Why are my emails going to spam?

For anyone sending marketing emails, spam is just another part of the process that you have to deal with. 

Spam filters are constantly evolving to keep our inboxes clean and only show us the emails we want. With that, it's important to understand how email clients are determining if an email is spam so you can ensure the emails you send aren't incorrectly identified.

What is Spam? How do Spam Filters work? Email Firewalls
How to avoid being reported as Spam

What is Spam?

Spam is any email that is sent unsolicited, in bulk to a list of recipients. It often includes fake content designed to get the reader click links to inadvertently give up personal details or download viruses for example. But spam could also just be commercial content sent to recipients that never asked for it. 

While not all spam has malicious content, if it's sent to contacts without their permission then it is still considered spam. For example if you buy a list of prospects, even if they very much fit the profile of what your content is about, if you send an email to that list then your email would be spam. All because they haven't given you explicit permission to email them.

How do spam filters work?

There are a range of factors that contribute to an email being identified as spam and spam filters combine them all, with different factors carrying more weight than others. Emails are then scored based on those factors and it's determined if the email is spam or not.

All spam filters are not created equal however. They're specific to each email server so an email could be considered as spam by one, but not the other. The list of factors that are taken into account is constantly growing as spammers evolve and become more sophisticated. In addition, when people use the manual options to mark an email as spam, the email providers gain more insight into what should be considered spam and use that to further expand what their spam filter will catch. Of course email providers don't share details about the criteria they use to identify spam as it would help the spammers get around their filters. That being said, there are certain things you can do to ensure that your emails have the best chance of arriving in the inbox:

  • The Campaign Data: Using details to personalize your emails, using their name in the email subject (using merge tags) (link) and making sure you're sending from a verified domain (link). You can also ask the recipients to add your address to their address book to help identify your emails as from a known sender.
  • Your IP address: Spam filters can flag emails that are sent from an IP address that has been associated with spam. For example, if another Transpond customer sends spam, it can affect the emails that you send. Because of this we are constantly monitoring our sender reputation, making sure everyone is following the rules and terms (link). 
  • Code used in your email templates: Email templates that use bad code or extra tag or code generated by Microsoft Word can often result in emails going to spam. With Transpond we make it really easy to create beautiful email templates (link) without having to worry about that. If you do decide to write your own email templates then we recommend that you work with an experienced designer to make sure you don't run into this.
  • Your email content: There is some email content that is more prone to being caught by spam filters. It could be the actual written content but also images. There aren't any strict rules around the content but instead we can recommend a few key things to think about when you design your emails;
    • Design your campaigns with clear content that matches what your contacts expect to receive and will promote engagement.
    • Ensure all your contacts have opted in to receive your emails
    • Stay consistent and true to the brand that your contacts have grown to expect, not just in emails but in all channels. 
    • Make sure to test your campaigns. You can use our built in spam testing tools and the A/B testing features to learn how your contacts engage with your content and how it affects open rates and spam reports. 
  • Engagement: Spam filters will take engagements into consideration when flagging your emails as spam or not. Low engagement might make it more likely that your emails ends up in the spam folder. Therefore it's important that you increase engagement by designing your campaigns well, segmenting your emails so they're going to recipients, and that you personalize them - all so that the recipients are more likely to engage.

Email Firewalls

An Email Firewall works in a similar way to a spam filter however they're designed to filter emails based on the email server you're using. Email Firewalls are used by Internet Server Providers, bigger corporations, as well as small businesses. They communicate with each other so they can identify what techniques are used by spammers and are especially useful for when there's a high volume of spam.

Email Firewalls learn what is spam based on recipient reports which in turn affects your reputation Once reported, the data is shared which keeps spammers from being able to switch mail server to continue spamming. Instead the firewalls will know to block the sender based on other details rather than just the mail server. 

How to avoid being reported as Spam

With everything mentioned above, there is one key thing to help avoid your emails being reported as spam - Permission. Make sure that you always have your contacts' permission to email them. Below we'll go into some more details on what you can do to ensure you and your contacts are on the same page so you can avoid them reporting your emails as spam.

What opt-in method to use

When you use a Transpond Signup Form you can choose the double opt-in method which means that after filling in the form, the contact receives an email to confirm their subscription. This has two main benefits. It ensures that the email address used is valid which keeps your bounce rate low and it ensures the person filling in the form owns the email address. 

There are of course other ways to get contacts into your Transpond account. They could come from a 3rd party service like our Capsule integration or from a custom form using the Transpond API. When using these methods, please make sure that the contacts have still given you permission to email them.

Don't use bought lists

It is against the Transpond Terms to use lists that you have bought from a 3rd party. Not only that but purchased lists often contains bad addresses which results in a higher bounce rate and your reputation being damaged. Apart from the risk of losing your Transpond account you it will have a negative effect on your business as a whole and can damage your brand, even resulting in legal actions. 

Don't assume permission

It's understandable that you might send out a range of different types of emails. Your customers might expect emails with product updates but that doesn't mean they've opted in for a weekly newsletter. Be open with your contacts about what you're sending them and if you're planning on sending out different content then make use of Groups so your contacts have the opportunity to opt in and out of the content they want.

Don't wait too long to email your contacts

Even the best of mailing lists can go stale if you wait too long. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to increase your bounce rate, spam reports and unsubscribes. 

Instead you can setup automations to send new subscribers a welcome email, reminding them what they signed up to and how often they can expect to be emailed.

If you notice that your bounce rate is going up and you're concerned that your list is going stale then you can use Transpond's List Clean feature to clean up your list and ensure you're only emailing active contacts. 

Your emails are a part of your brand

For some of your contacts, your email marketing could be the only engagement they have with your brand,. Treat your emails as such and make it easy for your contacts to recognize your content. Use branding content like logos, images, colors etc that they'll immediately recognize as yours and it will help avoid your emails being mis-reported as spam. 

Make sure unsubscribe links are always clearly visible in your emails. If they're difficult to find your contacts are more likely to report your emails as spam rather than just unsubscribing. A few less subscribers is a lot better than even a single spam report, which would damage your reputation.


If you have any questions about what this article talks about or need help with anything spam related, please reach out to us and we'll be happy to help.

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us