Best Practices To Avoid Emails Being Marked As Spam

Published on August 9, 2023 by David Zhang

Best Practices To Avoid Emails Being Marked As Spam

In the era of digital communication, email remains a primary tool for marketers and sales teams to reach out to potential customers and engage with current ones. Yet, with the rise of sophisticated spam filters and increasingly cautious email users, it’s more challenging than ever to ensure your important messages evade the dreaded spam folder.

For B2B companies, where the email strategy can significantly drive lead generation and revenue streams, best practices to avoid being marked as spam are essential. Let's unearth what these practices entail and how they can be adopted to optimize email deliverability.

Understanding Spam and Filters

First things first: spam emails are unsolicited messages, often of a promotional nature, sent in bulk. Spam filters are the gatekeepers, designed to protect users from unsolicited mail. They use complex algorithms to analyze incoming emails for common characteristics of spam.

Sender Reputation and Authenticity

One of the critical factors influencing whether an email is marked as spam is the reputation of the sender.

  • Make sure you have a reliable IP address. Dedicate time to build its reputation if it's new by gradually increasing your volume of quality communication.
  • Authenticate your emails with standards like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. This can enhance trust with email servers and recipients alike by confirming that the emails are indeed from you.

Recipient Engagement and List Hygiene

Engagement rates are pivotal; they reflect how recipients interact with your emails.

  • Monitor your engagement rates closely. High bounce rates, low open rates, and poor click-through rates are negative signals.
  • Implement list hygiene by regularly removing inactive subscribers and making it easy for users to unsubscribe. An engaged, clean email list is preferred by spam filters.

Email Content

The content of your email is meticulously scrutinized by spam filters. A few missteps in this area can fast-track your emails into oblivion.

  • Steer clear of 'spammy' language that is typically associated with phishing or clickbait.
  • Maintain a balanced image-to-text ratio, as excessive use of images is a common spam flag.
  • Limit the use of links and ensure that the ones included are to reputable sites.
  • Regularly test your email content against spam filters to see if anything in it might be causing problems.

Formatting and Personalization

Personalization is not just about adding a first name. It's about relevant content.

  • Avoid generic email blasts. Tailor content to recipient interests and behavior.
  • Keep formatting professional and reader-friendly, avoiding the excessive use of caps, colors, fonts, and exclamation points.

Technical Considerations

A few technical aspects of your email can signal its legitimacy or lack thereof to filters and clients.

  • Consider your sending frequency and timing. Sending too many emails too quickly can raise flags.
  • Adopt a double opt-in process for subscribers. This ensures they expect and want your emails.
  • Flip the switch on feedback loops offered by ISPs. These will let you know if recipients mark your emails as spam, allowing you to clean your list accordingly.
  • Monitor delivery reports for issues like blacklisting, which can seriously impact deliverability and often suggests deeper problems with your email practices.

Legal Compliance

Adhering to email laws isn’t just good legal sense—it’s good for your deliverability.

  • Adhere strictly to CAN-SPAM Act (US), GDPR (EU), CASL (Canada), and other local legislation related to email communication.
  • Provide a clear unsubscribe link in every email. This requirement under CAN-SPAM also helps maintain list health.
  • Maintain an accurate physical address in your emails, another CAN-SPAM stipulation.

Engagement Strategy

Finally, a thoughtful approach to how you interact with your list can have big payoffs in avoiding the spam folder.

  • Segment your audience to ensure that you're sending relevant information to each subset of recipients.
  • Ask recipients to whitelist your emails by adding your address to their contacts. This is a strong positive signal to email providers.
  • Test with a small segment of your email list before sending out a big campaign.


The practice of refining your email strategy to circumvent spam filters is iterative and ongoing. It involves a keen understanding of both human engagement and the technical underpinnings of email delivery systems.

While there's no unassailable formula to ensure 100% deliverability, following these best practices will significantly minimize the risk of emails landing in spam and improve the efficiency of your email campaigns. By focusing on the quality and relevance of each email sent, respecting recipient preferences, maintaining list hygiene, and adhering to legal guidelines, companies can maintain a reputable sender status while nurturing and expanding their customer base.

Incorporating these practices into your email strategy is akin to playing a strategic, high-stakes game of digital chess. Every move counts in communicating value and evoking engagement. It’s these mindful tactics that distinguish professional and valued messages from any unwelcome distractions in an inbox. Remember, the aim is not to just reach an inbox but to engage, convert, and build lasting relationships with clients, one respectful, value-packed email at a time.

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