Emails are still a pretty important tool for communication. However, with so many instant messaging apps, getting your message through emails can be tricky. 

Your subject lines need to be interesting enough for people to open them, but if you use one wrong word, you’ll land straight in the spam box. 

Your carefully crafted message disappears from the intended recipient’s inbox, never to be seen. This not only decreases your reach but it might also frustrate recipients who were expecting your email. 

Imagine the disappointment of a customer missing out on an important promotion that landed straight in spam!

The good news? There are ways to avoid this fate. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss 7 best practices that can save you from the negative consequences of being marked as a SPAM. So, let’s get started. 

The Dreaded SPAM Folder: Understanding the Impacts

Landing in the spam folder isn’t just a minor inconvenience. It can have serious consequences for your email marketing efforts. 

Here’s a closer look at the damage it causes.

Reduced Visibility and Engagement

Spam filters act like bouncers at a club, only letting in the “cool” emails (or at least those that seem legitimate). 

If your email gets flagged, it never reaches the recipient’s inbox, significantly reducing your open rates – the percentage of people who actually open your email.

This translates to fewer people seeing your message and taking action, like clicking on a link or making a purchase. So you might send out an exciting new product launch email, but nobody will be able to see it. 

Unless they actively go and search the spam box, which nobody does. 

Damaged Reputation

Repeatedly being marked as spam can damage your brand’s sender reputation. This score, assigned by email providers like Gmail, reflects how trustworthy your emails are.

A poor sender reputation makes it even harder for future emails to reach inboxes, creating a vicious cycle. Think of it like having a bad credit score for email. It becomes increasingly difficult to get your messages through, hindering your ability to connect with your audience.

Check out this video if you don’t know how to check your email reputation and score

If you have a low Google Postmaster Tool, you can go through our guide to identify the common issues and how to tackle them. 

Increased Difficulty Reaching Inbox

Even if you manage to get a single email out of the spam folder, the damage might already be done. Gmail and other email providers factor past behavior into their filtering decisions. 

So, if you’ve been flagged as spam before, your future emails will face an even steeper climb to reach the inbox. It’s like being put on an email probation list – every email you send will be scrutinized more heavily.

7 Powerful Strategies to Avoid the Gmail SPAM Folder 

Now that we’ve explored the dark side of the spam folder let’s shed some light on how to avoid it altogether. 

Here are 7 tried and tested strategies to ensure your emails land safely in inboxes. 

Build a Permission-Based Email List

This might seem obvious, but it’s the foundation of successful email marketing.  Avoid buying email lists or scraping them from the web. 

These practices are not only unethical, but they’re also full of inactive or invalid addresses that can hurt your sender’s reputation. 

Instead, focus on building a permission-based list.  This means people have explicitly signed up to receive your emails, indicating their interest in what you have to offer. 

Use sign-up forms on your website, landing pages, or social media profiles to collect email addresses with clear opt-in options.

Craft Compelling Subject Lines

The subject line is your email’s first impression. It needs to be clear, concise, and engaging enough to entice people to open.  

Avoid spammy tactics like ALL CAPS, excessive exclamation points, and misleading information. Instead, focus on accurately reflecting the content of your email and sparking curiosity. 

Think of it as a mini-headline that grabs attention without resorting to clickbait.

Maintain Clean and Updated Email Lists

Even the most meticulously built list can get cluttered over time. People change jobs, email addresses become inactive, and invalid addresses can sneak in. 

Regularly remove inactive subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in a long time.

This not only improves your sender’s reputation but also ensures your emails are reaching engaged recipients who are genuinely interested in your content.  

There are various email marketing tools (like Mailvio, ZeroBounce, etc) that can help you identify and remove inactive subscribers. 

If you want to know more about how to maintain a clean email list, we have a guide with 7 hassle-free tips that you can check out

Prioritize Email Content Quality

Nobody enjoys spammy emails filled with irrelevant promotions and generic content. Focus on delivering valuable and relevant content that resonates with your target audience.  

Provide insights, educate, entertain, or offer exclusive deals that genuinely benefit your subscribers.  This not only keeps them engaged but also reduces the chances of them marking your emails as spam.

Authenticate Your Domain

If you receive a package with a fake return address, you’d be suspicious, right?  Email authentication works similarly. 

It’s a way to tell Gmail and other email providers that you’re the legitimate sender of your emails, not someone trying to impersonate your company. 

This is especially important to prevent phishing scams that often spoof real companies’ email addresses. There are two main protocols used for email authentication.

  1. SPF (Sender Policy Framework):  SPF is like a whitelist. It tells email providers which email servers are authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain. By setting up an SPF record, you essentially vouch for the servers you use to send emails.
  2. DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail):  DKIM adds a digital signature to your emails, like a tamper-proof seal. This signature is verified by the recipient’s email server, ensuring the email hasn’t been altered in transit.

If you’re still confused, check out this video by Google Workspace on how to set up email authentication

Setting up SPF and DKIM authentication might sound technical, but most email marketing platforms offer user-friendly guides to walk you through the process.  

The benefits are clear: increased email deliverability, a boost to your sender reputation, and ultimately, a higher chance of landing in inboxes, not the spam folder.

Design Mobile-Friendly Emails: 

With over half of all emails opened on mobile devices, it’s crucial to ensure your emails render flawlessly on smaller screens. 

Here are some key tips for designing mobile-friendly emails

  • Use a single-column layout:  Avoid complex layouts with multiple columns that can become jumbled on a small screen.  Opt for a clean, single-column design that stacks content vertically for easy reading.
  • Keep it concise:  Mobile users have limited attention spans.  Focus on delivering your message in a clear and concise way.  Avoid lengthy paragraphs and break up text with bullet points or images.
  • Prioritize large buttons:  Make sure your call-to-action buttons are big enough for easy tapping on a touchscreen.  Use clear and concise button text that tells users exactly what will happen when they click.
  • Test on different devices:  Don’t just design for one screen size.  Use email marketing tools that allow you to preview your emails on different devices like smartphones and tablets.  This ensures your email looks great and functions flawlessly across all platforms.

Monitor and Analyze Performance

Don’t send your emails into the void, and hope for the best.  Track key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.  

This data provides valuable insights into how your emails are performing and helps you identify areas for improvement.  

Are your subject lines not grabbing attention? Is your content not resonating with your audience? 

By analyzing your performance, you can constantly refine your strategy and ensure your emails stay out of the spam folder.

Beyond the 7: Advanced Strategies to Stay Out of SPAM (Optional)

The 7 strategies we’ve covered are good enough for avoiding the spam folder. But for those who want an extra edge, here are some advanced tactics.

Leverage Email Marketing Tools

Many email marketing platforms offer features specifically designed to improve email deliverability. These can include-

  • Spam checker tools: It helps you analyze your email content for potential spam triggers and suggest improvements.
  • List cleaning services: it identifies and removes invalid or inactive email addresses from your list.
  • IP reputation monitoring: It helps track the health of your sending IP address and identify potential issues.

Warm Up Your Sending Domain

If you’re a new sender, it’s important to gradually increase your email volume.  A sudden surge of emails can trigger spam filters, especially if you haven’t established a good sender reputation yet.  

Start by sending a small number of emails and gradually increase the volume over time as your reputation builds. It’s like warming up your email-sending muscles to avoid raising red flags with spam filters.

Monitor Spam Complaint Rates

Even with the best intentions, some recipients might accidentally mark your emails as spam.  It’s crucial to monitor your spam complaint rates, which is the percentage of recipients who flag your emails as spam.

A high complaint rate can significantly damage your sender’s reputation. If you see a rise in complaints, analyze your emails to identify potential issues and take corrective actions.


As we’ve seen, landing in the Gmail spam folder is a nightmare scenario for any email marketing campaign. It not only affects your reach but also damages your brand reputation. By following the strategies outlined in this blog, you can significantly improve your email deliverability and ensure your messages reach the inboxes that matter most.

Things like landing in the spam box are just the starting blocks.  For complex email marketing needs, consider seeking professional help from email marketing platforms or marketing agencies. With a well-crafted strategy and continuous improvement, you can ensure your emails reach and connect with the right audience.


Diptesh is a professional content writer and aficionado of Email Marketing and Affiliate Marketing. An experienced entrepreneur with both offline and online businesses, he understands the importance of email marketing and has plenty of first-hand experience supplementing his revenue streams with affiliate marketing.

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