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6 ways to avoid your emails ending up in spam folders

Spam Illustration

In this article we discuss ways to help maintain your email deliverability. Email marketing is a powerful tool that every business can harness and if your server or domain falls foul of spam filters, it can be difficult to get them back on track.

Lets get started!

Not following best practice with your HTML templates


Here are a few design recommendations to guide you in creating that perfect email campaign.

  • Don’t go wider than 600 pixels.
  • Keep it simple. Design with readability in mind and be aware that most of your readers will be on mobile devices. So steer away from complicated layouts and multiple columns.
  • The majority of times, images will not be preloaded and your design needs to look good without them.
  • Keep images as thumbnails and steer away from having design elements as images. Definitely don’t place body copy in an image as it will be missed if not loaded.
  • Not everyone has the same fonts and it is important to use popular fonts that are pre-installed in major operating systems.
  • The majority of readers will be on a mobile device, so make sure that your email looks amazing on small devices. Make sure it loads quickly and isn’t to image heavy.


Email templates are coded in HTML and here are some key points to consider.

  • Table elements are the best way to structure your emails.
  • Table coding has many attributes you can use to set the layout and spacing of your template.
  • Use basic CSS and write your styles in long form.
  • Inline CSS always works best across email client platforms.
  • Make sure that if you’re hosting your emails images, that the hosting server is reliable.
  • Stick to HTML, Javascript is not supported in most email clients.
  • Keep using a template you have tried and tested so you know it will work. It may take some time to get to a place where it works perfectly, however once it is done, you can concentrate on sending out amazing marketing emails that convert.

Spam Illustration

Spam-like content

Here are some key points to help you create that killer email campaign:

  • Do not use all caps anywhere in your email. Especially not in your subject line.
  • Do not overuse exclamation marks. They can make your email design look very unprofessional.
  • Don’t use spam trigger words such as, “FREE, “Money making,” “discounts, “claims,” and “bargain” in your email subject line.
  • Use spell check whilst drafting your email. Services like Grammarly can be very useful.
  • Keywords don’t really have a place within your email copy. Write your copy in a way that engages a person, not a robot.
  • Keep images relevant and don’t use too many.
  • Ask subscribers to add you to their address book so their spam filters know who you are.
  • Concentrate on keeping your content clean, concise and content that is extremely useful to your audience.

Spam laws being ignored

For many years now, email has been a great way to market your business online. You can reach your target audience very quickly and with much ease. There are a few laws that govern email marketing and it is worth reading up on them. Before sending out your campaigns, it is important to check that you are being compliant.

Here is a brief list of things you need to consider before sending out your campaigns:

  • Make sure you have the full permission to email everyone on your lists.
  • Don’t mislead the reader by using headers, subject lines and false email addresses that don’t represent what the email is about.
  • If your email is predominantly an advertisement, you need to state this to the reader.
  • Include a valid postal address within your email.
  • You must provide a way for the reader to opt-out of receiving further communications from you.
  • Opt-out requests need to be actioned quickly. Automating this using services like Mailchimp makes this very easy to control.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the Spam Law requirements and more information can be found here: 

Spam Illustration

Poor domain reputation

Your email sending reputation is based on the domain your are sending from. This reputation follows you everywhere you send an email.

What makes your domain receive a bad reputation?

This is based on the track record of your sending and receiving server.

Negative interactions look like the following:

  • High bounce rates
  • Low amounts of opens
  • High spam complaints

The accumulation of these factors mark your server as a low quality domain to send emails from. What makes for a good domain reputation?

This won’t come as much of a surprise that is the exact opposite of the above.

  • Low bounce rates
  • High open rates
  • Plenty of clicks
  • Low spam complaints

It is always worth before sending out your campaigns that you review the list you are sending to, the quality of the content within your email and the overall positive experience you’re creating with your email campaigns.

Bad IP reputation

Email providers and email filtering services work together to track email servers that are distributing spam. They do this to better their user experience and to limit the amounts of spam that get through to their users.

Elements they track are:

  • The amount of mail being sent through your server.
  • Content that is spam-like and matches aspects of their spam filters.
  • Complaints made about the domain and server IP address.
  • The amount of emails that have been sent to invalid email addresses.

These can all be maintain by keeping your server secure (making sure bots/hackers are not using your server to send spam emails), creating useful and targeted content for your audience and checking/cleaning your subscriber list regularly so you know exactly who you are sending to.

Failing email authentication

Email authentication is a way to show that emails from your server are not spam. Authenticating your emails helps stop harmful content and fraudulent use of your email server.

The most common way of authenticating emails are to set up DMARC, SPF and DKIM records on your domain and email server.

Our knowledge base has some useful articles on how to set these records:

Setting an SPF record

Receiving a lot of bounce messages for emails you haven’t sent?

Generate a DMARC record

Here are the key takeaways…

We all see spam on a daily basis and we know what it looks like. When you’re creating your email campaigns, analyse the key components of your email.

  • Is our subscriber list clean and targeting the right audience?
  • Is the design of our email simple and engaging?
  • Does the content give value to the reader?
  • Is our server safe and not being used to send unsolicited emails?
  • Are we maintaining our good server IP and domain reputation?

By ticking these boxes we can help towards making our email campaigns be as effective as possible.
We look forwards to seeing your future email campaigns drop in our inboxes.

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