reply rates.

4. You’re using spam trigger words

There are certain words and phrases that you should avoid using in emails and subject lines. Spam filters pick up on spam-like words, especially in your subject lines. Including triggers, words increase your chances of getting flagged as spam.

Here are some of our top spam trigger words to avoid using:

5. You have included an attachment

Attachments alert filters of a possible virus. Avoid attaching files to your prospecting emails because spam filters are on the watch for these. Also, attachments negatively affect the load time of your email, which increases bounce rates.

Don’t get me wrong – if the person is expecting to hear from you (someone who has you in their contacts) then by all means attachments are perfectly okay. But never send an email with an attachment to a new contact or in a cold email.

The reason why spam filters flag attachments are because actual spam emails often contain destructive attachments. So spam filters automatically overreact when there is an attachment.

Our tip for if you want to attach a file or document in a cold email is to use a link – link to it with a CTA that directs the recipient to your website.

With spam filters improving and becoming more refined, it’s always important to stay on top of up-to-date patterns. If you’re ever confused about why emails are going to spam – Google recommends looking at the messages that were identified as spam in the past to find patterns.

To finish off, engrave these tips and practices into your every day emailing activities to ensure your email reaches your recipients inbox.

Don’t let unethical spammers ruin your every day emailing practices. If you keep in mind spam filters and what sets them off, personalize all messages with the focus on building relationships, and stay on top of what’s working and not working – you’re set up for success.



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