How to Make Sure Your Marketing Emails Don’t Get Marked as Spam

You’re spending good money on marketing emails, and the last thing you want is for them to end up in your subscribers’ spam folders. Yet, that’s what happens a lot of the time. The key to avoiding that outcome is to understand why emails get marked as spam and what you can do to prevent that.

Emails that find their way to the spam folder are unlikely to be read unless someone goes searching for them. That means that if your emails are there, you might as well be burning money. A plan to maximize the ROI on your email marketing campaigns must include a strategy to avoid the spam filter.

Why Do Emails Get Marked as Spam?

Emails rarely get marked as spam without a good reason—but it’s important to remember that spam filters make mistakes. They’re only as effective as they’re programmed to be, and that means that you have to be aware of the triggers that cause them to capture emails.

Emails are sometimes marked as spam because they come from shared domain names. If you’re using a Yahoo or Hotmail address as the return address on a marketing email, then there’s a good chance that it will be marked as spam.

Another common trigger is the use of overly hyped language. If your subject line and email are loaded with words like Sale, Limited Offer, Act Now, and other sales-y phrases, then the chances are quite high that a spam filter will redirect it to the recipient’s spam folder.

If a recipient doesn’t open your emails, then over time, their email provider’s spam filter may decide that they are spam even if the recipient doesn’t mark them as such. As algorithms grow increasingly sensitive, the chances increase that unopened emails may be designated as spam.

Finally, if a recipient marks an email as spam then your email will almost certainly wind up in the spam folder. You might like to think that someone who subscribed to your list wouldn’t do such a thing—but they might.

How to Improve Your Email Delivery

There are things you can do to increase the chances that your emails will reach recipients’ inboxes instead of their spam filters. First and foremost, make sure to use a double opt-in for your list. Don’t buy email addresses and require every subscriber to click an email and confirm their subscription.

The double opt-in accomplishes two things. First, it gets subscribers to look for your first email and find it if it’s in the spam folder. They can then choose the “Not Spam” option to ensure it gets delivered to their inbox. Second, it weeds out people who may have subscribed without really being interested in your products.

Next, use a dedicated domain name as your return address. As stated previously, free email providers are often used by spammers. If you pay to register a domain name, your emails are less likely to be marked as spam.

The third thing you can do is to avoid over-the-top language, particularly in your headlines. Your copy should be persuasive without hitting people over the head. A compelling headline that offers the promise of valuable information is far more likely to be opened than a direct sales pitch—and that can also address the issue of emails not being opened.


The key to ensuring that your emails reach inboxes instead of being relegated to the spam folder is to weed out people who aren’t in your target audience, use a legitimate domain name, and provide valuable content without the hype. If you do that, then you’ll increase your open rates—and your sales. Please click subscribe if you’d like to be notified when we release new training videos like this one.