Ahh – you’ve crafted the perfect email — the message is on brand, there is a terrific call to action and the design is pleasing — now comes the tricky part: making sure the message is delivered. According to Optinmonster, one in six emails get sent to spam or blocked from inboxes altogether. Follow these tips to avoid having your email marked as spam. 

Always have permission before sending an email. Only opted-in addresses should be included in your email audience. Organically building your email list is in your best interest to ensure engagement. One option to ensure that subscribers are consenting to your emails is by sending a confirmation or welcome email that requires an action; this method is called providing a double opt-in.

Clean up your email list periodically. Email service providers categorize undeliverable email addresses as either a hard bounce or soft bounce. Hard bounce addresses mean the message is not accepted by the receiving email server. It is recommended to remove these addresses from your database. Soft bounces are received by the recipient’s mail server but not delivered to the individual’s mailbox for a variety of reasons. Continued inclusion of soft bounces should be monitored for engagement activity. Analyzing engagement activity of email recipients will let you know if they should continue to be included in mailings. It is recommended to treat users who have not opened your emails in at least six months as inactive. Having a high percentage of undeliverability or inactivity will identify your IP address as a spam contributor.  

Be transparent about who is sending the message. The originating domain name must be registered. The email address must accurately identify the person or business sending the message. Additionally, your message should be accompanied by a valid postal address to provide a degree of traceability.

Create a subject line that avoids spam trigger words. Choosing words that sound needy, far-fetched or unethical are a sure way to get your message flagged as spam. There are lists available online to identify trigger words, like these from Hubspot and Outfunnel.

Be thoughtful about your email’s content. Balance the ratio of text and images within your email as spam filters block image-heavy content. Mailchimp advises a ratio of 80% text to 20% images in an email. Attachments are another design technique to avoid. Use a call-to-action button or provide a link within your email to send recipients to a landing page.

Include an “unsubscribe” or “manage your subscription” area in your message. Making it easy for people to opt-out of future emails reduces the chances of having the recipient mark a message as spam. When users tell you they don’t want to receive more emails, honor and acknowledge their request promptly. This practice is another step in managing your email list.