6 Common Mistakes to Land Your Emails in the Spam Folder

marketing mistakes

Winding up in the spam folder is a fate email marketers try desperately to avoid. If enough people mark your emails as spam, your deliverability can be permanently impacted and you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle going forward. So, it’s important that you do things right off the bat — avoid these practices to make sure your emails don’t land in the spam folder.

1. Sending to a Purchased List

First and foremost, do not send to a list of email addresses that you bought. Not only does this violate Klaviyo’s Terms of Service (as well as many other ESPs’), it’s also the fastest way to get people to mark your emails as spam. People on purchased lists haven’t opted in to receive marketing emails from you and likely have no idea who you are. Because of this, they won’t think twice before sending your emails to their spam folder.

While sending to a purchased list might expand your audience, it will do much more harm than good in the long run. The more recipients mark your email as spam, the more likely you are to wind up in other recipients’ spam folders. So, although your audience might be larger, it won’t matter because they won’t see your emails in the first place.

Only email people who have elected to hear from you by signing up on your website, at checkout, or by some other method. This is the best way to grow a healthy email list and avoid deliverability issues down the road.

2. Sending to an Unengaged List

Sending to an old, unengaged email list can be almost as bad as sending to a purchased list. If a subscriber hasn’t opened one of your emails in six months, they should be removed from your main newsletter list and placed on a win-back flow. Low open rates can contribute to poor deliverability, since some email clients, like Gmail, learn from users’ behavior. If a large number of recipient’s aren’t opening your emails, you’re more likely to wind up in others’ spam folders.

The best way to avoid this is by periodically pruning your main list to exclude unengaged subscribers. Treat these subscribers differently to re-engage them — specifically, send them win-back emails.

3. Hiding Your Unsubscribe Link

No one likes to see their email recipients unsubscribe. That said, if you make it difficult for subscribers to find the unsubscribe link, they’ll be more likely to mark your email as spam. Per the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act, you are legally required to include an unsubscribe link in all your marketing emails. Conventionally, these links are displayed at the very top or very bottom of an email, and this is where recipients will look for them.

4. Sending Too Frequently

Many companies email their subscribers every day, or even multiple times a day. Some subscribers may not expect to receive such a high volume of emails from you and consequently mark your emails as spam.

If you email your main list very frequently, consider including a manage preferences link alongside your unsubscribe link. Allowing your subscribers to choose how often they hear from you will make them less likely to unsubscribe altogether. Even better, allow subscribers to choose their mailing preferences upon signup.

5. Using Spammy Subject Lines

I’ve touched on this before, but it’s important to reiterate the impact of your subject lines. ALL CAPS or multiple exclamation points (!!!) can trigger spam filters, along with certain words or phrases like “Buy now” or “Free money now.” Here’s a list of words that commonly trigger spam filters.

In this same vein, it’s important that your subject line reflects the content of your email. Using misleading subject lines may cause some recipients to mark your emails as spam. Plus, people are more likely to open emails when they know what to expect.

6. Using Unclear “From” Labels or Reply-To Addresses

Similarly, people are more likely to open emails from senders that they recognize. This one is covered by the CAN-SPAM Act as well, but while using a “from” label like “Bob” might not technically be incorrect, it can still be misleading.

We recommend using a combination of the sender’s first name and the name of the company in your “from” labels. Your reply-to addresses should be clear as well, like “bob@yourcompany.com” or “info@yourcompany.com.” By identifying yourself upfront, you add legitimacy to your business.

Do you have any tips to add? Let me know in the comments!

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