Why Emails Go to Spam and How to Prevent It

Not a single marketer, even the most successful out there, hasn’t experienced email deliverability issues. In fact, it’s not unusual for your email to end up anywhere but the desired inbox.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to email deliverability, which sometimes makes it a tricky business. Even if you think you’ve got (almost) everything right - proper authentication, excellent email copy, and so on, your email may still end up in the spam folder.

But don’t worry. I’m here to tell you about the possible reasons why this might happen and what you can do to prevent it.

So stick around and let’s begin!

*TLDR: Email deliverability is more complex than you think. Your emails might end up as spam because you’ve purchased email lists online or provided inaccurate sender information, or there are too many spam triggers in the email, weak subject lines, or grammar errors in your email copy. You can ensure this doesn’t happen by building your own email lists, using double-opt, cleaning your email lists regularly, ensuring your emails have proper authentication protocols, and ensuring your email copy is well-written and relevant for your clients. *

Why Are My Emails Going to Spam?

Let’s go over why your emails might end up in the wrong place.

1. You’ve Obtained Email Addresses Without Permission

Rule number one regarding email marketing is you never get an email address without asking for permission first.

This means that you should never buy email addresses online. It’s unethical, and they’re also loaded with spam traps, which is super bad for business.

The email addresses you add to your list should only be there if the person behind them consented, usually through an opt-in registration.

2. Inaccurate Sender Information

All of your sender’s information, like the “From” and “To” elements, as well as “Reply-To” and the routing information (info about the destination address), have to be correct and properly identify the business/company and the people behind them.

That means that if you don’t clearly say who you are and if you include inaccurate, misleading information, your email is likely to end up in the spam folder.

3. You’re Using Spam Trigger Terms In Your Emails

Email spam filters are very diligent about the content of your email and the subject line and use them to decide whether the message ends up in the spam folder or the subscriber’s inbox.

Subject lines like: “Congratulations, you’ve won __!”, or “Win a free __”, “Double your earnings!” can definitely become a cause of concern for these spam filters.

Trigger words like “Earn extra money/cash/income”, “Congratulations __”, “No fees”, “Bonus”, “This is not a scam/spam”, as well as too many punctuation signs (especially exclamation marks) and emojis, can all be considered spam red flags by filters.

4. You Have Weak Subject Lines

Email subject lines are super important for your email open rates. It’s the first thing your subscriber/client sees in their inbox that makes them decide whether they will open the email or not.

In fact, do you know that 69% of recipients report that emails are spam based on their subject lines?

That’s why the trigger words I mentioned earlier should be avoided.

If your emails keep ending up in the spam folder, you may be doing this with your subject lines:

  • They sound like you’re giving false promises;

  • You’re using too many capital letters;

  • You sound too pushy;

  • Your subject lines don’t match the email content;

  • Your subject lines aren’t precise.

5. The Spelling and Grammar of Your Email Aren’t Exemplary

Errors in spelling and grammar are one of the first tell-tale signs of a spam or phishing email. That’s why you have to pay extra attention to them as well. Not to mention that spelling and grammar errors look very unprofessional in your subscribers’ eyes.

Now, I know that sometimes stubborn grammar errors can escape even the most diligent human checks, which is why it’s a good idea to put your text through a spell-checking tool, like Grammarly, for example.

How Can I Prevent My Emails From Ending Up as Spam

Next, I’ll tell you about some of the best practices you can follow to make sure your emails won’t end up in the spam folder.

1. Build Email Lists on Your Own

As I mentioned above, purchasing email lists online is one of the worst things you can do. Building and expanding email lists on your own is the way to go.

When you control your own lists, you know that people consented to be there and that you’re not including any unwanted spam traps. Also, with additional help from segmentation and curated lists, you can always send relevant information to your subscribers and clients, which also helps engagement big time.

2. Use the Double Opt-In Option for Email Signup

This one dovetails on the previous tip. The double opt-in option is important when you want to ensure that your subscribers want to be on your email list.

It usually means that once they put basic data in the signup box of your website, they’ll receive a welcome email or confirmation email containing a link which they will have to press to (doubly) confirm their signup process - hence the double opt-in term. This will then put them on your email list.

3. Regularly Clean Up Your Email Lists

Okay, so you’ve created your online list. But that also means you need to maintain it regularly. Customers and subscribers come and go, it’s a natural process and perfectly normal for business. But to keep delivery rates high, you need to clean these lists every couple of months (at least every three to every six months). The quality of your list is what matters most.

This means you’ll have to check the engagement rates with every subscriber on the list and remove the subscribers who’ve been dormant or unresponsive for too long, even after several attempts to reach them. Also, look at bounced emails and dead or false email addresses.

Bento uses a pretty robust system that regularly cleans your lists to make sure there are no spam addresses. Pair that with our filter targeting active subscribers and your open rates will see a considerable boost.

4. Make Sure Your Emails are Properly Authenticated

Email authentication is important so that email servers know you’re indeed you and that the emails you send aren’t spam.

These are some of the most common methods used for email authentication:

  • The SPF protocol (Sender Policy Framework) - this one is used to confirm your identity as a sender. It compares your (the sender’s) IP, which can be found in the DNS record of your domain, with a list of IPs that have the authorization to send from that same domain.

  • The DKIM protocol (Domain Keys Identified Mail) - this one makes sure that your email isn’t used for malicious purposes during the sending process.

  • The DMARC protocol (Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance) - this one uses the two previous protocols (SPF and DKIM) to make sure sent and delivered emails are safe.

  • The BIMI protocol (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) - a recent practice in which your logo goes through several authorization procedures to make sure that it is indeed your company standing behind it. It helps for brand recognition, better email security, and better deliverability.

5. Make Sure Your Email Copy is Well Written

As I mentioned, grammar and spelling errors can also spell doom for your email (pun intended). And that’s why it’s so important to double, even triple-check your grammar in the emails you send.

Also, ensure that your emails aren’t too long and that they are concise and relevant to the interests and desires of the clients who receive them.

6. Batch Send out Your Emails

If you try and send out to your whole list at once, this triggers a lot of email clients to think it’s spam and block the email. If this happens a lot, it gets your sending IP blocked as well and all future emails are guaranteed to be sent to spam. This is a common mistake many people make and Bento is set up to prevent it.

In Bento whenever you set up an email send you need to select a batch size of emails to send at once. A default number is supplied based on the data we have for how many emails can be safely sent at once.


Email deliverability is a huge topic that can’t be tackled in one article. But, I do hope I managed to make some basic things clear so you can prevent your emails from ending up in the spam folder too often.