Preventing Your Cold Emails From Being Flagged as Spam

As a salesperson who leverages cold emails to prospect to leads, what keeps you up in the wee hours of the night? Spam filters, most likely.

The pesky tiny gatekeepers decide which emails land in the inbox and which ones are relegated to oblivion.

It doesn't matter the thoughtfulness and personalization in your email or how your offer could benefit your prospect; if spam filters flag it, you've lost the battle even before firing the first bullet.

As email marketing and automation get more popular, spam filters have gotten more sophisticated. With 45.1% of email traffic comprising spam messages, there's a need for this.

But between the crossfire between spam filters and spammers, your relevant, thoughtful, and well-crafted email can often be the casualty.

So, what are the leading spam filter triggers? And how are savvy salespeople adapting? This detailed piece has all you need to know.  

What Is Spam?

Any inappropriate or irrelevant emails forwarded in bulk to contacts before adequate research and qualification can be considered spam. These generic, template and impersonal messages don't offer value or precise solutions to the recipient's needs.

ESPs or email service providers install filters in their systems to block unnecessary emails from entering users' inboxes. The spam filters check several parameters and use different approaches to identifying spam. It can be challenging to avoid them.

Fortunately, knowing the primary triggers and how to avoid them increases your chances of landing in your prospect's inbox. 

Triggers That Cause an Email to Be Marked as Spam 

Always watch out for the following to avoid your prospect's spam box:

You Weren't Authorized

The first commandment of cold emailing is to always seek permission before sending the email. This is obvious but always avoid any illegitimate means to obtain email lists.

The approach is inefficient, unethical and you can potentially brush your shoulders with the law. This may also land you in a spam folder, or you could be fined.                    

No Physical Address

Surprisingly, you'll likely end up in the spam folder if you fail to include a valid postal address in your message. You'll notice that almost every legitimate company embeds their physical postal address in their emails, mainly at the bottom side. 

It's all about ensuring traceability.

 "Spam Like" Content

Spam filters also check your email content to determine whether it qualifies for the inbox or spam folder. Common questionable trigger words include:

  • Earn
  • Guarantee
  • Free
  • Opportunity
  • Xanax
  • Viagra
  • Winner
  • Sex
  • Miracle, etc.

They also check for phrases like "your income," "subject to credit approval," "meet singles," "call now," or "you're a winner!". Other triggers include abnormal punctuations, long and suspicious URLs, and excessive use of symbols.

An Opt-Out Link Is Missing

You've likely felt like you no longer needed emails from a particular brand. The experience can be super irritating if you just can't find the "unsubscribe link."

Annoying subscribers could land you in the spam folder. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to pay an FTC fine. Either way, you lose.

Email Attachments

Attachments trigger spam filters, reducing your likelihood of making it to your prospect's inbox. The filters consider every attachment to contain some hardcore cyber threat waiting to override the recipient's device. Also, such emails can slow the email's load time.

A Weak Headline

Your cold email headline is everything. Apart from your name, it's the only thing your prospect will check to decide whether they should read. Up to 69 percent of recipients acknowledge reporting spam emails exclusively based on the subject line. A weak headline has the same fate.

Spammers Use or Have Used Your IP Address

Even if you're sure you never send spam, your emails can still trigger spam filters if your current IP address is or has been used for spam. The same applies to when you use an unreliable email marketing service that another customer has used to send spam.

How to Avoid Hitting the Spam Folder in Your Cold Email Campaign

The following best practices will help you avoid spam filters, and you'll land where you should be - your prospect's inbox. 

Build The Domains Reputation

It's easier to avoid spam filters when your messages seem from a legit sender. The filters question sender reliability; hence it's vital to maintain an excellent reputation.

The following factors can help you assess your domain reputation:

  • Spam rate: The percentage of emails in your list directly sent to the spam folder.
  • Bounce rate: The fraction of emails rejected by receivers' email servers and returned to you directly.
  • Spam report: These are the recipients who've registered your email address as spam.

Ensure you keep the three metrics as low as possible to maintain an excellent domain reputation.

Target The Right Prospects

Always reach out to prospects who need your service or product. This improves the chances of getting replies and soaring your engagement rate. One effective way to reach the correct prospects is by establishing an ideal customer profile.

Be Wary of and Avoid Trigger Words

Filters are always wary of "spam like" words and phrases. So be sure to eliminate such content in your draft and avoid using multiple exclamation marks, numerous HTML, or too much capitalization.

Monitor Your IP Address' Reputation

Your IP address is registered in your domain and ratified to send messages or emails on its behalf. Avoid unreliable IP addresses when sending cold emails. Also, every address is rated, and low ratings will likely be viewed as spam. Therefore, it's crucial to maintain an excellent IP address reputation.

Personalize Your Emails

Email personalization substantially gets rid of spam-like content. It also allows the email recipient to notice and acknowledge your genuine efforts to reach out to them with your offering. As such, they'll open them, increasing your chances of engaging with leads and conversions.

Monitor The Recipient's Engagement Pattern

Spam filters continuously monitor your email pattern and how prospects engage with your messages. Engagement metrics like click rate and reply rate notify spam filters about the potential recipient's interest in receiving the message.

Whenever there's a positive engagement, it sends a positive credibility signal to the filters, which, in turn, enhances your sender reputation. Sendlio can help with this. 

Use A Recognizable Name

Known, recognizable sender names can help you avoid spam filters. They help your emails stand out from a massive collection of emails your potential customer or partner receives every day. These names also motivate the recipient to open the messages. Your prospect can identify you better, hence increasing the chances of hearing back from them.

Avoid attachments

Email attachments like PDFs and Word documents alert spam filters instantaneously. They also increase the email size; hence it takes longer to load emails. To bypass these issues, have our content on your website and attach a link. You may also attach a call-to-action to lead the recipient to the content's location.

Test Before Hitting Send

This move can significantly boost your email marketing campaign. In essence, these tests mimic spam filters and inform you when a cold email draft is likely to remain in the spam box. This helps you understand your emails' actual quality and identify any areas you need to improve.

Pay Attention to Subscribers Who've Never Signed Up

After sending your cold emails, you must constantly check them to understand respective subscribers' responsiveness. If some of them aren't opening your emails, reading the message, or just clicking on them, it'll be time to be proactive. Inactive subscribers substantially affect your domain's reputation. In this case, you might consider unsubscribing unresponsive recipients or deploying a re-engagement campaign.

Respect Those Who Unsubscribe

Providing an unsubscribe option within your cold email can help you avoid spam traps. If someone wants to opt-out, simplifying the process for them can make their experience better. By respecting their wishes, you'll easily avoid sending them unnecessary emails. 

Avoid Rich Media Content

Most recipients can disable viewing this type of content, so ensure you avoid including video embeds in your email. When you include them in your email, they'll display inappropriately in the recipient's email inbox, and the entire message will appear sloppy and messy.

This substantially harms your credibility, and you'll likely trigger spam filters. If you have to include media insertions, then be sure to include the content on your site, then attach a link to it. Also, refrain from using JavaScript and other dynamic scripts.

Double Check to Ensure Pictures Display Properly

Only a few recipients open messages to view images, and others block any emails containing photographs altogether. The photos won't display when blocked, giving your email a clogged and spam-like appearance that substantially affects its deliverability.

You can prevent this by including intelligible Alt text within the content. Furthermore, use the right tools to customize and edit the Alt text based on your needs.

Create Excellent Cold Emails to Beat Spam Filters

Compared to previous years, spam filters have become keener and more effective. Furthermore, anti-spam laws and legislation governing email service providers have become more stringent and rigid by the day.

This means you must always focus on technical issues to enhance your deliverability. You'll achieve positive growth by always paying attention to the leading triggers of email spam filters and following the above best practices.

It would also help to always work with a reputable email service provider and tailor your automated emails to your recipients' needs, and that's where Sendlio comes in. 

The cold email solution will empower you to gain and engage your audience ideally via automated email messaging.

Give it a try to build better audiences, develop dynamic newsletters, send reminders and alerts, and generate strategic automation.  


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