Email marketing is a must-have for any brand, business, or organization these days. In fact, emailing messages, offers, and newsletters is a critical way to reach your audience effectively. Research shows that it has one of the highest ROIs, is mobile-friendly, easy to personalize, and fosters high levels of interaction and engagement with receivers.
However, if you’re currently using email marketing, then you also realize that just getting your messages through to your audience’s email can be an ongoing challenge. In fact, studies show that only 79% of commercial emails actually hit the receiver’s inbox, and that number is continuing to shrink year by year. Faced with an unprecedented barrage of email messages (many of them illegitimate), email servers are filtering and flagging messages as spam like never before.
Here are the 10 most common reasons why emails go to spam:
- You didn’t get permission
The single biggest reason why email marketing gets sent to spam is that the sender doesn’t have permission! In fact, unless your email recipients have subscribed or opted-in (even if you met them in real life and got their email address from the business card they handed you!), you could be in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act. That comes with stiff fines as well as virtually ensuring that you’ll end up in their Spam folder.
- Your IP Address is flagged for Spam use
Have you ever heard of “guilt by association?” Well, if your email was sent through a server that has previously been flagged for sending spam, your legitimate email may automatically fall under that label, too. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use reputable email platforms like MailChimp, Infusionsoft, CoverKit, and others.
- Your Open Rates are subpar
Webmail providers track the rate of email opens, as well as how many are deleted, in their spam filtering formulas. In fact, 26% of email campaigns that are mistakenly flagged as spam can be attributed to low open rates.
- You’re not familiar to your subscribers
Even if someone did opt-in or subscribe to your email newsletter, they may not remember you – leading them to not open your email or even report it as spam. Spam complaints affect about 21% of all emails that never make it to a recipient’s inbox, whether that’s legitimate or not.
- Low Mailbox Usage rates are holding your emails back
About 19% of emails that don’t hit your audience’s inbox are being held back because of low mailbox usage. Mailbox providers have carefully tuned spam filter algorithms, and one of the major factors is the ratio of the active versus inactive email accounts you’re sending to. So, if you’re sending to a large number of email addresses that aren’t being used or have been dormant for a long period, it raises a red flag with the spam filters.
- A subject line that misrepresents the email
Your subject lines should accurately characterize the content in your email, as well as who it is coming from. But, too often, companies and marketers try to get too crafty with their email subjects just to attract attention. Furthermore, there are a whole lot of scams out there who blatantly lie in their subject lines. According to a Litmus and Fluent survey, 50% of email users have felt “cheated, tricked, or deceived” by at least one email subject line that’s hit their inbox. Furthermore, according to the CAN-SPAM act, a subject line that’s intended to mislead the audience is actually illegal.
- Misleading sender information
Shifty scammers or overzealous advertisers may pretend to be someone they’re not in the “from,” “reply-to,” or “to” fields. So, if you list your name or set up your address to look like you’re the president of a company that doesn’t exist, affiliated with a public agency, or display other authority you don’t have, you’re in violation of the CAN-SPAM act AND ensuring that your emails are marked as spam.
- There’s no “Unsubscribe” link
There’s nothing that screams “SPAM!” louder than an email without a clear (and usable) unsubscribe button. According to internet protocol and CAN-SPAM law, you must have a link to unsubscribe or opt-out of any email list, which usually is presented clearly at the bottom of the email. Once they click, the process of unsubscribing also has to be simple and easy, so you can’t make them fill out extraneous information, pay any money, or visit more than a single page on your website. When someone does unsubscribe, you also must process that request and remove them from any subsequent mailings within ten days.
- Your email is missing a physical address
One of the other requirements for a legal, legit email is a valid mailing or physical address. To ensure transparency for any company or sender, the email must contain a current street address, although a valid P.O. Box will work.
- Your email contains words that trigger Spam filters
To stem the tide of spam, many email providers filter for certain trigger words that reek of unsolicited messages. Common words that trigger spam filters include:
- cancel at any time
- check or money order
- click here
- dear friend
- e-mail marketing
- for only (dollar amount)
- great offer
- increase sales
- order now
- promise you
- special promotion
- this is not spam
- to be removed