Email is a big part of everyday business. Both sending and receiving. We all get mail from people we don’t know asking for information about doing business with us. Unfortunately, not all responses we send are received and read.
One of the most frustrating things is when you get an email from someone that hasn’t properly configured their mail program with their correct return address. In this case, the response you send will come back as undeliverable. At least this time you know that the person didn’t get your response and you might have a phone number or other way to contact them.
But what happens when you send a response and it goes into their Spam or Junk folder instead of their Inbox? Since it didn’t bounce back you’re assuming that the email was delivered and read. In reality, unless the recipient checks their Spam folder they will never know that you responded to their inquiry.
So why would your email not go into their Inbox? There are several reasons that email ends up in someone’s Spam or Junk folder:
The Junk Mail filter has identified one or more keywords that spammers repeatedly use in their messages
TO AVOID: Mind Your Language: Most spam filters depend on keywords and the language that you use in your email messages and subject lines can cause you mail to be sent to the recipients spam folder. Also, the use of excessive punctuation, all capitals or too many emotions may affect your email delivery.
• Avoid superlatives in the subject line. Phrases like ‘best mail’, ‘amazing’, ‘superb one’ or even phrases like ‘just the one that you want’ are usually ranked high on the block list of most of the spam filters.
• Keep the length of your subject under 45 characters.
• Avoid using to many capitals, punctuation or typical spam words (free, win, euro, € $, sex,…) in the subject line of your mail.
• Avoid using excessive exclamation marks or other punctuation in general, capitals and white space in the body of your mail.
The recipient has flagged the sender as someone that sends spam
TO AVOID: People have all sorts of reasons for marking mail as spam. Some are legitimate, others are not.
Sometimes your email may be marked as spam because the recipient doesn’t recognize your name in the ‘From’ column, even if they emailed you and asked for information.
Quite a few people misunderstand the purpose of a button in their email program that says ‘Spam’ or “Report as Spam’ and use this button anytime they want to delete an email, not realizing that they are now blocking future mail from that sender.
• When people check their mail, the first thing they look at is the ‘From’ and the ‘Subject’. Try to choose a ‘From’ name that the reader is likely to recognize. Try to make the subject of your mail perk the readers interest while avoiding the key spam words.
The recipient’s ISP has filtered the mail as spam or junk mail based on the content or the senders IP address
TO AVOID: ISP’s are aggressively working to reduce spam. As a result, some legitimate mail is also tagged and either blocked or put into a spam folder.
Occasionally your IP address may get blacklisted and all email delivery to that ISP will stop. When this happens you need to call us and we will get the blacklist removed.
BEST PRACTICES: The only way you can guarantee that your email is delivered properly is to have the recipient add your email address to their ‘White List’ or ‘Friends List’ which will tell their mail program to always allow email from you to come directly into their Inbox. While this is not a great solution for people you email once or twice in response to an inquiry, it is good for those that you have ongoing email correspondence with.
You are sending an attachment with your message
TO AVOID: Attachments can be a problem if they are too large, because most ISP will not send or receive anything over 10MB. However, attachments can also be a trigger for spam filters. Attachments are one way that malicious people will send a virus and you should never open an attachment from someone that you don’t know.
BEST PRACTICES: If you need to send an attachment to someone who has requested information, it’s best to first email them a short text-only email letting them know that a second email with the information as an attachment is coming. Hopefully, this alert will prompt them to look in their spam folder or contact you if the email with the attachment does not arrive in their Inbox.
You have included HTML code in your email
TO AVOID: Don’t send emails with fancy html or lots of links . . . spammers frequently do both in their emails.
• Don’t use too many colors or large font sizes.
• Don’t send emails with fancy html. If you must, make sure that it is well formed and that the syntax is correct.
• Don’t place too many different links in your mail.
• Never, never use an IP address in your links. An IP address looks like ’127.0.0.1′.
Your email contained pictures
TO AVOID: Skip the pictures. Unfortunately, Spam filters are against email dressed up with pretty pictures and graphics because porn traders and other spammers like to use such graphics to attract users. This means all email with graphics suffer. Also, avoid those pre-format emails with a logo and letterhead on them.
• Make sure that your mail is a lot more image than text.
• Your mail may look better in HTML since you can format it and add logos and banners but this will also increase your spam score.
The email was addressed to a large group of people (either in the ‘TO’ or using ‘CC’)
TO AVOID: When you send an email that contains a large number or recipients in either the ‘TO’ field or the ‘CC’ (carbon copy) field, you are more likely to be seen as sending spam. Making use of blind carbon copy(‘BCC’) can cut down on this some.
BEST PRACTICES: Spam filters monitor the number of recipients closely and they’re set to block email with more than a limited number or recipients. So if you need to deliver an important message to a large group better use the ‘BCC’ function.
The recipient has set up ‘rules’ in their mail program that are too generic and therefore tagging your mail as spam.
TO AVOID: Unfortunately, you have no control over the ‘rules’ and ‘filters’ that others use with their email programs. However, when sending an email to someone new it’s best to send a plain text email with no attachments the first time or follow up on the email (by phone or plain text email) and make sure that it was received.
Spammers are getting smarter and more aggressive every day and so are spam filters that try to keep up with them. As a result we need to pay attention to what are often the small details in our email that may restrict the deliverability of our email correspondence.