If your emails are being sent to the Junk or “Spam” folder, there’s usually a good reason, and we can help. The first rule is not to panic, this very common Email delivery issue can often be fixed very easily.
Why is this happening?
ISPs and other large receivers are constantly trying to deal with the Billions of spam emails they receive daily. User feedback is their top priority, so if your email looks & acts like spam, chances are this will happen to you.
This is not a complete list. These percentages are meant to be a base estimate. Each ISP has their own way of filtering spam.
Spam complaints are the #1 reason email gets sent to the Junk box. If the people you are sending to complain or mark your email as “Junk” - chances are that’s where it’s going to go. If this number grows and you do nothing about it, you will start to see this problem get worse.
Low Engagement (Opens/Clicks) is another reason for ISPs to filter your mail. You need to send emails people want to receive. If they are not actively engaged with the content you are sending them, you will see an increase in emails sent to Junk (or blocked).
Authentication is an excellent way to secure your mail in transit and help establish trust by showing the ISP that you are who you say you are. Over time, with the right sending habits, they will begin to trust your brand and send your mail to the Inbox. If you suddenly start hitting the Junk box, you should check nothing has changed (or broken) with your Authentication. If you have any questions, please contact our Support team.
Blacklistings Getting blacklisted is the result of having a dirty list. If you have spam traps on your list, it is only a matter of time before you get blacklisted. Spam traps are email addresses that exist for the sole reason of catching spam and if they are allowed to accumulate, the problem is only going to get worse. This number varies greatly because some Blacklists carry more weight than others.
Sender Reputation is a report card of your sending habits over time. Having a low open/click rate, sending to spam traps, generating too many bounces or a high complaint rate will all lead to a poor sender reputation and affect your delivery.
Content is not the player it once was when it comes to filtering mail to the Inbox, but it’s still a deciding factor particularly when your sender reputation is “low” or otherwise “unknown” to the receiver. See Content Tips & Tricks section below on how to help keep your content clean.
Spam trap rate The more spam traps you have in your list, the worse your deliverability will be. It’s important to understand that not all spam traps will get you blacklisted, many ISPs maintain their own list of expired/dormant addresses and the more you send to these the worse you look. Confirming new signups, keeping your list engaged and removing those who do not open/click is paramount to keeping your contact list clean.
Bounce rate The number of bounces you generate is another way for ISPs to determine the quality of your list. It’s very important that you remove them from your active list on an on-going basis. Emails that repeatedly bounce over time should be removed in order to ensure the delivery for those that do want to receive your emails. Your bounce rate should never exceed 5.0%.
Unsubscribe rate is another indication the emails you are sending are no longer of interest to the recipient. It’s very important you remove people that unsubscribe as soon as possible. A high unsubscribe rate is an indication you might have a problem with your sign-up process. This rate should never go over 1.0% and ISPs will look at this when deciding whether to send your mail to the Inbox.
Diagnosing the problem
Is your email going to junk everywhere or is it just at Hotmail? or Gmail? If you don’t know, it’s time to do some testing. The solution is to find where the problem lies so you can deal with it properly before it really starts to impact your business.
Have you seen a drop in opens/clicks at any one ISP?
Perhaps it’s time to segment those addresses out of your list and send them a re-engagement campaign to try and win them back. Using some form of incentive is an excellent way to try and get them re-engaged. This should be done every 6-12 months depending on how often you send.
When all else fails, you can also try asking them if they want to stay on your list with a Reconfirmation email. If they don’t reply, or click to reconfirm it’s time to remove them from your list permanently. There is no sense in emailing someone that never opens, especially if that number grows to a point where it starts affecting your sender reputation and deliverability.
Content Tips & Tricks
- Avoid the overuse of ‘SPAM’ words (Credit, casino, Free, !!!, Bold, ALL CAPS)
- Avoid image-only campaigns
- Make sure the Text version matches the HTML version of your campaign
- Make sure to test what your email looks like on a mobile device (or dark mode)
- Segment your list and Personalize content to each recipient
- Ask your recipients to add you to their Contact or “Safe” list, or click ‘Always display images from this sender’
- Image-to-text-ratio: A mix of 60% text / 40% image coverage is ideal. We also recommend having several, smaller images with clear, descriptive Alt-text. This will help:
- Prevent email to be flagged as junk
- Decrease delivery times
- Help loading time of emails
- Not all images should be touching
- At least 400 characters of text minimum
Best Practices to ensure a solid Sender Reputation:
- Never use a purchased, harvested or “scraped” list of any kind
- Make sure you have a direct relationship with every single address on your list
- Start confirming new signups (using a confirmed or double opt-in process) and Test your form signup process by signing yourself up for the newsletter and see where it lands
- Ask people if they want to be on your mailing list. DO NOT sign them up automatically
- Make your signup process clear, explaining what someone is signing up for, when they will start receiving emails, and how often they can expect to hear from you
- Use a consistent From name and email address
- Use your own domain so you can setup Authentication
- Avoid no-reply@ From emails
- Use a subject line that truthfully describes the content of your email
- Honor all opt-out requests immediately
- Abide by Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL, CAN-SPAM, GDPR, etc.. )
- Keep your list current and up to date
- Avoid third-party links and URL shorteners you have no control over
- Don’t reactivate old addresses
- Send emails on a regular basis to keep your list as clean as possible
Golden Rule: A good Sender Reputation is something you need to earn if you expect to hit the Inbox. Cultivate and nurture your reputation by confirming new signups, practicing good list hygiene, sending valuable content people to want to receive and keeping your audience engaged.
For more assistance, please reach out to the Cakemail Support team. There are many things we can do to avoid your emails hitting the Junk folder. Don’t put off what can be done today.