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Why do my emails go into junk - 2019

Published: 19th June 2019
If you are sending email marketing, in order for it to be successful, the your message needs to reach the inboxes of your subscribers. From time to time, lots of us have deliverability problems and our lovingly crafted email marketing may be going into your recipient's junk.

In this video, we are going to explore the top reasons why this might be - after watching, you’ll have everything you need to know to increase the chances of your email marketing landing in the inbox, not the junk box.

Domain name not verified.


If you are using third party email marketing software to send your email marketing, to your viewers it will appear as being from you: using your company domain as the send from and reply to address. - But, it is actually being sent by your email marketing software, so, to your recipient's mail filter it looks like it is from one source but is actually from another. This can cause some mail filters to class the email as spam.

This is why, it’s really important to verify your sending domain address.

Verifying your sending domain has become vital in the last few years to ensure decent inbox placement of your email marketing. Verifying your sending domain involves adding an SPF record and a DKIM signature, the purpose of the is to add a seal of authenticity to your email send.

If you are an email blaster client, then we make this really easy for you by providing a quick guide with all of the required info, ready to just cut and paste into your domain settings.

Generic send from address


When sending your email marketing, lots of us use generic addresses as the send from details, typically these could be marketing@ , news@ or sometimes even no-reply@.

Whilst it’s handy to have a mailbox set up just for your email marketing, these types of mailboxes can trigger an over zealous mail filter. Some mail filters are set to class as spam anything that from a generic address.

It’s always a good idea to send any email marketing from your own mailbox, for example chris@, not only does this have a much lower chance of ending up in the junk, but marketing sent from a real person has much better engagement with viewers.

At the end of the day, people like to deal with people, sending from your own email address helps to build trust with your viewers.

Spam phrases contained within body text and/or subject header


When you send an email, your recipient's spam filter will analyze and score both your subject header line and the body text of your email.

These spam filters will screen your text against a database of thousands of phrases that have been associated with previous spam email. Typically, these phrases are generally sales related, such as:
Discount, promotion, special offer, free, don’t miss out or Sale.

It’s worth giving careful consideration to both your subject header line and body text, as these play a substantial part in whether your email will be delivered to the inbox or junk.

Any decent email marketing software should have an inbuilt spam checker tool.
This is great because it’ll identify any action that you need to take before sending any emails to ensure that your email is inbox friendly.

Too many images


When your email is being scanned by your recipient's email filter, one of the other factors that it is looking at is the ratio of images versus text.

Spam filters can be set to penalise anything that looks like it might be a marketing email. If your email has lots of images, but not very much text then this increases the chances of it ending up in the junk.

It’s always a good idea to support your images with enough text to keep the spam filters happy. Any decent email marketing software will take care of the heavy lifting for you by measuring the ratio between the two and advising you if you need to take action.

As a general rule of thumb, the ideal mailer should contain a 80:20 text to image ratio. With 80% of your mailer being text based. That is for an ideal mailer, but at a very minimum it should be at least 60% text, lower than this and you may find your mailer may be penalised.

Low engagement rates


When you send out email marketing, each send generates a record of what your viewers did with this send. This is interaction is termed as ‘engagement’ - if people are reading your email or clicking on any links contained within, then this generates a positive engagement history.

Alternatively, if people are not reading or clicking on what you are sending, then this generates a negative engagement history.

Your recipient’s mail filter will be able to see this engagement history and will decide where to deliver your email to based on this information, so if you have a history of low previous engagements, then this will increase the chances of delivery to junk.

Your recipient's mail filter makes a decision, that if you haven’t read or engaged with previous sends - then perhaps this isn’t an email that you want to receive.

Positive engagement history is created by qualifying your data and split testing mailers with different content. Taking the time to send the right email to the right people will ensure positive engagement, contributing good inbox placement.

Blocked I.P address or company domain


Another piece of information that your recipient’s mail filter can see is the history of the sending server or your company domain name.

If spam has been previously logged as coming from either a server that your account lives on - or from your own company domain name then either or both of these details could be added to a blacklist.

When your recipient’s mail server receives an email - it will scan these blacklists looking for your server or company domain. If either is listed then the email will either be blocked - or delivered to junk.

It’s worth double checking your data to make sure that everyone has properly opted in to receive your emails. If your recipients feel that your send is unsolicited, then they could report you to their email service provider, who, in turn may add your details to a blacklist.

Previous spam complaints


When your recipient receives your email, if they feel that it is unsolicited and they did not ask to receive it - they can click a button inside their email browser to ‘mark it as spam’. Their browser will then remember this choice and will automatically put all future emails into junk.

Each time a viewer does this, it is classed as a spam complaint. These spam complaints are attached to the sending domain and will follow the sender even if they switch email service provider.

This one really ties in with the last few points. Taking the time to qualify your data and what you are sending to them. This ensures that you are sending the right email to the right people.


Inconsistent previous sends in terms of volume/timing


When sending email marketing, it is important to send consistent volumes. Your send will carry with it a history of the previous activity of your sending server, one of the elements contained within is the volume that it has sent recently.

If a recipient mail server suddenly receives a high volume of email, from a server that is showing as having sent nothing or very small volume traditionally - this can trigger the spam filter.

Some mail filters can see a sudden spike in sending volume as activity from a compromised mail server, perhaps indicating that it had been hacked.

This is why it’s a good idea to send fairly regular volumes at fairly regular times. The other bonus is that your recipients are more likely to engage positively with your send, if they are expecting it at certain intervals.

Poor opt in process followed for data


As we’ve discussed previously, your sending server and company domain domain carry a history of previous activity and how your viewers are engaging with your send. Positive history and engagements mean that spam filters look at your send favourably, and a negative history means that the filter could class your send as spam.

If your recipient's don’t recall how they asked to receive your mailer - they can mark it as spam. So if you’ve used a process like a soft opt in, where the opt in box is pre-ticked, then this doesn’t make for a decent opt in process.

Your recipients may mark your mailer as spam and unsubscribe if they feel that they didn’t recall opting in. These negative engagements will increase the chances your sends going into junk.

Using purchased lists


Most issues with poor deliverability can be associated with using purchased lists. As we’ve previously discussed, how people interact with your sends plays a huge part in if your recipient's mail filter will deliver your email to the inbox or into junk.

With purchased lists, if your recipients’ didn’t ask to receive your mailer, they won’t know who you are and won’t be expecting to receive your mailer.

This alone typically prompts people into unsubscribing and reporting your send as spam. If enough people do this, it pretty much torpedoes any future email marketing that you do.

Also, if you sent to a list that you’ve bought, your sending volume will be inconsistent, as you’ll probably be going from small volume into much larger volume. This, as we know can also cause deliverability issues.

So, as much as it’s tempting to quickly acquire lots of email addresses, purchased lists can be fraught with issues.
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