Cleaning Up Your Emails to Stay Out of the Trash

by | Sep 12, 2016 | Uncategorized

Optimizing Your Emails to Avoid Spam Filters

Anyone who has developed an email marketing campaign has felt the pain of running up against spam filters. Researchers have found that only about 79 percent of permission-based emails sent by marketers actually reach their destination. While spam filters and Internet service providers, or ISPs, are working harder than ever to increase the chances of delivering relevant material to your inbox, it is important to have a general knowledge of spam filters and what you can do to ensure that your emails make it through.

A Basic Understanding of Spam

Spam is everywhere and consists mostly of unsolicited pitches to explicit exhortations, undesired opinions and useless information. Rarely do we receive a piece of content that we truly want to see. The biggest concerns with spam are the risk of getting swindled and receiving viruses, worms and other malware. Companies make money by selling email lists for the sole purpose of getting that spam in front of you and as many eyes as possible.

This is why the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 was introduced to provide restrictions against companies slamming you with email after email. This law sets the rules for commercial emails, establishing requirements and spelling out tough penalties for those who fail to comply. Some of the key takeaways from this law include:

  • Do not use false or misleading header information.
  • Do not use deceptive subject lines.
  • Do identify the message as an ad.
  • Do tell the recipients where you are located.
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  • Do tell the recipient how to opt out of receiving future emails from you.
  • Do honor opt-out requests promptly (within 10 business days).
  • Do monitor what others are doing on your behalf.

Tips and Tricks

In a blog post titled “Why Your Email Gets Sent to Spam & Quick Tips to Keep Out of the Can,” Ninja Forms presents the following list of additional steps you can take to avoid having your emails stripped out by spam filters or firewalls.

  2. D o n’ t  p u t  g a p s  b e t w e e n  l e t t e r s  a n y w h e r e !
  3. One exclamation point works just fine – don’t go crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. Stay away from words and phrases that sound too much like a sales pitch: Buy Now, Click Here, Free, As Seen On, Double Your X, Moneymaking, Get Paid, Make Cash, Preapproved, Satisfaction Guaranteed, Low Price, Save Big, etc.
  5. Encourage subscribers to white list or add you as a contact, and personalize your “To” field with each recipient’s name.
  6. Be sure your “From” name is relevant to your business or website to add credibility and prevent confusion.
  7. Keep images to a minimum. Having more space taken up by images instead of text in the body of an email raises red flags. Aim for a high text-to-image ratio by area.
  8. Be very careful about the quality and quantity of links in your content. Minimize the number of links and avoid using URL shorteners.
  9. Provide a clear and obvious feature that allows subscribers to opt out from future emails, and follow through promptly.
  10. Reach out to inactive subscribers and keep your contact lists whittled down to those who really want to hear from you. This will reduce the likelihood that recipients who have lost interest in you and your offerings will mark your messages as spam to stop receiving your emails because it is faster than unsubscribing.

Most of us don’t think about the journey our emails will take after we click the “Send” button, and we don’t realize or consider what our emails actually have to go through before landing in the inboxes of our target audience. Hopefully this post will elevate your appreciation for creating email messaging that is better and more successful at being delivered to your intended recipients. We would like to hear from you if you have any questions or if you would like to share your tips and experiences!


Federal Trade Commission (September 2009). CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business. Retrieved from

MailChimp (2016). Resources/Guides: How to Avoid Spam Filters. Retrieved from

Morgan, Q. (September 2015). Ninja Forms: Why Your Email Gets Sent to Spam & Quick Tips to Keep Out of the Can! Retrieved from

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Six Degrees
Six Degrees uses psycho-sensory tools and techniques to build more successful national and global brands. Brands are rooted in human perception. And our psycho-sensory approach is designed to identify deeper and richer insights from human perception and then develop brand communications that change suboptimal perceptions or reinforce the right perceptions. More than 80 percent of the information humans process is nonverbal, making it essential that brands manage the sensory signals they send out. Our people are passionate branding experts wielding powerful psycho-sensory tools to build stronger and more successful brands across the globe.

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