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How to stop your email marketing being marked as spam

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Step by step guide to getting your marketing email passed the email spam filter

Verify your sending domain

If you are looking to send out a large number of emails a month and consistently then it would be advantageous to have your sending domain verified. This process lets you set up SPF and DKIM records with your web host. This in turn gives mailbox providers information to check if you are a legitimate business. 

SPF record

The SPF record is a file that an internet service provider or an email server uses to see a history of interactions with this email address. It contains data about how trustworthy the email address is and if it has a bad history then it will go to spam.

Steer clear from generic email address

It is always good practice to have an email address dedicated to marketing emails and sales enquiries. However, you do not want to use these emails as your outbound marketing attempts. You can use types like newsletter@ and support@ but a personal touch can help with building trust with the target audience. Try using a real name in the organisation as it can have a better open rate.

Spam phrases

There are several terms that you will have no doubt seen pop up in your inbox, if you use Gmail’s multiple inbox view then you may not even see some promotional emails. Gmail looks at the subject and body to see whether or not it contains certain phrases and will move it accordingly. If there are too many terms or repetition then it will go into the spam folder. Be cautious when using terms like, “don’t miss out”, discount and sale. They may grab an audience’s attention but it will also be picked up by the spam filters. 

Image overload

A wall of text is never an exciting first impression of an email. So you will want to use images. Although, spam filters are also aware that marketing materials are prone to overuse images.  The ratio you want to keep to is around 80/20. 80% text and 20% images. Do not exceed 60/40 as this would be easily picked up and marked as spam.


The ultimate goal of a marketing mailer is to have the potential clients engage with your business. Things like click through rates, unsubscribe rates and open rates will be recorded and affect the trust and legitimacy of your business emails. If there is a low engagement rate, or a higher than normal unsubscribe rate, then it will rank poorly when trying to get around a spam folder. Try not using purchased lists, or try splitting up the data you have to qualify what you are sending. 

Qualify your leads

This cannot be stressed enough, sending consistently and to the right people will impact your marketing efforts positively. Sending a generic sales email from a noreply@ email address to everyone in your client base will have a negative effect on your trust regarding spam filters. Tailor to a specific section of your audience, from a more descriptive or personal email address and you will have a lower unsubscribe rate.

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