How to Avoid Your Emails Getting Sent to Spam

How to Avoid Your Emails Getting Sent to Spam
Wondering how to ensure your email makes it to your customers’ inboxes? Find out what a spam filter is and how to avoid spam filters. Visit Square.
by Kate Davey Nov 12, 2019 — 3 min read
How to Avoid Your Emails Getting Sent to Spam

Yikes, your email is getting caught in spam filters, but your email isn’t spam! You’ve put a lot of thought and effort into each one, so what’s happening? Let’s dig into some tips for how you can ensure your email makes it directly to your customers’ inboxes.

What is spam?

When you think of spam, you may think of canned food that can survive even the apocalypse… but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Simply put, spam email, also known as unsolicited commercial email, is an email you don’t want to receive. You either didn’t sign up for it, the email is abusive, the email is misleading — or all of the above. Spam emails are sent by spammers, who can send an unsolicited commercial email on behalf of advertisers for their products, or for their own.

In 2003, spam was so widespread that the Australian Government passed the Spam Act 2003. This law prohibits the sending of commercial electronic messages via email, SMS, multimedia message service or instant messaging without the consent of the receiver.

What is a spam filter?

A spam filter is a software built into an email program that automatically deletes or diverts spam into a “junk” folder.

Spam costs businesses and individuals time and bandwidth (which translates to money, in many cases) to take care of spam email. There are around 107 billion spam emails sent every day.

Spam is determined by different data points, including the content in the email, the sender, the reputation of the sender and permission filters. For instance, content filters review the email copy looking for any inappropriate language, whereas reputation filters prevent known spammers from reaching your email (hopefully).

Basically all of the emails you don’t want to receive because you didn’t sign up to receive said email, should, theoretically end up in the spam filter.. But, just like all things in life, the spam filter doesn’t always work exactly as it is meant to.

But you’re not a spammer, so why is your business email getting caught in spam filters?

This is an excellent question, with a long answer. If you would like to read more you can review the main requirements of the Spam Act 2003 here. But, we will summarise it in short below.

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Spam Act, and maximum penalties are substantial – organisations are liable to pay up to $220,000 ($44,000 for individuals) for the first contravention for a single day. We’ve thought ahead – Square Marketing includes your address in the footer of your email and allows buyers to opt-out easily.

Sometimes spam filters can incorrectly identify your email as spam. This may happen because the email is poorly written, there are too many symbols (!@#$%^), emojii’s, or there is inappropriate language in the email.

So, how can you avoid spam filters?

1. Keep it interesting

Send a well-written email with interesting content. Great content is important, because the more engaging your content is, the more likely your users are to click through. When readers click through, filters know that you’re not sending spam. (This is particularly important to know if you’re thinking about buying email lists from a third party. While it may seem tempting and an easy way to build your list, it is very likely that you will get caught in a spam trap.).

2. Follow the rules

Follow basic grammar rules. This means using sentence and title cases where appropriate (read: not ALL CAPS) and ensure that your spelling is correct.

3. Keep it clean

Keep it simple with one font, and avoid different sizes and colours.

4. Update lists regularly

Review your email list on a regular basis, and don’t be afraid to purge your list of users who aren’t reading your email or haven’t visited your business lately. If you keep users on your email list who aren’t engaging with your content, then this signals to the spam filters that you’re sending content that people don’t want to read, and you may be a spammer.

5. Avoid spam filter trigger words

Web Marketing Angels put together a list of words that spam filters search for to indicate a spam email. Do your best to avoid using these words, especially in the subject line, and you should, (hopefully) be able to avoid getting caught in spam filters.

Kate Davey
Kate Davey is a freelance writer at Square where she covers everything from how to find your business’s voice to best practices for email marketing.

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