How to avoid spam filters in your email marketing campaigns.

Table of Contents

Since the beginning of Email marketing in the year 1978, a lot of factors have changed that judge the success of an email marketing campaign. That is important because of the growing competition each day. It is estimated that nearly 180 billion spam messages are sent each day. To avoid this, it is important to standardize email messages. Therefore, inbox providers like Gmail and Yahoo use spam filters to protect their users’ inboxes from spam messages. 

Most email marketers mostly focus on these three things –

  • Building a quality mailing list of potential clients.
  • Designing creative email templates and
  • Writing creative email copy.

While working on improving the quality of your email message could improve your chances of being in the primary mails, it certainly does not guarantee that it won’t land in spam mails. 

There are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Avoiding spam filters is important if you want more clicks, opens, and sales from your email marketing campaigns

What are Spam Filters and how do they work?

Spam filters help in detecting unwanted emails and stop them from getting into a person’s email inbox. They can be applied to both outbound and inbound emails. Today, when thousands of companies are operating digitally, email marketing has become more popular than ever. However, these email marketing campaigns also include spam messages from fake vendors. To protect their customers against spam emails, Internet service providers use spam filters for both inbound and outbound emails.

What are spam filters

Spam filters work on strict algorithms. Every email is examined against thousands of predefined rules before it reaches your client’s inbox. The filtering process may be based on different criteria. Such as filtering out emails from a particular sender, or emails containing a particular word.

It is estimated that out of all emails sent globally, hardly 30% are genuine emails, the rest are spam. The percentage of spam emails is still on the rise each day. Spammers keep getting more creative with their emails to land into your inboxes. Thus, Spam filters are necessary to ensure healthy email marketing and happy email inboxes.

How can you avoid spam filters?

As much as Spam filters are important for genuine marketers, it is also a hurdle sometimes. Your email campaigns are not going to succeed until your emails appear in your users’ primary mailing list. 

If your subscribers have clicked, opened, or responded to an email in the past then your emails are likely to make it to the primary inbox, or else it just might never get opened. So how can you prevent this from happening? How can you ensure that people open and respond to your emails? Here are a few ways in which you can make that happen.

1. Create your own emailing lists.

You may not be aware of this but you can actually buy or rent email lists. However, it is not advisable. It is strictly against the rules and regulations of Email Service Providers (ESPs). Even if you avoid following the rules laid down by ESPs for once, your email marketing campaigns still won’t succeed with a rented email list. Why? Because the people in these email lists don’t know anything about you or your services.  Therefore these people are most likely to mark your emails as spam and increase the failure rate of your future email campaigns.

It is always a better idea to create your own emailing lists from scratch. It may take time but it will surely pay in the long run. Your customers will know who you are and will be more likely to open your emails because they have subscribed for them willingly.

Create your own Emailing List

There are various email finder tools available in the market that you can use to collect the email addresses of your prospects on your website and across other platforms. Creating an email list from scratch will ensure that you are sending out emails to only those people who are genuinely interested in your products and services. They are less likely to mark your emails as spam and this will prevent negative feedback.

Create awesome pop-ups for collecting emails with Emailwish.

2. Send emails from a recognized sender’s address.

Would you like to receive emails from an email address you don’t recognize? No, right? The same is the case with your users. That is why Mailbox providers check your “From” field carefully. Try to avoid using complex “From field” addresses and changing them too often. Instead use simple names such as “support@”, “contact@” etc. 

If you stick to a form field name, it would be easier for your customers to trust you. Research shows that almost 70% of Americans decide to open an email based on their “From” line. That is pretty obvious if you look at it this way – suppose you subscribed for a newsletter from BBC news. Which email would you most likely open? An email from BBC or from Daniel rosewood? The answer is quite clear.

3. Choose a reliable ESP.

Email Service providers or ESPs are used to implement email servers to send, receive, accept, and store email for other organizations or end-users. 

Use a Reliable ESP

It is important to work with a reliable ESP to avoid Spam filters. How will you do that? The reputation of an ESP depends on the reputation of its clients. If an ESP’s client sends out genuine content and has a high IP address score, then it is easier to believe the reliability of that ESP.

A reputed ESP will only send relevant and solicited messages to the clients. This enhances their status with mailbox providers. 

4. Avoid using spam trigger words and misleading subject lines.

Often, spam filters mark the email as spam because of usage of some spam trigger words such as “Free Prize”, “cash”, “Extra discount”. These words often hit the spam filters and these emails end up in spam folders. 

Similarly, emails with subject lines that make false claims are also headed for the spam folder. Let’s be honest, you can’t fool anyone with such words and sentences. The audience is much smarter.

5. Send quality messages.

If you want people to open your email messages, you’ve got to send them something worth looking at. It’s not good to send a user email messages that make false claims in their subject lines and show completely different content when opened. This not only hits the spam filters but also creates a sense of distrust among your users. 

Creating Quality email Messages

As marketers, your first duty is to serve your clients, as honestly as you can. Therefore instead of sending empty sales pitches, try to be more empathetic and make your users feel they can trust you. They should believe that an email from you is worth opening and reading. 

Ask for your customer’s feedback from time to time and try to formulate your content as per their feedback and suggestions. Once you have developed a trustworthy relationship with your clients, then you can send sales emails with CTAs and start making sales.

6. Respect it when a user decides to unsubscribe.

Unsubscribe page

When a person decides to unsubscribe from your mailing list, they have already thought out what they do and don’t want in their inbox. Therefore your should respect their decision and remove them from your mailing list. If you still continue to send emails to these people, they will mark your emails as spam, creating a negative impact on your open and read rates.

One more thing that shows the mailbox providers that you care about your subscribers is when you take inactive or non-responsive users off your mailing list. This shows that you really care about your customers and whether or not they are interested in your products and services and not just blindly selling to anybody.

7. Dirty tricks won’t work!

In earlier times, marketers used underhanded techniques to get on people’s primary mailing lists. Well, these tactics neither work well today nor are they acceptable in any form. using such tactics will only damage your deliverability and get your emails marked as spam by spam filters.

A few examples of some tricks and tactics used in email marketing campaigns could be –

False Claims – Making false claims in your subject lines or preview pages won’t get you anywhere. Making claims like “You won a free gift” and then imposing terms and conditions in the content of the email would only frustrate your users and lead to the development of distrust among your users.

Hashbusting – Hashbusting is defined as the process of using special characters in your text to avoid spam filters. For example – “Win C@sh Pr!ze”

Image Texts – Using images to deliver a text message to avoid spam filters.

All these dirty tricks and tactics can seriously hurt your deliverability and open rates. What’s worse is that you may end up in the spam folder more often than not. Use healthy email marketing to ensure your campaigns are successful.

8. Use a limited number of graphics with alt texts.

Images and gifs enhance a message, they are both entertaining and easier to grasp. However, including too many of them in your mail may not be a good idea. Using a lot of images in your email message can increase its loading time. This can be really frustrating for the users.

Limited graphics in email

Some email campaigns use large-sized images and include the email copy on the image. This may end up triggering spam filters. Inbox providers like Microsoft Outlook do not recognize background images and may mark your mail as spam.

Thus, it is best to use, small, good-quality images that compliment the content of your message and do not affect your email loading time. Use a credible service provider to host your images and never forget to add alt texts. In case your images take time to load, the alt text should be written in such a manner that it delivers complete information even when the image fails to load.

9. Get certification from a third party.

It is important to have proof of your validity to stand against spam filters. There are companies out there that check the genuineness of your email campaigns and give you a certification of being a trusted sender. Return Path is one such company. Once Return Path certifies you against being spam, your emails will make it to the majority of the inboxes. This certification is a go signal for the ISPs to let your emails override email filters.

Return Path - third party certification.

Getting this certification will cost you money but it’s definitely worth investing in. It will help you reach more inboxes and reach more audiences.

10. Confirm your user’s subscription twice.

If you want to make sure that your emails land in the primary inboxes of your users then sends messages to only the people who want emails from you. Make sure you are sending out emails to only the people who really want to hear from you. 

Once a user subscribes to your emails, send them another email for confirming their subscription. Ask them if they really want to receive email messages from you. Doing this will help you develop a good emailing list from scratch. This way you will send messages only to those people who are interested in your products or services and want to receive updates from you. These people are most likely to open and respond to your email campaigns.

The more reads and clicks you receive, the more easily you can bypass spam filters. It’s even better if a few of your subscribers add you to their address book. This means you have been whitelisted by the user and he/she wants to continue receiving your emails.

11. Bonus –  Use Emailwish Automations!

After reading the above points, it must be clear that there is no shortcut to successful email marketing. If you take that extra step and work on the content of your Emails. This is where Emailwish automations shine. There are hundreds of prebuilt email automations which you can use in your email campaigns. Emailwish automations are built carefully, with sensible subject lines and valuable content that help you avoid spam filters. Your clients are going to fall in love with their inboxes, reading the exciting subject lines, previews texts, and even more so they will love the content of your emails and how that content is presented.


There is no certain way to make sure your emails don’t land in the spam folder. Spam filters are designed with really strict algorithms and there’s nothing that can be done against it. However, you can try to avoid these spam filters using the tricks we discussed above. Develop your email lists from scratch, and use quality content in your emails, be it your subject lines or the content in the email message. 

These tricks may not always work, but they will improve your open rates for sure and help you avoid spam filters to a great extent. So try including them in your email practices and be sure to let us know if there’s anything we missed on this list.

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