8 Reasons Why Your Marketing Emails are Going Into the Spam Folder

Aug 30, 2022

Email continues to be one of the best tools marketers have at their disposal. It also has a very high ROI, beating paid search direct mail and even social media.

However, there is a big issue with email and email marketing that businesses must contend with – their emails landing in the spam folder. Although many people think that only emails from shady people or businesses end up in the spam folder, legitimate emails also end up in this black hole. So, why does this happen, and what can you do about it?

Why are Emails Going to Spam?

Sending an email or newsletter to people who have not permitted you to do so is a primary reason why your email might end up in the spam folder. To avoid this, you need permission from the recipient to send them the email, which means they have to ask for the emails or agree to some conditions that allow you to do so.

It is standard for people to email those they meet at trade shows and other events. Although you may see a marketing opportunity, you increase the chances of that email landing in the spam folder.

Another common reason is buying an email list.

In the past, it was pretty standard for marketers to buy mailing lists so they could increase their subscriber numbers. Although this practice has largely died down, it still happens, and you end up with the same issue mentioned above; these people did not give you permission to email them.

Buying an email list is unethical, ineffective due to the accompanying spam issue, and can even lead to legal complications depending on where your business is located.

Apart from buying email lists, the best way to avoid this issue is to ensure people opt into your email sequences and newsletters. You can set up a double opt-in where you first ask for contact details. The recipient receives an email and then has to click a link or follow a link to confirm that they want to receive emails from you.

If you collect emails using a pop-up, you also need to add a checkbox that asks for visitor permission to email them. You can implement double opt-in on a pop-up depending on your services.

Spam Triggers Can Make Your Email Go To Spam

Most email services have automatic spam filters, which are active even in cases where you do not activate them. These spam filters check the body of your email to determine if the email should go to spam.

Trigger phrases such as “You have won” and “Double Your Income” are two great examples of phrases that would make your emails more likely to go to spam.

It is essential to research which words trigger these spam filters to filter out your email and avoid them. Fortunately, many online resources will tell you which words and phrases to avoid when sending marketing emails and newsletters.

Some email service providers also have spam checking built into them. These services give you access to spam checkers and will check your email and alert you of any red flags. The content checked includes the subject line, file size, reputation of links added, and language to determine how likely your email is to go into a spam folder. You can then remove these red flags before sending.

Deceptive Subject Lines are Another Reason Why Emails Go to Spam

Because of how many emails people receive daily, it is a good idea to craft eye-catching subject lines that will make the recipients open your email. However, your subject lines should not be misleading because your emails will go to spam.

Your subject line should match the content inside the email. Also, avoid making big promises and statements, as those are red flags for the email spam filter systems.

So, what can you do? Be honest. Continue creating spelling subject lines that use humour or that tease the email’s content. You can also use personalisation to grab readers’ attention and indicate that the email is directed to them.

Do remember that deceptive subject lines can damage your company’s reputation and harm your ability to gain customers.

Subscribers Mark Your Emails as Spam

Subscribers can mark your emails as spam very quickly. This feature was added to email services to allow people to report emails as spam or fraudulent, but people are using it more frequently, and in ways the creators did not anticipate.

Many people mark emails they do not recognise, want, or remember signing up for as spam. Up to 34% of consumers say they mark emails as spam to avoid them remaining in their inboxes. This is unfair because they could unsubscribe or delete these messages, but that is how things are today.

The other reason people mark your emails as spam is weak subject lines. The email subject is the second thing people check besides the sender’s name when deciding whether an email is legitimate.

Although your email’s subject line is an essential part of email personalisation, it also serves an important function in ensuring your emails do not land in the spam folder.

Apart from avoiding trigger words and phrases, as discussed above, you should also follow some simple practices and tips. These include:

  • Reducing the number of capital letters you use, as using them is seen as shouting
  • Avoiding or using very few exclamation marks
  • No sounding salesy or pushy

If too many people complain about your emails or send them to spam, they might start bypassing the inbox and going to the spam folder directly.

Segmenting your subscribers and sending personalised and highly targeted emails to each group can help stop people from marking your emails as spam. Because these emails are highly relevant, subscribers are much more likely to open them and convert.

Inaccurate Sender Information

Many data about you originates from the sending domain and server. This information includes your “From”, “Reply-To”, “To, and routing information (email address and originating domain name). This information is transmitted with the email and has to be correct so that it helps identify the person or business sending the email.

This means you need to include accurate identifying information and avoid inaccurate information that could be misleading to a subscriber.

Ensuring accurate information on all emails is the reason why you see the senders such as “Mary from Business X ” beside the subject line and matching “From” and “Reply-To” email addresses.

Misspellings or Grammatical Errors

One or two grammatical errors in your emails are unlikely to trigger the service’s spam filters. However, lots of misspellings and grammatical errors will. This is because many spammers are not native English speakers and will make these mistakes in their emails.

Misspellings, wrong punctuation, uncommon words, and misplaced words and phrases can trigger red flags.

The best way to avoid this issue is to proofread your email before sending it. Try reading your message from the bottom, going up and from right to left, because this break-in pattern can help your brain recognise when something is not in order. You can also check your email using various available tools.

You Have Included Too Many Attachments

Attachments that are out of context are more likely to trigger spam filters. This is because attachments are potent vectors for viruses and other types of malware, and unsuspecting subscribers can end up with nasty infections if they open these attachments.

One attachment on a personal or business email where you have indicated you are attaching a file is less likely to trigger these filters, but one on a newsletter will. Additionally, more than a few attachments will do it.

If you have to send an attachment, let the recipient know and indicate it within the body’s text. Keep the number of attachments down, and if the attachment is too big, you can include a link where someone can download it. Uploading it to services like Dropbox or Google Drive is a preferred option.

There is No Unsubscribe or Opt-out Link or Option

It would help if you always give subscribers the option to leave an email list by unsubscribing or opting out of further communication. The link should be easy to find, and the process should be simple.

When people have difficulty opting out, the next action is to send the email to spam or tell their email service to send all their emails to spam.

The solution is simple; make the option available to your subscribers. The bottom of the email is a great place to add the unsubscribe link.


It would help if you did everything you can to avoid your emails going to the spam folder because that would lead to a waste of time, money, and effort. Knowing why your emails are likely to end up in the spam folder and avoiding these issues will ensure you get the results you want, build credibility, and help you see the expected email marketing ROI.

FAQ: Why Does Some Email Go to Spam

What is the role of Sender Reputation in email deliverability?

Sender reputation plays a crucial role in email deliverability. If you haven’t set up proper authentication methods like DKIM (DomainKey Identified Mail) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework), your emails are likely to end up in spam. These technologies authenticate your emails, making you and your email content look more trustworthy to spam filters or spam complaints.

How does the content of Spam Email affect its deliverability?

The content of your email can significantly affect its deliverability. Common reasons email land where they land is using spammy words, poor grammar, or excessive punctuation can trigger spam filters. Also, using images as a replacement for text or sending unnecessary attachments can land your email campaigns in the spam folder.

How does the Email Client handle spam emails? 

Email clients like Gmail have filters to automatically block spam emails before they appear in the inbox. If your emails are marked as spam by recipients, new emails that you send will likely end up in the spam folder as well.

What is the CAN-SPAM Act and how does it affect email deliverability?

The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email. The rule of email marketing you need to keep track of. It requires that you add a physical address to your bulk emails. If you fail to include a physical address, it could be one of the reasons why your emails are going to spam, and why your email marketing campaign fails. 

What are some common Deliverability Issues with emails?

Common deliverability issues include not setting up proper authentication, using inaccurate sender information, using spammy words or punctuation, using a bad email list, linking to shady websites, using too many images, sending too many attachments, and getting marked as spam by the recipient. You should always check if your outgoing emails go to deceptive emails, inactive email addresses or email recipients who changed their IP addresses. Always go for a reputable email service provider not to get email bounces or your email accounts banned.

How can Email Marketers improve their email deliverability?

Email marketers can improve their email deliverability by setting up proper authentication, maintaining accurate sender information, avoiding spammy words or punctuation, maintaining a good email list, linking to reputable sites, using images appropriately, using right mail servers, email authentication, and mailbox providers, limiting attachments, and asking recipients to whitelist their emails. Unless you want to send volumes of email to hit that junk folder because your spam score is up to the roof! Email deliverability matters more than you think it does. 

How does IP Reputation affect email deliverability?

IP Reputation is a crucial factor in email deliverability. If your IP has a poor reputation, your emails are more likely to end up in spam. Properly authenticating your emails and maintaining a good sender reputation can help improve your IP reputation towards many email messages, email providers, email senders, email server, and so on. Use reputable email marketing service and keep an eye on your spam rate and types of emails you send, also the future emails that you have planned. 


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