What can I do to prevent my emails ending up in spam?

You may have noticed that some emails you receive end up directly in your spam folder. You rarely look at these emails, and you usually delete the contents of the spam folder without seeing them. This can happen with your newsletters! But why do emails end up in your spam folder, even if they are not spam?

What is spam?

The term "spam email" (or "junk mail") refers to malicious or unsolicited emails that do not offer any added value to the recipient. The messages are untrustworthy and often have fraudulent intentions. They aim to manipulate the recipient to take action beneficial to the sender - e.g. click a link or disclose confidential data, etc.... Two types of spam emails can be identified:

  1. Criminally motivated messages.
  2. Unsolicited marketing emails.

To ensure that recipients are spared these emails as far as possible, email clients have various spam filters. These recognise spam emails, move them to the appropriate folder or delete them immediately. Every email client (like web.de, yahoo, etc...) has its own spam filter. Each one works differently, has a different rating system, has its own specific parameters and lists. Essentially they rate the email senders' reputation.

What is an email sender reputation?

An email sender's reputation is a score given by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to the company that sends the email. This score represents the ranking of your IP address compared to others - so the score is critical to how deliverable your emails are. The higher the score, the more likely it is that your email will reach its intended recipients. If the score falls, the emails are sent to the recipient's spam folder or rejected from the outset.

The ISPs use a similar approach to assign scores. For example, if a company repeatedly sends emails to inactive addresses, they are temporarily blocked or put on a blacklist, in which case the email addresses are permanently blocked.

The following factors influence the score:

  • The number of emails sent by the company.

  • How many recipients have marked the company's emails as spam.

  • How often the service provider has marked the mails as spam.

  • Whether the company is on various blacklists.

  • How often the emails cannot be delivered, for example because they were sent to unknown users.

  • How many recipients open, reply, forward, delete or click on links in the email.

  • How many recipients unsubscribe from the list.

  • Whether the SPF and DKIM are correct.

  • The accuracy of metadata, format and email structure.

How do I get a good score?

For a good score you can optimise three areas:

  1. Technical equipment.
  2. Data quality.
  3. Content of emails.

Technical equipment

  • Verify your domain.
  • Link your email sender address to an active website.
  • DON'T use free web-based email addresses as senders (e.g. @gmail etc...).
  • Also avoid addresses like noreply@xxx.

Data quality

  • Look after your address list (Quentn will help you: the addresses for which emails could not be delivered are automatically (temporarily) blocked. This way, you avoid repeatedly sending emails to inactive addresses).
  • Only use contacts who have registered via a form and confirmed their email address: by using the double opt-in process, you can ensure that the recipient is also interested in your messages - after all, they have signed up for them.

Content of emails

  • Write good subject lines
  • Avoid spam words
  • Use fewer images and pay attention to the correct text/image ratio (70:30). The faster the email can be loaded, the better - therefore, the images should be less than 1 MB in size.
  • Make your emails interesting. This may sound strange to you, but the behavior of the recipient has a major impact on your score. If they don't open your email or only briefly open it, this has a negative effect on you. So, give them incentives to interact with you.