How do I Avoid My Emails being Marked as Spam?

As you probably know I am in charge of answering support requests here at Maxprog. As a result, MaxBulk Mailer users asked me about e-mail delivery issues quite often, especially problems related to spam filtering software flagging and blocking their legitimate messages. This is called ‘false positives’. This particular issue is quite frustrating because most of the time you have no idea where the problem comes from. In other words, you have no clue about what is happening and even what to do to fix it. It is even more frustrating for me when people think maxprog bulk mailer software is the culprit. There is no relation actually, MaxBulk Mailer is an e-mail client like any other. So, how do I Avoid My Emails being Marked as Spam?

In this post, I will try to gather all my knowledge about how to prevent running into this kind of problem. Let’s see the typical story:

Writing and sending a message

You composed your newsletter, as usual, you selected your subscriber list and then sent the message with a copy to yourself. You later found out that your copy never arrives and then, asking a few subscribers it turns out some of them did not receive anything either.

Does this story look familiar to you?

A message wrongly flagged as spam is called a false positive. A spam filter will check your message and will give it a score. If you reach a given score threshold the software will flag your message. Basically, the spam filter will check whether:

  • Your message looks like spam
  • The mail server you are using is blacklisted
  • The recipient list contains lots of dead addresses
  • The recipient list contains spam traps
  • You are sending your message to too many recipients

Ok. So, how do I Avoid My Emails being Marked as Spam? Let’s go through this list:

Your messages look like spam – False positives

When you write a message, above all, try to be as personal as possible. For instance, think and write the text as if you were sending the message to one person only. It is easy to do, just select one of your best-known customers and write the message with him/her in mind. Finally, add tags to the message to insert personal info, a personal greeting for example. It is explained in detail here: How to make your e-mail’s look more personal. Do not use spam-like words. The list is huge but just have a quick look in order to get the picture. 100+ Common Email Spam Trigger Words and Phrases to Avoid, The Ultimate List of E-mail SPAM Trigger Words.

The mail server you are using is blacklisted

If your mail server is on a blacklist like Spamhaus or SORBS there are chances your message will never go through. How do you find out? Easy, MXtoolbox. That service will check your mail server domain or IP address with about 100 blacklists. Here you should get green OK icons on all lines. You should work on that overwise. Very seriously! All blacklist systems offer a way to get delisted.

The recipient list contains lots of dead addresses

How old is your list? Where or how did you get it? Are you maintaining it regularly? Did you know those big mail servers like Gmail may flag a message sent to their server after reaching a given error threshold? That means that if your list has what Gmail considers too much dead/invalid addresses, the whole message will be flagged. You should check your list and remove bounces from it! Bounces are those delivery error e-mails you get in your inbox, don’t ignore them! Remove the invalid e-mails addresses from the list right away. One solution is to verify the list with eMail Verifier at least once and then process bounces with eMail Bounce Handler as explained here.

The recipient list contains spam traps

Spammers usually collect email addresses by using automated e-mail address harvester software. Those tools build lists out of web sites. Spam traps are specific email addresses placed on purpose so any e-mail messages sent to such type of address are immediately flagged and considered as spam. Finally, an anti-spam system may instantly block your whole message as soon as it finds a spam trap. Nobody else will get it!… So, never harvest email addresses from the web and never purchase lists. Create your own lists!

You are sending too many messages at once

There are systems, like Gmail that may flag your message because you have reached a given delivery threshold. That means you have sent too many messages to that particular server. The solution is quite easy, send your message at a slower pace. It is explained here in detail: Sending a message through a server with a daily or an hourly delivery limit.

Test the ‘spamminess’ of your e-mails

Now I would like to talk about a great service I am sending all my customers to. It is called Mail Tester.

How do I Avoid My Emails being Marked as Spam?

This free service is literally for testing the ‘spamminess’ of your e-mails and avoid false positives. You just need to send your message to an e-mail address they will give you. A few seconds later you will get a score and a detailed report of what is ok and what is wrong. That simple! In addition, you get some directions to fix the problems. The best here is to try to get a score of 10/10, therefore, there are chances you will have to sign your messages with DKIM. Hopefully, the last versions of MaxBulk Mailer support DKIM. It is explained here: How to use DKIM with MaxBulk Mailer.

and in this video:

Allow the recipients to unsubscribe

And remember to add an unsubscribe link to your messages. You can do that by installing our Mailing List Manager (MLM) on your web site. You can use MLM only to handle unsubscribes for local lists and ignore all the other features. When you use MLM, MaxBulk Mailer will add unsubscribe headers that Gmail will display automatically.

In conclusion, I hope you liked this post and found some valuable clues on ‘How do I Avoid My Emails being Marked as Spam?’. I personally recommend you to follow the rules. For instance, try to write several versions of your message, test them with Mail Tester and use the one that gets the best results. Above all, do not be in a hurry to finish soon.

I welcome your comments.

More information on Spam:

E-mail Spam
The Definition of Spam
How to create and publish your first newsletter


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