Why are your Google Workspace / G Suite emails going to spam?
Your emails act as the bridge between you and your customers. They can heighten engagement, build loyalty, and amplify your profits. However, when your thoughtfully composed email messages don't make it to your audience and get stuck in the spam folder, what happens then? The key to enhancing your email deliverability is understanding why emails get flagged as spam.
Common triggers that result in emails being marked as spam are the sender's reputation, email content, and user engagement. If you carry a bad sender reputation, your email content sets off spam filters, or your subscribers aren't interacting with your emails, there's a high likelihood of your emails landing in the spam folder.
Email verification protocols also have a significant part in this issue. Protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC assist email service providers in confirming if an incoming email is from a trusted source. If these protocols aren't correctly established, your emails might end up in the spam folder. We will examine each of these in the sections that follow.
The Function of Spam Filters
Spam filters act as guardians, ensuring that only trustworthy emails get through to the recipient's inbox. They use multiple parameters to sort emails, including sender reputation, content quality, user interaction, and email verification.
Spam filters have greatly advanced, incorporating AI and machine learning into their spam identification systems. This has made them more capable of identifying spam emails and spammers, even though it has also increased the occurrence of false positives.
This means that even legitimate Google Workspace / G Suite emails can sometimes be misidentified and end up in the spam box.
The Credibility of Your Email Sending Domain
The credibility of your email-sending domain plays a vital role in deciding whether your emails make it to the inbox or end up in the spam folder. It's a trust factor that's built over time based on the quality of emails dispatched from that domain.
As of 2023, the most widely accepted factors determining email sender reputations are:
User Actions in Google Workspace / G Suite
The actions and engagement of your subscribers, such as opening emails, clicking links, or marking emails as spam, are important indicators for spam filters. High spam complaints or low engagement levels can mark your emails as spam.
Attention to user preferences and delivering personalized Google Workspace / G Suite email campaigns is essential in email marketing. Providing options for email frequency, the type of content they want to receive, and a simple way to unsubscribe can lower spam complaints and boost engagement rates, improving email deliverability.
User Spam Reports
Let's not beat around the bush: spam reports are harmful. They significantly affect your sender's reputation, and too many complaints can block your emails. To lessen spam complaints:
- Get permission before emailing, and make sure your content is relevant and beneficial.
- Make it easy for users to unsubscribe; losing a subscriber is better than getting a spam complaint.
- If you're running cold email campaigns, ensure they are properly targeted.
These are email accounts set up by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). They look just like any regular email account, but sending emails to such accounts can get you listed on a publicly accessible blacklist.
Google Workspace / G Suite Emails Bounce Rates
Bounce rates indicate the number of emails that don't successfully reach the recipient. Bounce rates can be soft or hard. The former refers to temporary issues with email delivery, while the latter typically results from emailing a non-existent address.
Google Workspace / G Suite Sending History
The distribution history includes elements like the amount and consistency of sent emails.
The regularity and steadiness of your email sending impact the spam categorization. Sending massive amounts of emails intermittently will raise a red flag. A consistent email-sending schedule is less likely to activate spam filters. Spam detection systems carefully observe this aspect.
How to prevent your Google Workspace / G Suite emails from ending up in spam or promotions?
Having understood why your emails might end up in spam, let's see how to avoid this from happening.
Use an email warm-up tool for your Google Workspace / G Suite account
The Inbox Warmer tool can significantly increase your Google Workspace / G Suite email deliverability and stop emails from being sent to spam or promotions by improving your email reputation. Much like a high credit score, a strong email reputation ensures your emails reach people's inboxes. More people will read your emails, leading to higher email deliverability and open rates.
Email Authentication: A Key Requirement
In the world of emails, proving you are who you say you are is a big deal. That's where email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, DMARC come in. They play a crucial role in email deliverability by validating the sender and ensuring the integrity of the email content. If you send a letter by post, authentication protocols are like the sender’s address you write in the back of the envelope.
Always check if the record is already set up in your DNS record. You can find the DNS manager within the web interface of your domain hosting provider. See example below for Google domains:
SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
Think of the SPF as the bouncer at the email club. It checks whether the email is coming from a server that is authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain. Implementing SPF for your domain involves adding a special SPF record to your domain's DNS settings. Proper SPF setup is instrumental in email sender validation, helping prevent email spoofing.
If you are using Google Workspace / G Suite, your SPF records will already be set up.
DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)
DKIM provides an additional layer of security by attaching a digital signature to your emails. This helps verify the content's integrity and the sender's identity. Implementing DKIM involves adding a DKIM record to your domain's DNS settings. It ensures that the email content hasn't been tampered with during transit, bolstering your reputation and trust with email service providers.The online resource explaining how to set DKIM up is available here.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance)
DMARC is like the big boss of email authentication. It brings together the power of SPF and DKIM and provides a policy for how to handle emails that fail these checks. Setting up DMARC involves adding a DMARC record to your domain's DNS settings. This provides a higher level of security and trust, enhancing your email deliverability.The online resource explaining how to set DMARC up is available here.
If you do not want to set up a DMARC policy and only need the deliverability benefits, you can use a generic record using a DMARC generator tool.
Use a custom tracking domain
A custom tracking domain is a unique domain name that you set up for use specifically with email tracking within your email marketing platform. This means that when an email recipient clicks a link in one of your emails, the URL of the clicked link will appear to come from your domain, rather than from a generic domain provided by your email service provider. For example, instead of seeing a link that reads something like "track.emailserviceprovider.com", the recipient will see "track.yourdomain.com".
This is important for a few reasons:
1. Brand Consistency: Using a custom tracking domain can enhance your brand image and trust among recipients. Seeing your own domain in the email content may make recipients more comfortable clicking on links.
2. Better Deliverability: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and email clients often judge the credibility of an email based on the consistency of the domain in the email content. If the domain in the email content matches the sender domain, it can help improve the deliverability of the email.
On the other hand, a shared tracking domain is a domain provided by your email service provider that you share with other users of the service. This can be problematic from a deliverability standpoint because the reputation of the shared tracking domain is dependent on the behavior of all the users sharing it. If one user sends spammy or malicious emails that damage the reputation of the shared tracking domain, it can negatively impact deliverability for all the other users.
In other words, with a shared tracking domain, you have less control over your sender reputation, which is one of the key factors that ISPs use to determine whether to place an email in the recipient's inbox or in their spam folder.
By using a custom tracking domain, you control your own sending reputation, and you aren't at risk of being penalized for the poor practices of other senders. This can lead to improved email deliverability and higher open and click-through rates.
Custom tracking domain can be set with your email outreach software.
Establish Relationships Before Sending Emails
The importance of building connections before sending emails can't be emphasized enough. Creating a relationship before starting email communication can hugely increase your chances of ending up in the inbox. Platforms like social media can be crucial for this initial contact as they help in creating trust and recognition, making your emails more welcomed in recipients' inboxes.
Craft Relevant Subject Lines and Optimize Preview Text in Google Workspace / G Suite
Your email's subject line is the first thing people see. If it's too long, misleading, or full of spammy words, it might lead to low open rates and might even trigger spam filters. The trick is to write attractive subject lines that are short, relevant, and clear. In email subject lines, being clear is often better than being creative.
This is also known as preview text. The short summary appears in your inbox right after your subject line and can be seen on both desktop and most mobile platforms. The importance of this might surprise you. Read on to understand more about your preview text and how it can improve your overall email strategy.
Recent research shows that optimizing your preview text can increase email open rates by up to 45%. By adding a few more words, you provide an extra chance to persuade your recipient to open the email. Whether it's advertising a discount or sharing a useful resource, your preview text can give more context and spark interest leading to an email open.
Avoid Spam Triggering Keywords in Google Workspace / G Suite
Have you ever noticed that some phrases land in your spam folder more often? There's a good reason for that. Spam filters are built to catch unwanted emails, and they do this by searching for common spam-triggering keywords. By using everyday language and personalizing your email content, you can avoid these traps and increase your chances of reaching the inbox.
You can use a SPAM content checker to check your email content.
Optimize Content for Better Response Rates
The content of your email plays a key role in getting responses. To optimize your content:
- Focus on creating user-focused email content.
- Make it about the recipient, not just about you or your product.
- Conduct A/B testing to continually improve and adapt your content to your audience's likes and behaviors.
Pick the Right Email Client
The email client you use can affect your email deliverability and how your emails appear to recipients. When choosing an email client, consider factors like dependability, customer support, user-friendliness, and features. Moreover, ensure your emails are compatible with the most popular email clients like Google Workspace / G Suite, Outlook, and Apple Mail.
Follow the Laws
Email marketing is regulated by laws such as the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR. Not following these rules can lead to heavy fines and damage your brand's reputation.
So, it's crucial to understand these legal aspects well and strictly follow them for your email marketing's long-term success.
Remove Unnecessary HTML and URLs in a Google Workspace / G Suite email
Too many HTML and URLs in your emails can trigger spam filters. Keeping your email design simple, short, and friendly to spam filters effectively improves deliverability. Use URLs only when needed, and avoid using too much HTML for your email's look and style.
Simple Ways to Prevent Emails from Going to Spam
There are many strategies to stop your emails from going to the spam folder, but the simplest and most effective ones involve user actions. Understanding email bounce management and urging your users to take specific actions can greatly improve your email deliverability. Here are three simple but effective user actions:
Unmark an Email as Spam
If a recipient accidentally marks your email as spam, teaching them how to unmark it can be helpful. This improves your sender's reputation and ensures your future emails end up in the recipient's inbox.
Add an Email Sender to Your Contacts
Adding to the recipient's contact list dramatically improves your chances of avoiding spam filters. It's a good idea to show your users how to add you as a contact in their email clients.
Create a Filter to Stop Emails From Going to Spam
Teaching your users to create filters can help ensure your emails are correctly sorted and not marked as spam. The more users with filters set up for your emails, the better your email deliverability rates will be.
Ask Recipients to Whitelist Your Emails
Show your users how to whitelist your emails and move your emails from promotions to the inbox. This simple action improves email deliverability by telling spam filters that your recipients want your emails.
You can include instructions on how to whitelist in your welcome email.
Monitor Bounced Emails
Ever wondered why some of your emails bounce back? If you're struggling with this, you're not alone. Understanding why emails bounce and how to avoid it can significantly increase your email deliverability.
Monitoring bounced emails is a key part of effective email marketing.
When an email can't reach the recipient, it's said to 'bounce.' There are two kinds of bounces – hard and soft. Hard bounces happen when the email address is invalid or doesn't exist. Soft bounces are temporary problems, like a full mailbox.
Attention to these bounces can help you maintain a clean email list and a good sender reputation. You should remove the hard bounces immediately, while soft bounces need attention if the problem continues.
By watching and dealing with these bounces, you can reduce the bounce rate and increase your email service's effectiveness. After all, a clean email list is critical to reaching your audience's inbox, not the spam folder.
More Information on Why Emails Go to Spam and How to Prevent It
Email marketing is complex, but that doesn't mean you can't master it. Let's look deeper into how spam filters work and how to make sure your emails end up in the right place.
Provide Accurate Sender Information
The 'From' field in your email is one of the first things recipients see. If the sender's information is misleading or inconsistent, it can trigger spam filters, and recipients might mark the email as spam.
Ensure your sender name and email address accurately represent your business or organization. Inconsistent sender information can raise red flags and hurt your sender's reputation.
Use Words and Punctuation Properly
Your subject lines and email content matter, too. Using too many capital letters, multiple exclamation points, or words often linked with spam can send your emails to the spam folder.
Keeping a professional tone, using correct grammar and punctuation, and avoiding spammy language can make your emails more appealing to spam filters and your audience.
Maintain a Good Email List
Email deliverability isn't just about avoiding spam filters. It's also about reaching an interested and active audience.
Frequent unsubscribe requests, low open rates, and high bounce rates are signs that your email list may need some work. Regular cleaning, removing inactive subscribers, and running re-engagement campaigns help keep a healthy email list.
Remember, quality is more important than quantity. A smaller, active list is more valuable than a large, uninterested one. After all, the ultimate goal is to create a successful email campaign that connects and resonates with your audience.
Avoid Untrustworthy Links and Suspicious Websites
Avoid the trap of spam filters by making sure your emails don't have any suspicious links. These filters are quick to find any connection to low-reputation or irrelevant websites. If your email links to such sites, it's likely to end up in the spam folder.
Your reputation is at stake with every email you send. Every link in your emails needs to be carefully checked and made sure it's trustworthy and relevant. A careless link can have damaging effects on your email deliverability.
Find the Right Text-to-Image Ratio
Creating an effective email is like creating a beautiful painting; it's all about balance. A high ratio of images to text might make your email look nice, but it can also trigger spam filters. This is because spammers often hide their messages within images to dodge spam filters.
Finding a good balance between text and images is important. While images can boost engagement, your message should mostly be in text form to keep those spam filters at bay.
Be Careful with Attachments
While attaching files may seem like a handy way to share information, they can have a negative effect on your email deliverability. Spam filters often view emails with attachments suspiciously, especially if they're unusual file types or overly large.
So, how should you share files? Links to trusted file-sharing sites or embedded files in the email can work. Remember that the key here is to balance the user's convenience and the spam filter's watchful eyes.
Choose a Dedicated Sending Service for Your Website
Consider using a dedicated email-sending service. Shared IP addresses the risk of being blacklisted due to the actions of others. A dedicated IP address ensures that your sender's reputation stays in your control.
There are many email-sending services to choose from. The best one for you will depend on your needs and the nature of your emails.
Conclusion: Increase Your Conversion Rates with Good Google Workspace / G Suite Email Practices
Good email practices aren't just about avoiding the spam folder.
They are key to the success of your email marketing campaign.
Stay open to learning and adapting, put the strategies you've learned here into action, and watch your conversion rates go up.