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6 Reasons Why Your Emails Go to Spam

Do your emails keep going to spam? Get your message through; check these six common mistakes you may be committing that are hindering your campaign’s success.

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6 Reasons Why Your Emails Go to Spam

Despite careful planning and execution, many email marketers find their meticulously crafted messages thrown in the dreaded spam folder. If you’re one of these marketers, you may be wondering what went wrong. There are multiple steps involved in creating an email marketing campaign, and if one of the steps doesn’t adhere to the standard marketing practices, there’s a high likelihood your email will get sent to the spam folder by default.

Let’s explore all the different factors that can send an email to the spam folder, as well as solutions to ensure that your recipients get your emails from now on.

1. Email Content

The content of an email greatly influences its deliverability. Emails with excessive promotional language, capitalization, or spam trigger-words (such as “free,” “discount,” or “limited time offer”) are more likely to be flagged as spam. That’s especially true if your email address is new and you don’t have an established reputation. 

Poorly formatted or visually unappealing emails, lack of personalization, and misleading subject lines also contribute to the problem.

Solution: You should focus on creating valuable, relevant, and engaging content. 

  • Avoid overusing promotional language
  • Employ appropriate formatting
  • Personalize their emails to establish a connection with recipients
  • Honest and straightforward subject lines will help build trust.

2. Sender Reputation

The reputation of the sender plays a vital role in email deliverability. Email service providers (ESPs) and spam filters assess the sender’s history, authentication protocols, and recipient feedback to determine whether an email is legitimate or spam. Past involvement in unethical practices (such as buying email lists), high spam complaint rates, and sending emails to inactive or unengaged addresses can negatively impact sender reputation.

Solution: Maintain a good sender reputation by following ethical email marketing practices. You should:

  • Regularly authenticate your email sending domains
  • Monitor and address recipient complaints promptly
  • Regularly clean your email lists to remove inactive or unengaged subscribers.

3. Recipient Engagement

Recipient engagement is a key metric used by ESPs to evaluate email deliverability. Low open rates, frequent spam markings, or unsubscribing from the mailing list indicate a lack of interest from recipients. 

Sending emails to inactive or rarely-checked email addresses will further contribute to emails being marked as spam.

Solution: Focus on delivering valuable content that encourages recipient engagement. 

  • Personalize emails
  • Segment your audience
  • Understand recipient preferences thoroughly, so you can improve open rates and reduce spam complaints
  • Regularly cleaning email lists and re-engaging with inactive subscribers can help.

4. Technical Factors

Technical aspects of emails – such as proper formatting, broken links, excessive images, or large attachments – can impact deliverability. Emails that are not optimized for different devices or email clients, or that fail to meet ESP requirements or industry standards, may trigger spam filters.

Solution: It’s important to ensure that your emails are well-structured, free of broken links, and have a balanced text-to-image ratio. 

  • Optimize emails for different devices and email clients
  • Adhere to ESP guidelines
  • Stay updated with industry standards, as this will enhance your email deliverability.

5. Spam Filters and Algorithms

ESPs employ sophisticated spam filters and algorithms to protect users from unwanted messages. These filters analyze content, sender reputation, and user feedback to identify potential spam. The goal is to provide recipients with a clean inbox experience.

Solution: To navigate spam filters successfully, you need to:

  • Familiarize yourself with ESPs guidelines
  • Avoid spam-like patterns
  • Adhere to the best practices
  • By creating quality content and maintaining a good sender reputation, you can improve your emails’ chances of bypassing these filters

6. Data and Privacy Concerns

The collection and use of email addresses without explicit permission, sending emails to non-subscribers, and violations of privacy regulations (like GDPR or CAN-SPAM Act) contribute to emails being marked as spam. Recipients view unsolicited or unwanted emails as a breach of trust and privacy.

Solution: Respecting data privacy and obtaining explicit consent from recipients are paramount. 

  • Make sure that you have proper consent mechanisms in place, such as double opt-in methods
  • Provide transparency regarding data collection and usage practices, and honor recipient preferences by including an unsubscribe feature
  • Implementing robust permission-based email marketing strategies will help maintain trust and reduce the likelihood of emails being marked as spam.


Email marketers face numerous challenges when it comes to avoiding the spam folder and reaching their intended audience. Understanding the factors that contribute to emails being marked as spam – and implementing the suggested solutions – can significantly improve your email deliverability rates. Focus on:

  • Creating valuable content
  • Maintaining a good sender reputation
  • Encouraging recipient engagement
  • Addressing technical factors
  • Respecting data privacy

This will increase the chances of your messages landing in the inbox.

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