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How to Prevent Emails from Going to SPAM

When Sending Reminders and Other Notifications

Keeping your emails out of SPAM
Keeping your emails out of SPAM

Email reminders and notifications often get caught by spam filters due to several factors related to their content, sending behavior, and the recipients’ actions. In this post we will discuss why this happens and what steps you can take to ensure they reach the inbox

Why Email Reminders and Notifications Get Caught by Spam Filters
This is a SPAM email
Why It’s Important to Ensure They Don’t Get Caught
  • Deliverability: The primary goal of sending an email reminder or notification is to ensure it reaches the recipient. If these emails are caught by spam filters, they fail to serve their purpose.

  • User Engagement: Regular reminders and notifications can keep users engaged with your service or product. If these emails are missed, it can lead to decreased user engagement.

  • Trust and Brand Reputation: Emails consistently landing in the spam folder can harm your brand’s reputation. It may lead recipients to view your brand as untrustworthy or associate it with spam.

  • Actionable Insights: Emails that reach the inbox provide valuable data based on user interactions (open rates, click-through rates, etc.). If emails are flagged as spam, you lose these insights.

  • Compliance and Legal Reasons: Certain types of notifications are legally required to be sent to users (e.g., policy updates, billing notifications). Failure to deliver these can lead to legal issues.

Measures to Ensure Deliverability

This Email is SPAM Free

“To send an email is easy, but to convey value without falling into the spam trap requires the art of meaningful communication, where every word counts and every message matters.”

Jonah Langer (AppointmentReminders.com)

Keeping your email reminders and notifications out of the spam folder is essential for maintaining effective communication with your audience. 

Here are some of the best practices to ensure your emails land in the inbox. We will go over these in more detail further in this blog.

  1. Use a Reputable Email Service Provider (ESP): Partner with a reliable ESP known for high deliverability rates and good practices.

  2. Authenticate Your Emails: Implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records to verify your emails’ authenticity, which helps in preventing them from being marked as spam.

  3. Maintain a Good Sender Reputation: Regularly monitor your IP address and domain reputation. A good reputation with email service providers (ESPs) is crucial for avoiding the spam folder.

  4. Keep Your Email List Clean: Regularly clean your email list by removing bounced email addresses and inactive subscribers. Use double opt-in methods to ensure that your recipients genuinely want to receive your emails.

  5. Personalize Your Emails: Use the recipient’s name and relevant personalized content to make the email more engaging and less likely to be marked as spam.

  6. Avoid Spam Trigger Words: Steer clear of words and phrases commonly associated with spam, such as “free,” “guarantee,” “risk-free,” etc.

  7. Optimize Your Sending Frequency: Sending too many emails can annoy recipients and lead to higher spam complaints, while sending too few can make recipients forget they subscribed, leading to the same outcome. Find a balanced frequency.

  8. Provide a Clear Unsubscribe Option: Make it easy for users to unsubscribe from your emails. A visible and functional unsubscribe link helps prevent users from marking your emails as spam.

  9. Engage Your Audience: Send content that is engaging, valuable, and relevant to your audience. High engagement rates can improve your sender reputation and decrease the likelihood of being marked as spam.

  10. Monitor Feedback Loops: Sign up for feedback loops with major ISPs. This allows you to see who is marking your emails as spam and to remove those users from your list proactively.

  11. Segment Your Email List: Tailor your messages to different segments of your audience to increase relevance and engagement, reducing the risk of emails being marked as spam.

  12. Use a Consistent Sender Name and Email Address: This helps recipients recognize your emails, reducing the chances of them being marked as spam.

  13. Test Your Emails Before Sending: Use email testing tools to check how your email performs across different email clients and to ensure it doesn’t trigger spam filters.

  14. Educate Your Subscribers: Encourage your subscribers to add your email address to their address book or whitelist, which directly improves deliverability.

  15. Monitor Your Email Performance: Keep an eye on metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and spam complaint rates to identify and rectify issues promptly.

3 Steps to Take NOW to Avoid the SPAM Filters

1. Use a Reputable Email Service Provider (ESP)

Using a reputable email service provider is crucial for several reasons:

  • Security: Reputable providers offer robust security features to protect your email communications from spam, phishing attempts, and malware. They use encryption to safeguard your emails in transit and at rest.

  • Reliability: They ensure your email system is always up and running with minimal downtime, so you can access your email whenever you need it.

  • Privacy: Trusted providers respect your privacy and are transparent about their data collection and use policies. They are less likely to scan your emails for advertising purposes compared to less reputable services.

  • Support: They offer customer support to help you with any issues or questions you might have.

  • Features: Reputable services provide a range of features like ample storage, easy organization of emails, and integration with other tools and services.

For transactional and marketing email services similar to SendGrid, here are some reputable providers, each with its own set of features tailored to different business needs:

  1. Mailgun: Focused on developers, Mailgun offers powerful APIs for sending, receiving, and tracking emails effortlessly. It’s designed for businesses that need to integrate email services into their applications or websites. Mailgun

  2. SendGrid: The focus of SendGrid is on reliability, scalability, and delivering emails effectively to the recipient’s inbox, bypassing spam filters. It’s a powerful tool for businesses that need to manage a large volume of emails and track their performance. SendGrid

  3. Amazon SES (Simple Email Service): A part of Amazon Web Services, SES is a cost-effective, flexible, and scalable email service designed for developers and businesses to send marketing, notification, and transactional emails. Amazon SES

  4. Mandrill by Mailchimp: Aimed at transactional emails, Mandrill is a paid Mailchimp add-on that provides a robust platform for sending data-driven emails, including personalized, e-commerce, and automated transactional emails. Mandrill

  5. Postmark: Known for its high deliverability rates and focus on transactional emails, Postmark offers straightforward pricing and features designed to ensure your emails reach the inbox. It’s great for businesses that prioritize reliability and speed. Postmark

  6. Sendinblue: This service combines email marketing, SMS messages, and automation into one platform, making it a versatile choice for businesses looking to engage their customers across multiple channels. Sendinblue emphasizes user-friendly design and scalability. Sendinblue

Each of these services offers unique features, such as detailed analytics, easy integrations with other tools, and high deliverability rates. The best choice depends on your specific needs, such as the volume of emails you plan to send, the level of integration you need with your existing systems, and your budget.

Authenticate Your Emails
Reputable Email Service Providers
Reputable Email Service Providers

2. Authenticate Your Emails

Implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records is crucial for authenticating your emails to improve deliverability and protect against spoofing and phishing. Here’s a brief overview of what each of these technologies does and how to implement them:

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

SPF allows the owner of a domain to specify which mail servers are authorized to send email on behalf of that domain. To implement SPF:

  1. Create an SPF record: This is a TXT record in your domain’s DNS settings. It lists the mail servers authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain.

  2. Publish the SPF record: Add the TXT record to your domain’s DNS settings. An example SPF record might look like v=spf1 include:_spf.example.com ~all, which authorizes emails from servers specified by _spf.example.com and marks emails from other servers as soft fails.

DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail)

DKIM adds a digital signature to the headers of an email message. This allows the receiver to verify that the email hasn’t been tampered with and confirms the identity of the sender.

  1. Generate a DKIM key pair: This usually consists of a public and a private key. The private key is used to sign outgoing messages, and the public key is published in your DNS.

  2. Publish the DKIM public key: Add a TXT record to your DNS for the DKIM selector. The value of this record will be your public key.

  3. Configure your email system to sign emails: This typically involves configuring your email server or service provider to use your private DKIM key to sign outgoing emails.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance)

DMARC builds on SPF and DKIM. It allows you to specify how email receiving servers should handle emails that don’t pass SPF or DKIM checks.

  1. Create a DMARC policy: This is a TXT record in your domain’s DNS that specifies your policy. It tells receiving mail servers what to do with emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks (e.g., reject them, quarantine them, or do nothing).

  2. Publish the DMARC policy: Add the DMARC TXT record to your domain’s DNS settings. An example might be v=DMARC1; p=reject; rua=mailto:postmaster@example.com, which tells receiving servers to reject emails that fail SPF or DKIM checks and report them to postmaster@example.com.

Most Email service providers  greatly simplify the process of setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. They often provide:
  • Automatic DKIM Signing: SendGrid, for example, can automatically sign your emails with DKIM to verify their authenticity.

  • SPF Setup Assistance: They guide you through adding their sending servers to your SPF record, ensuring emails sent through their platform are authorized.

  • DMARC Support: While DMARC setup is primarily on your end, services like SendGrid provide documentation and support to help you create and publish a DMARC policy that includes emails sent through their service.

3. Focus On Content

Creating email content that avoids being flagged as spam involves both the structure of your email and the practices you follow. Here are several guidelines to help your emails reach the inbox:

1. Use a Recognizable Sender Name

  • Ensure your “From” name is recognizable to your recipients, whether it’s your brand name, your own name, or a combination.

2. Craft a Clear and Honest Subject Line

  • Avoid using all caps, excessive exclamation marks, and spammy words like “Free,” “Buy now,” “Guarantee,” or overly promotional phrases. Keep it straightforward and relevant to the content.

3. Personalize the Email Content

  • Use the recipient’s name and tailor the content to their interests or previous interactions with your brand to increase engagement and reduce the likelihood of being marked as spam.

4. Avoid Spammy Content

  • Be cautious with the words and phrases you use. Text that sounds too good to be true, makes unrealistic promises, or uses pressure tactics can trigger spam filters.

5. Use Clean, Professional Formatting

  • Overly busy designs, too many different fonts, sizes, and colors can look unprofessional and trigger spam filters. Aim for a balance between text and images. Too many images with little text can also be a red flag for spam filters.

6. Include a Plain Text Version

  • If you’re sending HTML emails, also include a plain text version. Some email clients prefer or require it, and it’s a good practice for avoiding spam filters.

7. Avoid Attachments

  • If possible, use links instead of attaching files. Attachments can trigger spam filters and alarm recipients due to the risk of viruses.

8. Include an Unsubscribe Link

  • This is not just good practice; it’s a legal requirement in many jurisdictions. Make sure it’s easy for recipients to find and use.

Example High Quality Email

Subject: Reminder: Your Upcoming Physical Therapy Appointment with [Clinic Name]

Email Body:

Hi [Recipient’s Name],

We hope this message finds you well! This is a gentle reminder about your upcoming physical therapy appointment at [Clinic Name].

Appointment Details:

  • Date: [Appointment Date]
  • Time: [Appointment Time]
  • Therapist: [Therapist’s Name]
  • Location: [Clinic Address] ([Google Maps Link] for directions)

To ensure you get the most out of your session, please remember to:

  • Wear comfortable clothing that allows easy movement.
  • Bring any relevant medical reports or imaging, if not already provided.
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes early to complete any necessary paperwork.

Rescheduling or Cancellations: If you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment, please let us know at least 24 hours in advance to avoid a cancellation fee. You can reach us at [Clinic’s Phone Number] or [Clinic’s Email Address].

Your Health and Safety: Your health is our top priority. We’re taking all necessary precautions to ensure a safe environment for your visit. [You can read about our health and safety measures here (link to measures).]

Feedback and Questions: Your feedback is important to us. If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming appointment or physical therapy journey, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you for choosing [Clinic Name] for your physical therapy needs. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon and assisting you on your path to recovery.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]
[Your Job Title]
[Clinic Name]
[Contact Information]
[Unsubscribe Link]

This email incorporates a personalized approach, provides all necessary details in a clear and concise manner, includes an unsubscribe link, and avoids any language or formatting that might trigger spam filters.

Continue Monitoring & Adjusting Your Email Settings

Once you’ve signed up with an email service provider and have taken steps to validate your emails with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, maintaining a strong email reputation and ensuring high deliverability becomes an ongoing process. 

Here’s what you should continue to monitor and adjust, along with strategies for how to do it:

Continue to Monitor Emails

By actively monitoring these aspects and being willing to adjust based on data and feedback, you can maintain a healthy email marketing program that continues to engage your audience effectively and drive results.

1. Monitor Deliverability Rates

Keep an eye on how many of your emails are successfully reaching inboxes vs. being marked as spam or bouncing. Low deliverability rates can indicate issues with your content, sender reputation, or recipient engagement.

2. Track Engagement Metrics

Pay attention to open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. These metrics can tell you how well your content resonates with your audience. Low engagement may prompt you to adjust your content strategy or segmentation.

3. Maintain Your Email List

Regularly clean your email list by removing inactive subscribers and invalid email addresses. Consider re-engagement campaigns for subscribers who haven’t interacted with your emails in a while but be ready to prune relentlessly to maintain a healthy list.

4. Adjust Based on Feedback Loops

Many ISPs and email service providers offer feedback loops that notify you when recipients mark your emails as spam. Use this feedback to adjust your strategies and avoid sending unwanted content.

5. A/B Testing

Continuously test different aspects of your emails, including subject lines, email content, sending times, and calls to action. This will help you understand what works best for your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.

6. Follow Email Marketing Trends and Best Practices

Email marketing is constantly evolving. Stay informed about the latest trends, technologies, and regulations affecting email marketing to ensure your strategy remains effective and compliant.

7. Respond to Changes in Email Legislation

Be aware of and comply with email marketing laws and regulations, such as the CAN-SPAM Act in the U.S., GDPR in Europe, and CASL in Canada. These laws can impact how you collect, store, and use email addresses.

8. Sender Reputation Monitoring

Use tools to monitor your domain’s sender reputation. A declining sender score can lead to your emails being blocked or filtered into spam folders. If you notice a drop, investigate potential causes like increased complaint rates or spam trap hits.

9. Email Authentication Records

Regularly check your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records to ensure they are correctly set up and haven’t been tampered with. Incorrect records can affect email deliverability.

10. Security Measures

Stay vigilant against potential security threats by implementing and updating security measures to protect your email accounts and subscribers’ data.

Tools and Practices for Monitoring and Adjustment:

  • Use analytics provided by your email service provider to monitor performance and identify trends.

  • Implement third-party tools for deeper insights into deliverability and reputation.

  • Conduct regular audits of your email marketing practices and strategies.

Sending Email Reminders With AppointmentReminders.com

AppointmentReminders.com Appointment Reminders

AppointmentReminders.com specializes in sending email appointment reminders! 

When you send email reminders with us, you don’t need to worry about any of those steps because we manage that for you!  In addition, you can also expect:

  • Automated Scheduling: Automatically send reminders based on predefined schedules.
  • Personalization: Customize emails with recipient’s name, appointment details, and more.
  • Customizable Templates: Ready-to-use and editable email templates for various reminder needs.
  • Google Calendar Integration: Link your Google Calendar and automatically send reminders.
  • Integration with Calendars: Allow recipients to add appointments to their personal calendars directly from the email.
  • Multiple Reminders: Capability to send more than one reminder, such as a week before and then a day before the event.
  • Link Support: Ability to include links with reminders for additional information.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Insights on delivery rates and overall engagement with the reminders.
  • Blast Emails: Manage and segment email lists to target specific groups or distribution lists.
  • Global Reach: No restrictions on international emails, allowing for global communication without additional costs.
  • Responsive Design: Emails optimized for viewing on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Security and Compliance: Ensure privacy and compliance with data protection regulations.
  • Reply Management: Collect and manage responses directly through the service.
  • Unsubscribe Options: Allow recipients to easily opt-out of receiving future reminders to comply with email marketing laws.
  • Branding Options: Customize emails with your organization’s logo, colors, and branding.
  • Scalability: Ability to handle large volumes of emails without degradation in performance.
  • Failover Mechanisms: Options to send reminders through alternative channels (e.g., SMS) if the email fails.
  • Easy to Use Interface: A user-friendly dashboard for creating, scheduling, and managing email reminders.