How to Avoid The Spam Filters

How to Avoid The Spam Filters


How to avoid the spam filters? Every email marketer on the planet hates the dreaded spam filter. let’s take a look at how you can avoid the spam filter and increase your open rates to increase engagement and sell more products.

The truth is you can’t avoid the spam filter, only get through it to reach the inbox

Once upon a time, you could send an email and it more or less reached everyone you intended it to. Ahh the good old days, the wild west of internet marketing, the times where you could send the words like FRREEE MONEEEYYYY and actually get away with it.

But also a time for the black hat, shady side of the internet marketing world, to hack your grans email address and send emails as their own.

But, not now, oh no. You can hardly put a foot wrong these days without being hurled into sherif Google, or deputy Hotmail’s jail of of ever holding SPAM folder!

A special thanks must go out to AOL for inventing the ‘This is Spam Button’ we are eternally grateful and equally ungrateful.

Jeez, all I wanted to do was send an email and look what happened?

Unfortunately, the spam laws and hardware updates effects all people good and bad. Therefore, ethical marketers like you and I have to change and grow with the times. You have to take the rough with the smooth and grow with the rules.


How to Avoid (get through) the Spam Filters?

Although, the big search engines and ISP’s and email providers, have taken it upon themselves to protect you (over protect maybe) they are doing a pretty good job of it.

Sometimes, trashing important email without without you knowing, because it has a key word they don’t like. But on the whole, I’ll admit they are not doing too bad to keep the everyday person free of inbox stuffing crap and phishing emails.

However, for email marketers all over the world, the job has become a little harder. But for those willing to put in the effort, you can avoid the spam filters by doing some simple tasks to get through to your target audience.

According to research info conducted by ReturnPath, only 79% of emails sent by genuine email marketers reach subscribers’ inboxes.

So what can we do?

Rather than a case of just hitting send and hoping for the best there are actually some things we can do to help. But first let’s have a little tech lesson to show you what happens when you hit send.


This is maybe what people think it is, but this is definitely what is isn’t:


Send ———————– Spam/Inbox


This is what it is:


Send — Email Server — DNS Server — Authentication Server (pass or fail) — Reputation Database (spam filter) — Inbox/Spam

So, without going into the complete technical data analysis of the whole process, you can see that when you hit send your email has to travel past an authentication server, then a reputation database or a gateway to filter out spam, then you have to hit the inbox and not the spam folder.

So in real terms you have a lot of factors to take into consideration to actually have an email reach the inbox of your subscriber.

Fortunately, when you use the software systems we have discussed and the email content and sending techniques it’s not such a big deal but reputation unfortunately is something you must take into account.


How to Not be Filtered by Spam

There are 3 things, the recipients email service looks for when it comes to email integrity:

  • The source
  • The reputation
  • The content

Let’s drill down into these foe a second:

The Source

To ensure you have your emails delivered, it is important to use a good reputable hosting company, have a domain with a good reputation and also maintain a good email sending volume of emails.

Since we talk about using email delivery companies with auto responders, and those companies sending emails on our behalf these should be setup correctly, so the DNS server (mentioned above) can establish that the email is legitimate and from a reputable domain source.

You can do this by setting up DKIM (Domain Key Identifier) within your DNS settings inside your hosting control panel. Here is an example of the Aweber setting which I have setup on my domain:

avoid the spam filters dkim settings

Setting up your DNS settings in this way allows the incoming mail server to identify your domain and the email sending 3rd party for example Aweber.


The Reputation

The reputation of the sender is calculated on a scoring system of 0 to 100 and you are the sender, so this score needs to be as good as it can possibly be.

To maintain a good sender reputation, you need to avoid spam traps.

Spam traps could be any of the following:

  1. Pure Spam Traps – These are email addresses that have never been used by anyone. Pure spam traps are set up with the sole intention of luring in spammers. The address is placed on the Internet where people or robots harvesting email addresses illegitimately will find them.
  2. Recycled Spam Traps – Recycled spam traps are very old email addresses that are no longer in use by the owner. The address has been abandoned for so long the provider has repurposed it as a trap to expose, and block emails from, senders who are not responsibly managing their email marketing program.
  3. Invalid Email Addresses – If someone subscribes using an email address that contains a typo, or they submit a deliberately fake email they don’t want to be emailed to. You the broadcaster run the risk of it being a spam trap email address, just out of pure coincidence from others.
  4. Complaints –  Using the this is spam button has an effect on the sender reputation. Sometimes this can’t be avoided as people can assume the spam button is an unsubscribe but it isn’t. So hitting the spam or replying to the postmaster harms your reputation.


The Content

Unfortunately there is no one size fits all when it comes to content. As we have discussed in writing the perfect email previously. Stick to writing good content, be engaging, informative, and craft your email without being spammy.

To check for a good spam score, your email client, such as Aweber and Get Response have a spam check facility you can use. Avoid excessive spam words such as free and cash, also leading words such as ‘grab this free cash’.

Be creative and engaging. However and unfortunately, being creative and engaging alone isn’t going to stop the spam button, but it does help to maintain a good subscriber base.


Subscriber Engagement

You subscriber engagement is monitored, by your delivery host such as Gmail, AOL, Hotmail etc and they all have their own metrics and systems of monitoring.

As we discussed earlier, the wild west of email marketing has gone and email marketers now have to create positive engagement. So it’s your job as the email marketer to get those emails read, marked as not spam, flagged for later, forwarded and moved to stored folders.

When your readers are engaging your spam score gets better and so does the email deliverability from your domain. So rather than sending a ‘buy my product’ email. The next time be a little creative and craft an email worth reading!


Clean Your List

This maybe a hard thing for you to do at first but it has to be done. I’ll explain the reasons below.

Here’s an example:

Imagine you have 20,000 people on your mailing list housed inside your software company Aweber or Get Response database.

You email these people daily, weekly, monthly and have been for the last 3 years. However your metrics have been dropping slowly and open rates reducing and engagement falling away.

You acknowledge this as a problem but don’t want to remove them from your list, after all you have ‘20,000’ subscribers! Wow look at me…

But do you have 20,000 subscribers? 

No, you don’t! But my email database says I do?

Remember when we discussed not everyone unsubscribes. In fact a very small percentage actually use the unsubscribe link. Most people hit the spam button because they think it unsubscribes, or actually change email an addresses when they get too many unwanted emails.

What does this leave you with?

It leaves you with invalid email addresses and spammed email addresses which are hurting deliverability, why? Because the reputation server and spam filters are spamming the emails coming from your domain.

Anything not used, no longer valid or unopened is hurting your reputation…

As much as it may hurt to remove 10 to 15k subscribers from your list, you must remove the dead wood!



This is a very technical part of this series, but one you must adhere to as your list grows. Your deliverability is everything and reputation equally important.

Follow the tips how to avoid the spam filters (get through the spam filters) and you should see your email delivery increase dramatically.


Are You Enjoying The Email Marketing for Beginners Series?

Finally, I hope you are enjoyed ‘How to Avoid The Spam Filters?’. If you want to learn more or skip to the next part. Check below you can find the links to the full 10 part series:

  1. Introduction
  2. How to Write The Perfect Email
  3. 50 Email Marketing Headlines to Make You a Legend
  4. Tools to Building Your Subscriber List
  5. How and Where to Build Your Email List
  6. What is Email Segmentation and How to Use it
  7. How to Avoid The Spam Filters
  8. Impressive Email Marketing Style
  9. How to Automate and Test Email Marketing
  10. Beginners Email Marketing Conclusion


Comments – Over to You

Please comment on your thoughts below. I would love to hear what you think about ‘How to Avoid The Spam Filters’. Is there anything you would add or any tips you se yourself that would help others?


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