Way too often I get asked by organizations why emails that they send are automatically sent to the recipients spam (also called junk) folder. The recipient of course usually doesn’t check their spam folder therefore they assume that they haven’t received an email message from the sender.
You must get your house in order before sending your first piece of mail. Otherwise, your mail will end up in the spam folder, may not be delivered at all, or you may be blocked from sending any more mail. Chris Wheeler, Amazon Web Services
Why are my emails being sent to spam?
There are many reasons that email messages are automatically filtered as spam. Spam filters typically score each message based on various factors. If a threshold score is met then the email message will be sent to the spam folder. Some of the factors taken into consideration when scoring each message are:
- The subject line (don’t try sending with a subject line like ‘Buy Cheap Viagra’),
- the content type of an email (include text and don’t add text as images to email messages),
- the words used in a message (these are termed trigger words; are all analysed by junk filters and a score is calculated for your message as to whether it seems to be spam or not),
- if the sending server is authenticated to send from the domain (DKIM and SPF records) and
- whether the domain is a know spam sending domain.
What happens if I get marked as a spammer often?
Where the cumulative effect of sending spam messages comes to play is that spam filters are usually learning systems with feedback loops that share data. What this results in, is that once a sending domain has had a certain number of email messages marked as spam, then all messages from that domain will automatically be identified as spam. Many organizations also share their lists of known spam senders; lists of known spammers are distributed by SpamCop, Spamhaus and SURBL and others.
Why does Mailchimp care if I send spam?
When you send a campaign from Mailchimp your email messages are sent from Mailchimp’s servers using your email address. Should a recipient mark your message as spam then your domain quality is degraded in addition to the quality of the Mailchimp domain. Once your messages sent through Mailchimp get marked as spam at a rate more often than acceptable (typically when your spam rate is above 0.01%) then Mailchimp will suspend your account and may ask that you reconfirm all your subscribers. This makes perfect sense when one understands that Mailchimp’s domains are at risk from your email messages being marked as spam.
I purchasing a list of email addresses. Can I send email marketing to these email addresses?
Mailchimp too is very strict about their customers not sending campaigns to subscribers in purchased lists. Besides legal issues surrounding people sending email marketing to people that haven’t agreed to receive the messages, there are typically very high rates of being marked as a spammer when a person sends to people that haven’t agreed to receive marketing.
Ultimately it just isn’t worth sending email messages to people that may mark your messages as spam.