David Bater

How You Can Improve Your Email Deliverability And Stay Out of The Spam Box

How You Can Improve Your Email Deliverability And Stay Out of The Spam Box


Do you constantly wonder about your email deliverability? Or, you just assume all mail sent from you is delivered? Also, if you know some of your emails are not getting through. then this post will help.

With any email service & any set of contacts, you will always have some mail end up in the spam folder. Because every receiving ISP is using different spam filtering techniques. And also, some ISP’s utilise some unpredictable and creative ways of combating spam. Therefore, you will undoubtedly have some mail filtered at some point when sending email campaigns. 

But, the good news is, it is not something you should dread or worry about. So, by following some pretty simple concepts you can dramatically reduce the chance of the email being filtered. And gradually improve your email deliverability.

Frequently asked questions about email delivery:

Engagement is Key

If your email communications are wanted, major ISPs will deliver them. But, if you are sending to many inactive contacts who don’t open your emails, ISPs will consider your mail “unwanted” and deliver it to the spam folder.

Remove inactive contacts

It’s essential to routinely cleanse inactive subscribers from your list or move them into segments that get mailed less often. This task, easily automated in your CRM, and I have several automation recipes for ActiveCampaing to help you with that.

An automated email engagement management tool also makes it super easy to remove the people from your list who haven’t opened in a long time. As a general rule, you should only send a marketing email to contacts who have opened an email from you in the past one to four months if you want to have top-notch email deliverability.

On the same note, make sure you’re constantly finding ways to add new subscribers to your list to combat the natural process of list churn.

The older your data, the harder it is to deliver your email.

Focus on good, engaging content

If your content is regularly engaging and valuable, your contacts will open. And your future emails will be delivered to the inbox.

Make sure you are sending content that your subscribers originally signed up to receive and, that is valuable and exciting for them. If you repeatedly send purely promotional, hard-sell offers, you will see read rates lower and your future email deliverability decline.

Review your signup process and try to think like your audience

What did your contacts expect to receive when they signed up?

If you are sending content they didn’t expect to receive they won’t read it. Also, they are likely to mark it as spam. Think about the language you use on your signup form and make sure it’s clear about what people are opting in to receive.

Also, make sure your email design is consistent. Don’t change out your logo or template too often because this will confuse recipients and possibly lead to spam complaints.

Send The Right Message At The Right Time

Send more targeted, triggered, personalised emails as opposed to batch and blast campaigns AKA “spray and pray”

It’s a lot more likely for large batches of mail to be identified as spam. Whereas one-off automation segmented messages will almost always be delivered and will keep your contacts engaged and happy.

At the most basic level, be sure you have a welcome message to greet your new subscribers after they signup. This welcome email will set their expectations of future email communication. When someone signs up for your list, they are introducing themselves to you. When you send a well thought out welcome email, you’re offering them a handshake.

Welcome Email

A well thought out ‘welcome email’ to every new subscriber has a profound effect on the future email deliverability to your new contact.

So, a good welcome email will include:

  • A personal note from you welcoming them to your tribe
  • The summary of what to expect regarding future communication especially your email frequency
  • Delivery of your lead magnet (if that’s what they signed up for)
  • Helpful information on the topic or product you serve
  • Start to introduce them to your brand and story
  • Also ask them what they want, with a link to a short survey (segment every response)

10 Best Practice Strategies To Maintain Good Email Deliverability

1, Sending frequency

So, if you have a large list, it’s important to find the right sending frequency. Because, if you send too often, your subscribers will get burned out.

Also, may unsubscribe or mark your email as spam. Likewise, if you send too infrequently, you won’t establish a good reputation. So, as a general rule, you want to contact your subscribers one to two times a week, but that depends on the relationship you have with your contacts.

When possible always send fewer, more personalised messages.

At the very least twice a month.

2, Pay attention to the spam filter testing before sending

This is an option on the summary step of creating the email in ActiveCampaign. It will let you know if it spots any major issues with your email that could affect its deliverability.

3, Don’t send a single graphic/image

Sending an email that only contains a graphic is a sure-fire way to have deliverability issues. You should take the time to design your email with text and graphics. And, not just a single image.

On the flip side, it’s not necessarily better to send plain text emails. The general rule is to have a good, balanced mix of images and text.

4, Don’t use a free email address as your “from” email

Instead of using your free/personal email address such as @yahoo.com or @gmail.com, you should use an email address for the company or organisation for which you are sending the email.

5, Pay attention to your links in your email

Spam filters check the URLs that you are linking. If you link to a domain that has a poor reputation, you will get penalised.

6, Don’t use link shortening services like bit.ly

Your links should be full links to the real URL. Link shortening services like bit.ly are used heavily by spammers. You can also be penalized if you use an outward-facing link like http://mypage.com/promo that links to a different page like http://mypage.com/offer-1. For the outward-facing text, it’s better to use “click here” or a button.

7, Send using a consistent “from” name and email address

We do not suggest changing your “from” details often. Keeping it consistent can help build your reputation. Take some time to think about what from name will be the most recognizable to your recipients. It can be your company name, a figure in your company, or even something more unique. The more recognisable it is, the less likely people are to mark it as spam. The from the name is a very important part of establishing your brand.

8, Check your automation

If you have automation running, routinely do health checks. You may learn that certain contacts are getting 6, 8, 10 messages a day which is causing them to ignore everything and hurt your sending reputation.

9, Don’t test using the same phrase as your subject and email contents

If you send an email with a very similar subject and message body it will likely be filtered as spam. (An example would be having the subject set to “this is a test” with the body set to “this is a test”.) You’ll also want to avoid using the same “to” and “from” email addresses. Sending an email where the “to” email address is the same as the “from” email address will most certainly be marked as spam.

10, Make it very easy to unsubscribe

A spam complaint is very bad for your deliverability, but an unsubscribe is not necessarily bad — it just indicates that someone no longer wants your mail. You should make it very easy for contacts to unsubscribe so that they are not encouraged to mark it as spam. Make sure your unsubscribe link is easy to spot and think about putting a second unsubscribe link at the top of your email. Keep in mind that your primary focus should be to maintain a healthy list of contacts, send content they truly want, engage your contacts, and encourage them to interact with your campaign. If you keep your focus on these items great delivery will follow.




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