How to avoid emails being marked as Junk

This guide is intended to provide advice for LCN customers to help stop email being marked as junk by other email providers.

We’ll look at steps that you can take to establish a reputation for your email address which can influence how other mail providers handle incoming mail sent from your domain/address. We’ll also cover some steps that you can take to try and avoid triggering spam filter rules by considering the content of the messages that you send.

Please note: These recommendations may not apply for domains engaging in email-marketing/mass-mailing campaigns. We don’t support bulk-mailing on our shared hosting platform and would recommend contacting a bulk mail provider or email marketing specialist for these purposes.

Email and domain reputation

Mail providers and spam filter providers may assign a reputation score to domain names that can influence if messages sent from the domain are filtered as junk. There are various factors that can affect the email reputation of a domain – some of these will be explained below:

  • Engagement: The level of engagement with messages that you send can affect the email reputation for your domain. Engagement can refer to; whether or not messages from your address are opened/read, deleted without being opened, links within the message are clicked on and if the mails are replied to or forwarded for example.
  • Volume of mail: Sending high volumes of mail to addresses with the same provider can make it more likely for messages to be filtered.
  • Age of domain: Newly registered domains are usually treated as suspicious during the first few weeks of registration. It can take 2-3 months to start to establish an email reputation for new domains.
  • Messages marked as spam: When a recipient marks a message as spam it can have a significant negative affect on the email reputation for your domain. Messages being marked as spam could cause all other message sent to accounts with the same mail provider to be filtered as junk.

Establishing a new email address

There are some steps you can take when you start using a new email address to start to establish a reputation for the address.

Start by sending emails from your new address to any accounts you hold with some of the major free e-mail providers (Hotmail, Gmail, AOL, Yahoo etc.) If you notice the message being filtered into junk folders mark the messages as non-spam and add to a safe-senders list if this option is provided.

Consider also sending messages to your list of contacts to notify them of your new address, asking the recipients to add your address to their safe-senders list or mark the message as non-spam if it ends up in their junk folder. This should help to avoid messages being filtered as junk with the recipients that you contact most frequently.

Message content and spam-filtering

The following recommendations should help to avoid triggering spam filter rules for outgoing messages sent from your account.

  • Avoid using ALL-CAPS in subject lines and message content: Using all capital letters in the subject line or content of an email might seem like a good way to make the message more visible and to indicate urgency but will make it more likely that the message will be blocked or filtered as junk.
  • Always include a subject: Leaving the subject line blank will also make it more likely for messages to be filtered.
  • Avoid spam trigger words and terms: Certain words and phrases are more likely to trigger spam filtering rules. These terms can change over time and are based on the content of spam messages currently in circulation. You can search for a list of spam-filter trigger words to get an up-to-date list of the terms to try and avoid.
  • Avoid marking messages as ‘Urgent’ or ‘High-priority’: Using the options within mail clients to mark messages as high (or low) priority can trigger spam filter rules on some mail systems.
  • Avoid using multiple exclamation marks: Including multiple exclamation marks!!!, or other strings of punctuation!?!?!? can trigger spam filter rules making it more likely that a message is blocked or filtered as junk.
  • Sending emails with attachments: If you are sending an email to a new contact that you haven’t emailed before, including a file attachment can make it likely that the message will be blocked by spam filters. If you’re emailing a new contact for the first time and need to send a file-attachment, consider sending a text-only email first asking the recipient to white-list your address before sending the attachment. Attachments with office documents using macros are also more likely to be blocked by spam filters – particularly if the macros include any ‘document_open’ or ‘workbook_open’ commands.
  • Suitable image-to-text ratio: Sending image-only mails with no text or only a small amount of text is likely to trigger spam filtering rules.
  • Optimise images for email: If you include an image in your signature line or within the content of messages that you regularly send from your account, make sure that the image is optimised for email. Images should use a compressed file-format with suitable dimensions to minimise the disk-spaced used by the image and the size of the emails that you send.

When you’re notified that your message went into junk

If a recipient notifies you that a message you have sent has gone into their junk folder, asking the recipient to either whitelist your address, add the address to a safe-senders list or mark the message as non-spam within their spam filter should help to avoid future messages being blocked.

Moving messages in Gmail from promotions tab to inbox

When you send mail to a Gmail address it’s possible that the email may not show up in the recipients inbox folder. Gmail will attempt to filter messages into different streams so that promotional/social-network messages won’t be listed when viewing your inbox. If a message you have sent to a Gmail address has been filtered into the promotions tab of the Gmail inbox, asking the recipient to drag the message into their inbox should help to make sure future messages are listed under the inbox folder when received.

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