Tips to keep your mail out of the spam folder

Digital marketing is a vital part of every business’s overall marketing strategy, and reaching out to existing customers and potential new leads by email is a major component of any campaign.   

We have all experienced email spam from time to time, and the last thing any of us want is for our carefully crafted marketing message to be piled into the spam folder along with the Nigerian scam letters and cosmetic enhancement promotions.   

Understanding the workings of a modern spam filter is not always easy, and they have increased in both complexity and effectiveness over recent years. Gmail’s filter is at least 99 percent effective, and the technology from specialist suppliers such as ups the ante to 99.99 percent.   

The following tips will help you understand how to stay on the right side of the technology and ensure your marketing message is heard.   

CAN-SPAM compliance  

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, better known as CAN-SPAM, was signed into law by George W. Bush in December 2003. Following the guidance not only ensures you are not breaking any federal laws, it also provides a useful seven-point plan for keeping your messages clear of the spam filters:  

  1. Do not use false or misleading header information 

  1. Do not use deceptive subject lines 

  1. If applicable, identify the communication as an ad 

  1. Give the recipient a transparent opt-out option for future communications 

  1. Honor any such opt out requests 

  1. Tell the recipient where you are located 

  1. Actively monitor any marketing communications that others are making on your behalf 


The Act is only applicable to certain types of communication, and if you are just sending transactional or relationship emails, you might be exempt. However, the above guidance points constitute good practice whatever type of message you are sending, so make a point of following them regardless.  

email-spam_small Tips to keep your mail out of the spam folder Technology

Trigger words  

Filters use a number of metrics to decide whether or not a message is spam, but one of the main ones is to check content and particularly headers for certain trigger words. Avoid making your subject box look too “salesy,” and leave the upper case letters and exclamation points at home.   

Black lists  

If you’ve made mistakes in the past, it is easy to find yourself on a blacklist, meaning that just receiving an email from you will put the spam filters in a state of elevated alert. Don’t panic, it is possible to recover from this, but only if you know what you are facing. There are several free ways to check, including Free Email Blacklist Lookup, which will not only tell you if someone has blacklisted you, but will also provide guidance on how to get your server removed from the blacklist and recover your good reputation.  

Keep it simple  

Attachments, images, videos and Javascript all arouse suspicion. Keep your communication largely text based. One or two small images are no problem, but anything more will put you at an immediate disadvantage.