5 Reasons Your Email Is Going To Spam

Recently, one of our solopreneur clients asked “Why is my email ending up in people’s spam folders?”   Various things contribute to the spam risk rating or spam score of each email sent.

A spam score is assigned on a scale of 1-10, with lower being better.  By lowering one or all of your risks which escalate your spam score, you can safely end up back in people’s inbox.

Here are some things that incrementally contribute to your email ending up in spam. Each contributing factor may have a different weight to it. Overall, if you keep ending up in spam folders, you will have to figure out your own magical combination of things to use or eliminate to get your spam score low enough to get past the spam filters.

1. Desktop Mail Clients, Cheap Web Hosting & Email Going To Spam

Using a desktop email client like Microsoft Outlook without SSL authentication increases your chance of ending up in spam folders.  This is also true if you are using a “value priced” web hosting company and just routing your email through a desktop client like Outlook.

Why?  Because your individual computer, where your individual version of Microsoft Outlook ( or other email client) resides, has a higher risk of being hacked over say, Google’s Gmail service.  Giant companies like Google and Microsoft with their Office 365 products work hard to ensure security, and so, Internet Service Providers lower the spam rating of emails being sent from one of those email services.  But you, with your home computer, or small office computer with neglected network security…well, your email is more of a risk.

Solution: Switch to Google Apps For Work or Microsoft Office 365.

2. HTML code in your email signature can increase the chances of your email ending up in a spam folder.

Why? Because HTML can be used to obfuscate links to malicious sources. Now, I’m not saying you’re a malicious hacker or sending out spam, but the bots and filters don’t know you personally.  They just work on set parameters.  And HTML in your signature is another check box on the “this email looks suspicious” list.

Another quick note about HTML in email – some people don’t realize that inserting stationery available in their email client ends up being delivered as HTML to the recipient, thus, increasing the spam risk rating of their email.  So if you use a background theme in Outlook, you may want to remove it.

Solution: Remove HTML from your email signature.

3. DNS SPF Record For Spam Protection

Another reason your email may end up in spam folders is because when your mail server sends email to another mail server, the receiving mail server checks the authenticity of the message by looking for a DNS SPF record.

SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework.  The SPF record specifies the actual servers that are allowed to send email on behalf of your domain.  So if a mail server sends an email, and is not part of the SPF record, it is rejected.

You have likely received a phishing email in your time, which appeared to be from a reputable organization you do business with, but was in fact from a malicious sender.  These emails are utilizing Sender Address Forgery, and this is exactly what a DNS SPF record fights against.

Solution: Create an SPF record for your domain. Most users will require the help of their IT support person to accomplish this.

4. The Recipient’s Settings May Be Sending Your Email To Their Spam Folder

Why? There is spam filtering in most email clients and they vary from client to client. You can’t control this. What you can do is lower your level of suspicion.

5. Language Used In Your Email Can Affect Your Spam Score

Using sales-y language, advertising, prices, poor punctuation and grammar and certain keywords related to off colour industries (you know the ones we mean) will also increase your spam score.  Here is a great list by SpamAssassin of subject lines or body content that are flagged as spam.

Solution: Use professional language in your email body and when conducting business with clients, forward your pricing and ads as PDF attachments.

Soooo….if you’re a solopreneur trying to cut every cost possible, running your business on cheap hosting and free email services, the cost might be that your messages aren’t received.  You may want to consider investing in some minor upgrades for your business communications tools.

If you’re a small business user and your team has problems getting past spam filters, try some of the above suggestions, or contact your IT provider to help you adjust your mail server settings, SSL certificates, and DNS SPF records.  If you’re looking for a new IT Support Company in Toronto, we would be happy to help you.  Contact us to chat.

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