One of the root causes of not getting enough response from a mail campaign is the open rate that is affected due to the emails landing in the junk folder of the recipient.
- Inbox providers: Users use this to send and receive emails. Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail are a few examples of inbox providers.
- Email service providers: The software used by marketers to send emails to a list. It includes mass mailing campaigns, automation, transactional emails, etc. Mailchimp, Mailjet, SendGrid are a few examples of email service providers.
- Email filters: Decides whether the email should go in the inbox, promotions tab, or junk folder.
Why does the email land in the spam/junk folder?
Your emails land in the junk folder because either:
- The recipient marked your email as spam
- The email filters of the inbox providers of the recipient guessed your email to be a spam
This article does not cover the remedies to avoid getting marked as spam by end-user.
The inbox providers try to provide the best and the safest solution to their users. Due to spam and phishing emails, the biggest struggle of the inbox providers has been to provide the safest way for their users to send, receive, and manage their emails.
When an inbox provider receives an email to be delivered to a particular user, the email filters try to judge the safety and the nature of that particular email on various parameters. Based on that, the email either goes in the inbox, promotions tab, junk folder or gets blocked permanently.
The factors that determine whether your email will land in the inbox or not
Authenticity and Safety are the two most important factors that determine whether your email will land in the junk folder or not.
The inbox provider checks the authenticity and legitimacy of the email. If the receiving server fails to verify the authenticity of the email, it will directly categorize that email as spam, and/or it will show a warning to the users.
Inbox providers with the help of email filters consider various factors to judge the safety of the email which includes but not limited to
- The reputation of the sender ID, the domain name of the sender ID, the IP address from which the email has been sent
- Content of the email
How the inbox providers check the authenticity of the email?
Inbox providers check the SPF and DKIM records in the DNS of the domain name to verify the authenticity of the email.
Sender Policy Framework or SPF is a TXT record added in the DNS of the domain name that contains the list of servers that are allowed to send emails on behalf of that domain name.
Domain Keys Identified Mail or DKIM is an email security standard that checks if the emails are altered in transit between sending and recipient servers. In this, every email sent from the sending server is signed with a Digital Signature. The receiving server validates this signature to verify the authorization. All the emails are encrypted with a private key. The receiving email server can verify the signature with the public key added in the DNS of the domain name.
Every email service that you use, whether it is an inbox provider service or email marketing service, SPF and DKIM must be set up for all those services.
Many people who use inbox provider services ignore this important step. Due to this, even if they are sending legitimate and safe emails, most of their emails go into the junk folder of the recipients.
Most mass-mailing services force you to do this. If still, you haven’t done it, do it now, else don’t be surprised if you are getting a very low email open rate.
How the inbox providers judge the safety of the email?
There are some blacklist directories that maintain the information about the senders, domain names, servers, and IP addresses who have a history of doing suspicious activities which also includes spamming, phishing, spoofing, etc.
The inbox providers refer to these directories to prevent any spam email from entering their system.
If your sender ID, domain name, email service name, or the IP address of the email service is blacklisted in these directories, there is a high probability that your emails will land in the junk folder.
- While buying a new domain name, check the history of that domain name. If that domain name was previously owned by someone else, you have to dig deeper and find if that domain name was blacklisted in the past.
- Regularly check the reputation of your emails in your email marketing software. Try to improve it.
- You can check the sender reputation on https://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx
- Find ways to get yourself removed from the blacklist.
With the help of machine learning algorithms, the email filters try to find if the email is safe for the users by reading the content of the email. Even if the words or sentences are found to be fraudulent or spammy semantically, your email will land in the junk folder.
- Don’t use words like free, money, finance, health, safety, bonus, etc. in your emails.
- If you have to, make sure the sentence does not create an impression of being unsafe or fraudulent to the recipient.
- Add the physical address of your business in the email.
- Provide a link to unsubscribe from your email list.
- Use a subject line that is relevant to the content of the email.
If the email contains links to websites that are potentially harmful to the users, the email filters will either put that email in the junk folder and/or show a warning to the users when they open such email.
- Do not add suspicious links to your email.
- Make sure your email has no dead links.
Many inbox providers try to read the files attached to the emails.
Sometimes it fails to scan the files because either files are too large or the files are encrypted.
If the software solution fails to scan the attached files or it finds that the files can be harmful to the users, it directly puts such email in the junk folder.
- Always send large files using a third-party file hosting solution like Google Drive or Dropbox. This will also save the storage space of your email solution.
- If you have to attach an encrypted file, mention the same in the content of the email so the algorithm of the email filters and/or the inbox providers will understand the intention of sending the encrypted file. But this will not ensure the delivery of the email in the inbox.
Email is one of the most widely used communication channels by us. It has very great potential to reach our target audience, increase engagement with our brand, and generate revenue for the business.
Email going in the junk folder is one of the top reasons why people fail to generate enough results from this medium.
Follow the best practices to avoid reaching the junk folder of the recipient.