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Driving a Marketing Campaign Without Spam Flagging

Insights» Marketing & Outreach

November 3, 2017by Ruby Keys

Email marketing campaigns have been around since, well, email. Real estate brokers and lenders who previously used snail mail marketing to drive leads suddenly found they could reach a much wider audience, faster and cheaper than ordinary mail correspondence. However, the two methods have one thing in common: getting people to read your message instead of tossing it in the trash can.

Generating leads is a time-consuming and costly task. The advent of email and the internet have made message marketing easier, but a marketing campaign is still only as good as the response it generates. Whether you are creating your own email marketing or are running a paid campaign, you want the same results: People reading your message. But how do you know how many of your emails are getting through and how many get flagged as spam before ever reaching their intended recipient?

A recent study showed over 56 percent of worldwide email traffic was flagged as spam. In the U.S., the numbers are a little better. These numbers are on top of the amount of people who intentionally trash it before reading. Taking this into consideration, you would waste your time and money if you did not try to improve your inbox placement.

Testing your Message

Some email services do provide statistics about your campaign, but typically they only track open clicks and link click-throughs and do not offer much information about volume delivered. Because of this, it is prudent to test your email marketing pieces against a spam catcher before you send them off. There is a web-based program that helps email marketers tighten up their pieces before launching the campaign.

The web site allows users to test their emails and provides  details  about  how  your  messages will appear to a spam filter. By sending a copy   of your email to their email address, their spam bot evaluates your message and offers a spam score, followed  up  with  advice  on  improving your  message.

The  feedback includes:

  • How your message will appear to recipients in various text and HTML formats
  • How Spam Assassin (an aggressive spam filter) reacts to your email message
  • Your  sending email address and mail server’s authentication status
  • Confirmation blacklisted
  • Confirmation your email address and mail server are not of valid hyperlinks


These items may seem insignificant to some users, but this feedback will, in all probability, save you money and re- sources down the road. This is valuable information that can be used to create more precise and targeted messages. The spam filter analyzes words and phrases that flag an email as spam and confirms the authenticity and security of the sending email address and server. An email address and mail server can get flagged for spam at any time, even without the owner’s knowledge. This tool allows you to confirm your server’s status before you launch your ad campaign. If you have technical issues, consult your service provider or IT administrator.

Writing and Designing a Spam-Proof Campaign

A great email marketing campaign begins with a great subscriber list. Ensure the email addresses on your list consist of those who are expecting your email. Review your list for membership and ensure that those who request removal are removed.

Also, consider using a third-party email platform that has a solid reputation. Many drip email providers have taken the necessary steps to make sure they are not blacklisted and have a solid history of providing effective email delivery.

At the end of the email, provide a prominent link for recipients to unsubscribe. It is better to have a subscriber unsubscribe rather than report your message as spam.

And finally, write content and a subject line that is not filled with spam words. Terms like “free estimate” and “good credit” are red flags. Remember, spam filters work on algorithms that make calculations based on keywords. Red letters and large bolded text will also trigger a flag.

You are spending resources and money on your email marketing plan. Take a time to ensure your content is bulletproof — it doesn’t read as spam, your servers are clean, your email address is not blacklisted, and your subscriber list is solid — to increase your deliverability statistics and drive more prospective clients.

Common Reasons Email is Flagged as Spam

Email service providers are constantly updating their security rules that tag emails as spam. Here are several common issues that can send your message to the spam box:

Blacklisting: This is when an email server recognizes the sending email server as an origination point for spam. Your email server is checked against an internal list of serious spam offenders maintained by service providers. Once your email address or server is blacklisted, it is tough to get it removed. You may need to start over.

Sender Reputation: The reputation of the sending server or IP address is an important factor in whether your email breaks through a spam filter. Using a mail service that has a poor rating may result in legitimate marketing messages being tagged. Research your email service to ensure they have a solid reputation and don’t allow spammers on their system.

Domain Reputation: Email service providers have begun to track domain names to determine which is more commonly used (or misused) for spam delivery. Many times, an email account on a domain can be hacked and used to send out spam. This abuse could put the domain at risk and affect its score.

Email Recipient Activity: If your email is consistently getting rejected by the recipient mail servers, it could cause problems for your email list. Spam filters now look at the activity of certain email lists to determine how the messages are treated. If   a small number of emails are opened, or even more are deleted before being opened, it returns a “ low quality” response to the mail server, which, in turn, could lead to an unfavorable spam score.

Email Content: The content of your email message plays an integral part in how the spam filter views it. The subject header, images, links, or text content can all lead to an unfavorable score. While drafting a message, you should place just as much emphasis on word and image choices as you would on performance.