August 18

How to Keep Your Email Newsletters Out of the Spam Folder

Online marketing


Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways for business to get new clients. However, this medium of communication is also one with the highest risks of not reaching its main goal: being opened by the recipient. What is worse, many of your business email newsletters are not even delivered to the recipient’s Inbox folder, but to Spam.

In time, this can be a serious problem – far beyond the fact that you are not getting results for your email marketing campaigns. Email clients may flag your IP address and none of the emails you send will pass the spam filter. In this article, we will look at some relevant data related to email newsletters flagged as spam and what to do to reduce the spam rate for your business email newsletters.

How Many Email Newsletters End Up in the Spam Folder?

According to statistical data, by the end of 2021, over 45% of all emails were flagged as spam. By type of content, the most frequently sent messages deemed as spam were:

  • 36% marketing/advertising
  • 31% adult content
  • 26.5% financial matters
  • 2.5% scams and fraud.

As for the way in which people respond to receiving unwanted emails, a survey found out that:

  • 22% of users mark unwanted messages as spam
  • 13% of users unsubscribe from newsletters
  • 9% of users block or report the email addresses sending spam messages.

Sending Spam Messages Is Against the Law

In 2003, Australia joined a large number of countries that enacted laws against unsolicited electronic messages. According to the Spam Act, legitimate emails meet the following conditions:

  • The message identifies the sender
  • The message contains the sender’s contact details
  • The receiver can easily unsubscribe from receiving further communications.

Moreover, before sending any email newsletters, you need to obtain the recipient’s consent:

  • Express: by ticking a box, filling in a form, over the phone or face to face
  • Inferred: when the sender knowingly and directly gave you their email address with the reasonable expectation that they would receive marketing messages.

Best Practices for Keeping Your Email Newsletters Out of the Spam Folder

Now that we explained the rules, here are a few best practices that will ensure that you business email newsletters comply with the legal requirements and with the spam rules set by email clients:

1. Follow HTML Best Practices

Some business email newsletters end up in the Spam folder for the following reasons:

  • The subject line is too long
  • They contain images or animated GIFs
  • The font is not compatible with the user’s email client and, thus, unreadable
  • The message contains links that were already flagged as spam
  • The newsletter design is not mobile friendly.

All these issues are against the latest HTML best practices enforced by most email clients.

2. Avoid Clickbait in Subject Lines

Most people have experienced at least once the disappointment of clicking a very promising subject line, only to get unrelated content in the email body. Thus, they are wary about emails and social media posts containing sensationalistic titles.

They already have a name – “clickbait” – and they are already flagged as spam by many email clients, based on various trigger words, such as:

  • Avoid
  • Free
  • Chance
  • Here
  • Never
  • Satisfaction
  • Success.

Even if the topic of your business email newsletters legitimately uses these words, it is always preferable to keep them out of the subject line.

3. Ask Permission before Sending the First Email

The only proper way of sending business email newsletters is by asking people to subscribe to them. Under no circumstances should you use email addresses provided for any other reasons to send marketing messages.

You may have a qualified lead, ready to make a purchase, and lose them because they became annoyed by the unsolicited emails they get from your business. Moreover, the potential client may also leave negative reviews for your business.

4. Send Useful and Valuable Information in the Messages

The main purpose of business email newsletters is to convince people that they can trust you and your products. Thus, you should always make sure that you offer genuine value, such as:

  • Helpful tips
  • Tutorials
  • How-to articles
  • Genuine promotions and offers.

These are email newsletters that give subscribers the confidence to go to your online shop or walk into your store and make a purchase. These are also best practices to keep your email messages out of the Spam folder.

5. Use Correct Sender Information

It is never a good idea to use “noreply” email addresses for email newsletters. Ideally, these messages should come from a real person, whom readers can reply to with questions or requests for clarifications.

This is also one of the first thing spam filters check when a new mail is incoming.

6. Make the Option to Unsubscribe from the Newsletter Prominent

What if someone wants to stop receiving your business email newsletters? There is only one correct option here: offer them a quick and simple way to unsubscribe from your messages. The best practice for this action is:

  • Add a visible Unsubscribe button in the footer of the email
  • When clicked, the user reaches a web page where they have to click on a check box, confirming their choice
  • They receive one last email stating that they will no longer receive your newsletters.

7. Avoid Adding Attachments to Email Newsletters

Attachments are never a good idea when it comes to newsletters. First of all, they take up storage space – you don’t know if your users are on a limited storage space plan. Secondly, it is very easy to disguise viruses as legitimate attachments.

For this reason, spam filters are usually on high alert when an email newsletter has one or several attachments. And, in all fairness, any material you wish to offer subscribers can be sent as a link to a download page. This gives users the freedom to access the material or not.

Main Takeaways

Email newsletters remain one of the most cost effective and efficient digital marketing tools. However, you need to make sure that your messages comply with various data protection and privacy rules in order to have them consistently delivered to your subscribers’ inbox, not the spam folder.

As you have seen from the tips we shared here, it is not difficult to comply with the law and with the rules set by email clients to filter spam messages. If you are diligent to obtain consent and offer genuine value in your messages, your subscribers will be actually eager to open your email newsletters.

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