You have to be sending emails if you want to fully maximize your online marketing efforts. Ignoring this component is definitely leaving money on the table, for many reasons.

First, the people that are on your list already know who you are and what you sell. As long as you build you list the correct way, using a permission based opt-in system to collect emails, then there is very little resistance to the offers you send out.

Sure, some recipients might not open them, but they know they asked to be included, so they aren’t annoyed. Now, if they do go ahead and open the email, they already are familiar with your company, so as long as the offer is appealing, there is a good chance you will generate sales every single time you send an email out.

The more emails that are opened, the better your odds of generating revenue become. This means you need to hit the inbox of your recipients, so they at least are presented with the opportunity to open your message. It’s becoming more difficult to inbox at a high rate, for several reasons.

Email marketing is such an important part of my agency’s marketing strategy, so I wanted to share with you some tips to help you avoid the spam folder. If you follow my suggestions below you will experience a much higher deliverability rate, therefore achieving a much higher open rate.

Use these tips to avoid the spam folder..


1. Scrub and validate your list on a regular basis.

This is something that is often overlooked simply because many don’t even think of doing it. If you have invalid email addresses in your list those result in a bounce back, and the more of those you receive, the more it will negatively impact your deliverability.

You see, if a mailing IP continues to receive a lot of bounces it will be flagged as low quality and most assume it’s due to spamming. It’s always a good idea to validate your list on a regular basis, and the frequency at which you do this should match up with the size of your list and how quickly you are building it.

For example, if you have a small list and rarely add new emails, you can get away with scrubbing it every quarter. Now, if you are building a list at an alarming rate and mailing multiple times a week you might want to scrub it before each send to be extra safe.

The small cost associated with this is well worth the deliverability increase for large lists.



2. Use a high quality mailing platform with top tier IPs.

This is one of the little tips that most don’t even take into consideration, and then they wonder why their email marketing results are horrible. Most people sign up for a service like Mailchimp or Constant Contact and either load up their list or start building one from scratch and just assume the deliverability will be as high as it can be since they are using a popular service.

The truth is that most of these services are sending so much bad email that their IPs get burned and flagged quickly, which then gets your domain placed on a bad senders list. There is one person that truly understands how email marketing works, and that is Alex Becker. Many of you have probably seen his YouTube content.

He has his own email software, Market Hero, and they are very strict with who they let on the platform because the IPs are the highest rated you can get. This can instantly transform your email marketing efforts. If you want to learn about how IPs and bans work in regard to email senders, check out his YouTube channel.


3. Don’t write deceptive email subject lines to trick the recipient into opening your message.

You have to be careful what you put in your subject line to avoid racking up a high spam score, but you also need to write them with the recipient in mind. If you write a subject line designed to just get the email opened, and the person realizes it has nothing to do with the content in the email body they are going to be pissed off.

This is why so many people will hit the unsubscribe button and then tick off the ‘these emails are spam and should be reported’ feedback. So many email providers now have this option after an unsubscribe, and I can promise you that it doesn’t take many of these reports to completely kill your domain and also further ruin the IPs you are mailing from.

If your email is a promo message with a discount code for a blue widget, make sure that your email subject line references this in some way. You don’t have to eliminate all creativity, but you can’t be posting click-bait type subjects that are irrelevant.


4. Check your spam score before hitting the send button.

This is something that would instantly improve 99% of your email delivery, which directly results in more opens, if you would just take the time to run your subject line and copy through the test. It literally takes seconds and allows you to make adjustments that will greatly increase your inbox rate.

There are many standalone products that you can subscribe to that allow you to copy and paste your subject lines and email bodies, generating a probable spam score. You simply make adjustments until you are under the threshold for being flagged as spam.

Now, if you use Mailchimp, and most do, they have a spam tool built in that many don’t even know about. It’s as good as anything on the market and it allows you to do everything from testing to making changes right in the dashboard. If you are sending mails without utilizing this feature you are losing money every time you press “send.”


5. Make sure every email is relevant and serves a purpose.

This circles back to touch on the customer experience point mentioned above. When someone joins your email list they are doing so because they were interested in the call-to-action you presented to them at the time they opted in, agreeing to receive your emails.

For example, when someone joins our email list, they know they are going to be receiving special offers, deals, and promo codes that we don’t advertise or offer anywhere else. When our list opens these messages that is exactly what they see. We aren’t mailing off random affiliate offers or anything else that doesn’t align with what was promised when the subscriber joined.

There are two things that happen when your emails aren’t relevant:


  • People unsubscribe, and you risk the chance of racking up spam complaints, even though they did in fact opt-in.


  • People just stop opening your emails. This kills your open rate and the time and money spent securing that subscriber is now a total waste.


6. Understand that consumer complaints will get your domain blacklisted (AKA: don’t piss them off).

ISPs and email clients don’t just randomly blacklist domains for spam unless they have reason. Every domain has a score, and it becomes tarnished as you receive spam complaints. There is such a massive effort out there to reduce spam, so it doesn’t take much to get your domain flagged.

Put it this way: just a few complaints will result in all of your emails being sent to the “promotional” folder in Gmail. That is by far the most difficult email client to inbox. Google’s aim is to provide the best experience for its users, so just like they protect the SERPs from spam, they make sure Gmail is as spam-free as possible.

Always ask yourself, “Is this email going to piss my list off?” If there is any hesitation, go back and clean up your message. Pissed off recipients are more likely to report a message as spam.



7. Don’t mail on an overly frequent basis.

One of the worst things you can do is blast your list too much. There are several reasons why this is a bad move:


  • Consumers become annoyed and unsubscribe: If you receive nonstop promotional emails from a company it does nothing but annoy you. I recently made a purchase from a retail store online and they were sending three to five promotional emails a week. It was ridiculous. I unsubscribed and I can imagine most of their other customers do the same. Nobody needs to receive almost a half dozen emails a week with coupons for jeans.


  • Messages receive spam complaints: Even if someone joins your list the right way, via an opt-in, and you mail them too much they view the messages as spam and will report you. Don’t assume that you won’t receive complains from people that opt-in. If you are too aggressive you will be viewed as a spammer.


  • Your open rates dwindle: If you send too many emails your recipients will become immune to them and start to skip right past them or simply delete them without opening them. Your effort becomes wasted.


  • Your list loses its appeal: You want your subscribers to await your emails. That is what makes a list appealing — when your subscribers are waiting to receive your message because they know it will contain something special. If you send out a weekly deal, stick to that schedule. It creates a demand.


8. Make sure the “from” field comes from your actual domain.

A lot of online marketers think they are being slick by changing the “from” field on the message. If you are sending from your personal email, you need to use your name, and if you are sending from a general “info” type company email then you need to use the company name.

Anything else that doesn’t match up will get your emails sent to the trash. If you look in your spam folder right now, I would bet that 95% of the messages have senders with domains that aren’t even live.

There are so many systems and checks in place to quickly identify this. A lot of people aren’t necessarily trying to game the system, as opposed to trying to be clever. But, a sender name like “Amazing Discount” is going to get you flagged 95% of the time.


9. Never buy email lists and upload the data into your mailing platform.

Everyone wants the easy way, and email marketing is no different. A quick Google search will return plenty of websites that sell email lists – large lists that claim to have very specific email addresses. Sadly, many business owners buy these and simply import them to their email marketing client.

This is the worst thing you can do, because it will get your domain blacklisted the first time you send from it and your email client will likely ban you as well because you kill their IPs when you mail trash addresses.

These lists are usually sold over and over again and they become pure spam because the emails are dead, resulting in massive bounce rates. Also, there are many lists that include honeypot emails, which quickly identify spammers. If you send an email to these “trap” addresses your domain will be flagged and you will never inbox from it again.



10. Keep your email subjects short and unique (the account for 70% of the spam score).

If you build a solid list from the beginning, filled with subscribers that are excited to receive whatever it is that you promised them for signing up, you don’t need to go crazy with your email subject.

Looking at my personal inbox, I see a lot of short, but direct, email subjects. I also notice that many are using emojis to help deliver the message in shorter character counts. For example, years ago a brand selling health supplements would have an email subject like:


“[WOW!] Lose Weight in 30 Days with Magic Fat Burner Pills”


That looks like spam and most would skip right over it. Today, something like this is short and to the point and will pull a much higher open rate:


“Boom?. Melt your body fat ???”


Short and sweet with some emojis mixed in are performing the best right now.



You could have a massive list of buyers and great offers to send out that would be well received, but if your messages are being flagged as spam then you are dead in the water before you even start.

Building an email list using a double opt-in strategy is a good start, but this alone doesn’t guarantee a high inbox rate. I’ve seen some large lists have horrible open rates, less than one percent, simply because the bulk of their messages were being flagged and moved directly to spam, junk, and promotional folders.

The tips I went over above all contribute to creating an email marketing campaign that will be seen by your subscribers. You can’t just pick a few — you need to fully commit to all of the tips above if you really want to see improved results.

How is your email deliverability and open rate? I’d love to hear some real examples in the comments section below. What do you feel is the biggest contributor to a high deliverability rate?


Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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