“Your Email Went To My Spam Folder!”

by | Feb 23, 2021


The irony! I specialise in email deliverability, but I still receive messages like that from the people I send emails to. 



The good news is that I’m not alone. Even emails sent by YouTube (owned by Google) can end up in the Google (Gmail) spam folder!



So, when your own audience members send you similar messages saying your own emails are landing in their spam folder, don’t panic!



What should I do if someone tells me my email has ended up in their spam folder?



First of all, take a deep breath and know that it’s not the end of the world.



These things happen to the best of us from time to time, and there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of it happening again.



Why does this happen?



Mailbox providers and spammers have been fighting a war since the internet began.



As spammers get smarter, the email providers have to work harder and harder to beat them. Right now, Talos Intelligence report that almost 85% of all emails being sent are spam (this was correct in January 2021, here is their latest report)



The good news is that spam detection and filtering technology is so good these days that we don’t get too many scams and Viagra ads landing in our inboxes. 



The not so good news is that nothing’s ever perfect – a handful of legitimate emails are bound to get caught in the crossfire and end up in the spam folder.



Understandably, email providers aren’t too forthcoming about their spam filtering secrets as they don’t want to help the spammers out!



So, what should I do if I find that one of my emails landed in the spam folder?



The most important thing of all is to remember that spam detection algorithms are personalised to each individual recipient. 

This means that even though your email went to one person’s spam folder, they won’t have gone to everyone’s spam folder. 



My typical open rates are between 30% and 50%, which shows that lots of people must see my emails landing in their inbox… yet other people on the same email platform who receive the same email find it in their spam folder).



Firstly, if someone replied to your email to let you know it went to their spam folder, be sure to thank them for replying. Replying is really helpful for your future deliverability as it’s one of the most positive signs of engagement. 

And remember, it’s engagement that’s one of the most important factors that determines your sending reputation and whether or not you end up in the spam folder.



When I reply to someone in these circumstances, this is what I say:



  • Firstly, I thank them for replying and letting me know, and reassure them that most emails don’t go to spam as we have a very good sending reputation.
  • I also explain that by replying to my email, they’ve increased the chances that my next email will go to their inbox.
  • Then, I ask them to make sure they’ve clicked the “This is not spam” button on the email that went to spam.
  • I mention that we’ve got a very good sending reputation and more than 30% of people open every email we send, the algorithms that decide whether an email goes to spam are tailored to each individual recipient.
  • Finally, I offer to share specific instructions that will show them how to “whitelist” me, personalised to their email provider.
  • With that in mind, I ask them to reply and let me know what their email provider is, so that I can send the correct information.



If you use Keap (formerly known as Infusionsoft), there’s also something else to bear in mind. If the person in question hasn’t opened anything in a while (2-3 months or longer), Keap will have sent the email from an IP address with a “not so good” reputation. 

So, when the contact rescued the email from spam and opened it, that will have been detected by Keap. Meaning the next email will be sent from an Keap IP address with a “better” reputation. And that might be enough for the email to hit the inbox.



How can I learn more?



The email deliverability landscape is changing all the time.

That’s why I’ve created the RACE Method, which takes you through the four key areas that will help you reach more of your audience. 

RACE stands for “Reputation, Authentication, Content and Engagement” 



If you’d like to learn more about email deliverability and keep up to date with the latest changes in the email world, why not download my free RACE Method Checklist

You can also sign up to receive my emails where I share some great hints and tips to help you avoid the spam folder, double your open rates and be heard more by your audience.