How to Keep Your Marketing Emails Out of the Spam Folder

Email marketing is a great way to reach customers, and should be a pillar of any small business marketing strategy. Why is that? 

  • More than 90% of consumers check their email at least once a day. 
  • Consumers who receive email promotions spend roughly 138% more than people who don’t receive email marketing offers. 
  • Email marketing conversion rates are at least three times higher than social media conversion rates.
  • According to a study by Adestra, companies are attributing an average of 23% of their total sales to the email marketing channel, and their revenue from email has increased by 28% in one year.

 So it's easy to see why your favorite brands have adopted email marketing, but as the amount of email traffic increases, the bar is being raised for the content that lands in an inbox. Even if you craft a well-targeted email that presents value to the recipient, it could be filtered as "spam" before the recipient ever gets a chance to see it. Being aware of the following mistakes will help your emails land safely in the recipient's coveted inbox and stay away from the dreaded spam folder.

 1) Legal Violations: 

Make sure you are in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Emails in violation of the Act will be weeded out and sent to the spam folder. Not to mention that violations of CAN-SPAM are subject to penalties of up to $16,000 for EACH email (yikes!). Here are some things you should know:

  • An "unsubscribe" button must be included in all emails. 
  • Unsubscribe requests must be honored within 10 days. 
  • Your "From" address must be legitimate and accurately reflect who you are.
  • Your subject line must not be deceptive and must represent the content if your email.
  • A physical mailing address is included in all emails.  

Now, please be aware that Golden Tusk Marketing is NOT a law firm and you should not construe any of the above content as legal advice.

2) Insufficient Permissions: 

Sending unsolicited emails or purchasing email lists are a sure way to end up in the spam folder. The recipient must agree to receive your emails. 

3) Spammy Email Content: 

Spam filters are constantly becoming smarter. Each time someone manually moves a message to the spam folder, spam filters recognize the action and analyze why it was marked as spam. You might think that using words and phrases such as “free,” “discount,” “open immediately,” “save money,” or “act now” will get people's attention, but in reality, words like that can land you in the spam folder. Here are some more content mistakes you want to avoid:

  • Excessive Images: Don't use TOO many images coupled with very little or no text .
  • ALL CAPS: No one likes to get yelled at.
  • Sloppy HTML: For example, using Microsoft Word for HTML will likely add extra formatting to the code, which sends up red flags for spam filters.
  • Misleading Subject Lines: Don't use "Re:" or "Fwd:" in the subject line when you haven't communicated with someone before. Just don't.
  • Bad Links: Make sure you test your links to ensure they work properly. And avoid adding links to unreputable sites.  
  • Too Many Links: Including an abundance of hyperlinks is an easy way to get flagged as spam. Of course, links are an important part of your email, so using them is recommended, just don't overdo it.
  • Exclamation Points: Don't use too many exclamation points in your subject line. Spam filters tend to pick up on this and assume it's spam content.  

4) Unauthenticated Sender ID: 

Internet Service Providers authenticate sender identities to ensure they are legitimate. Make sure your emails originate from a properly configured server to avoid red flags.  

5) Not Appealing to the Recipient: 

Pay attention to what your customers want, how often they want it, and whether they open it. Don't send daily emails if your opt-in said "occasional" updates and deals. 


Launching an effective email campaign is easier said than done. It's all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time, and staying out of the spam folder while you’re at it. 

Need help with email marketing? Contact Golden Tusk Marketing. Check back soon for a new blog on how to craft the perfect email for your customers!

Annie Smith

Golden Tusk Marketing LLC, Jupiter, Florida, United States