Home  /  Allemail marketing  /  10 Ways to Make Sure Your Emails Won’t Land in the Spam Folder

10 Ways to Make Sure Your Emails Won’t Land in the Spam Folder


Everyone Hates Marketers. That’s right. Actually, everyone hates bad marketers because bad marketers take all of us out of the game. 

Hence, I wanted to share some of the best ways to avoid being a bad marketer – especially when it comes to email marketing. 

The question is: “What makes a bad email marketer?” 

And the answer is: “Low email deliverability is one of them.”

As marketers, we should have this mantra “always give value first”. If you focus on giving value, things will naturally fall in place. 

In this article, instead of bad email teardowns, we’re going to see the “inbound aspect” of the email marketing. In other words, we will break down several ways that will help you to lead your subscribers to the sales funnel and avoid the “spam family”.

After you finish reading this, you will be able to bring home the best ways to deliver your email to the inbox, instead of to the spam folder.

If you stay till the end, I’ll give you a hack that can even help you land in the primary folder of Gmail as well. So, stay tuned.

1 –  Always give value first

Any campaign or email I have ever written or done – I’ve gotten huge reciprocal karma points, sales, leads or money if I have provided the value. That’s why I recommend whenever you have something valuable to share with your subscribers, only then send emails. 

It’s better to have 30 subscribers who love you and find value in your emails than 100 subscribers who open and never read, click or respond. 

You can use free advice, ebooks, resources, courses or even articles or images to provide value in your email campaigns. Provide something of value in your email, it could be free content such as free advice, ebooks, resources, courses. 

Your subscribers will promote you with the word of mouth and you will grow by having more engaged subscribers. 

You will get karma points back if you provide value first. Your subscriber will never click “report as spam” ever again.

2 –  Be empathetic to your readers

Whenever you’re writing those emails, always put yourself in the shoes of a receiver. Would you like that email? Do you find it valuable? 

Don’t try to push content or discounts that make your readers cringe. 

Create the content in your email that makes your users want to share or forward to their friends. 

Look for inspiration what you love and then monitor your subscribers’ behaviors. If they like it, good job! Continue with that. If not, make necessary changes. 

I have an inspiration too. I love Drift’s VP Marketing Dave Gerhardt’s content. He rightly points out about being empathetic.

Dave - Empathy

So, always ask yourself: “As a consumer would I respond to that campaign or email?”

Seth Godin rightly says:


3 – Comply with spam filters and their rules

Gmail and other ESPs are hard on spamming rules. To comply with spam rules, you need to simply avoid using spam trigger words, cheesy subject lines and work on your preview.

Spam trigger words

Following are the spam trigger words that ESPs (Email Service Providers) don’t like.


Clearance, stuff, buy, buy now, order now, direct, order status, claim and sale


Ads, click here, subscribe and many more.

These are the bunch of resources related to spam words that could help you to avoid spam:

Subject Lines

Subject lines are the most important for any reader to decide if they’d open this email or not.

Don’t use these while writing your subject lines:

  1. Don’t use caps and exclamations points
  2. Don’t use spam trigger words
  3. Subject lines should not be click-baity
  4. Don’t mislead the recipient with the subject line
  5. You should not have lengthy subject lines
  6. Don’t make grammatical errors

But instead, do this:

  1. Make it about the reader
  2. User first name or company if it is possible
  3. Use emojis
  4. Make subject lines sync with the body of the email
  5. Make it mobile-friendly because everyone is on mobile now

Preview Text:

Nowadays ESPs do give you a chance to preview the body text. Make sure the preview text also is aligned with the subject and body. 

Protip: Do entice the user in the preview text on what’s coming.

4 – Email deliverability

Email deliverability is a measure of how many of your emails actually reach your subscribers’ inboxes, often expressed as a percentage.

It’s a huge problem for marketers. 21% of opt-in emails never make it to the inbox.

If you want to avoid email deliverability follow these principles:

  • Don’t buy an email list.
  • Check your sender reputation and fix it.
  • Have a specific subdomain for sending emails so that the user can recognise.
  • Focus on validating the emails.
  • Use branding from your name. For example, “Tomer from Poptin”.
  • Make sure your IP is not blacklisted. Here you can check it.
  • Warmup your IPs and send emails from a dedicated IP address (which is not shared).
  • Don’t send too many emails and send the emails at the set time and frequency. 
  • Don’t wait too long before contacting your subscribers. Reach out to them immediately if they subscribe. Ask a question at least in your first email. 

5 – Removing non-engaged subscribers

Subscribers who do not open, click or respond to your emails have probably ignored or forgotten about you. 

Non-engaged users are more prone to mark you as spam if they haven’t heard from you or haven’t engaged.

Non-engaged users also do not value your content anyway. I always recommend doing this kind of filtering every month. 

6 – Always add opt-in & set expectations when people join your list

After the GDPR and CAN-SPAM laws, it is extremely necessary to ask for an opt-in.

Opt-in makes your marketing richer and helps you focus on interested leads only.

Whenever you ask for an opt-in add a little human and good copy touch.

This confirmation email makes me chuckle whenever I see the confirmation.

Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 19.51.34

See how Tyler Koenig set expectations that I’ll be hearing from him each week.

Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 19.57.11

Set expectations and make it a habit for them to hear from you.

7 – Make it easy to opt-out 

A simple way to reduce the likelihood of you being reported as spam is to make it easy for your prospect to unsubscribe. Provide unsubscribe links at the top/ bottom of your emails, so that if your prospect is not interested in hearing from you, he or she can quickly and painlessly opt out without having to mark you as spam.

Also, while they’re opting out you might still try to be creative. Make a good copywriting to make them hooked.

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 23.18.35

One of the creative subscribe pages, I admire.

In short, always try to give the opt-out link. It’s better to be unsubscribed than to be reported. 

8 – Send subscriber behaviour-based emails

You can also send different emails for different recipients based on their behaviour. It could be autoresponders, triggered messages, newsletters, and many other things depending on their behaviour with your emails (those open but don’t click, those who click but don’t convert and so on).

I have literally created this entire drip campaign based on so many subscriber behaviour conditions.

Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 20.02.20

Following are some conditions:

  • Opened emails or not
  • Clicked or not
  • Has visited certain pages or not
  • Opened email but never responded
  • Never opened and never clicked

There are so many subscriber behaviour conditions to send the right message to the right subscribers at the right time. Use the power of technology to make those good emails based on the user’s behaviour. 

9 – Include a “reply-to” email address.

Don’t use [email protected] in your emails. Always have a “reply to” an email address. It gives your subscriber much more confidence and trust in your services.

Your goal is to stimulate a two-way conversation with your user. Using a “no-reply” in your “from” address can elicit a negative response from your subscribers.

Check how Val Giesler wants me to respond to her email here.

Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 19.51.54

10 – Use various tools to improve your email deliverability 

Here’s a collated list of tools, software, and resources to improve email deliverability and make sure email lands in the inbox and not the junk or spam folder gathered from the answers to this question:

  • DeBounceDeBounce email list cleaning service allows you to upload and validate lists of email addresses quickly and in a secure way based on these steps 
  • Mailfloss – Bulk email verification tool
  • Spam testing 
  • Zero BounceEmail Validation tool
  • Lemlist – allows you to send personalized images that can improve your engagement and open rates. 

Follow these ways to prevent your email landing in the spam folder but always remember to add value first and use some technology to improve your email marketing.

Time for the hack: Send emails from your own server instead of a tool like Intercom. Tools usually get into promotion tab of “Gmail”. I use Amazon’s server for that. 

Remember that everybody hates bad marketers.

Aazar Ali Shad is an entrepreneur, growth marketer (not a hacker), and a seasoned SaaS guy. He loves writing content and sharing what he learned with the world. You can follow him on Twitter @aazarshad or aazarshad.com