May 19

Newsletter spam – 17 tips to protect your emails from being marked as spam



Only 79% of emails sent by email marketers reach subscribers’ inboxes.

The email service providers are at war with spammers. Unfortunately, the victims are not just spammers. Collateral damage also includes honest entrepreneurs who want to inform their customers. 

Are you afraid that your emails will end up in the spam folder? Are you worried that your email service provider is not trustworthy? Do you fear that it is too complicated to set everything up properly? 

This article will help you avoid newsletter spam.

Avoid newsletter spam through clean e-mails – Why do newsletters end up in spam?

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) anti-spam rules are now stricter than ever. To prevent your emails from ending up in your customers’ spam filters as newsletter spam, we’ve put together seventeen tips for you.

1. Use your name as the sender 

You should always use your name or that of your company as the sender. This creates trust in the recipient.

A study by Finance Online shows that 45% of all users mark an email as spam based solely on the sender field. 

An address such as makes all alarm bells ring at the receiver. He trusts a sender like more willingly.

2. Keep your complaint rate low

The Complaint Rate shows how many percent of your emails are marked as newsletter spam by the recipient. You can mark your email as spam in your email program or click on the Unsubscribe link and specify “spam” as the reason.

You avoid this by noting these nine points:

  1. Send your emails only to recipients who have registered or opened one of your emails within the last 12 months. Older, inactive contacts are the main source of spam complaints and should be deleted from your email list regularly.
  2. Have only subscribers on your list who have successfully completed a double opt-in procedure. This makes it very difficult to use purchased contact lists, because the purchased contacts would first have to agree that you can send them your newsletter.
  3. Place a highly visible unsubscribe link at the end of each email. This will allow recipients to click this link rather than mark your mail as spam. An active cancellation is better than a spam tag.
  4. Also in the footer is a hint why the recipient gets your email. Many people quickly forget which newsletters they have signed up for. If you remind them of it, you can avoid marking it as newsletter spam.
  5. Send a welcome email to new subscribers after signing in. So you’ll familiarize your new subscribers with your branding right away and show them what kind of messages they expect from you.
  6. Your emails should come from the domain where the customer registered. The branding should match that of the sign-up page. 
  7. When you send automated email sequences, make sure they are personalized. Sending impersonal bulk emails is not recommended.
  8. Send high-quality content that people want to read. Provide added value to your recipients.
  9. Avoid too many links in an e-mail – this includes links in the signatures (e.g. to your social media channels).

3. Respect it when people sign out of your list

If someone signs out of your list, that’s good. It didn’t belong to your target audience and would never have generated revenue. Accept when someone unregisters from your list. Resist the attempt to change his mind.

4th. Write attractive e-mail headings

A good headline is meant to capture the attention of readers. Your email is one of dozens your recipient gets every day, so your headline must be as attractive as possible. 

Attention is the currency of our time. You have to earn it for yourself.

A good headline arouses curiosity. You can do this through strong verbs and target-group-oriented signal words. You shouldn’t overdo it anyway. The next points are about common errors in email headings.

5. Don’t write capital letters in your email (DON’t write to readers)

Writing headlines in capital letters throughout is still common. Unfortunately, it is not clear to everyone that a continuous capital letter on the Internet is considered a cry. You don’t want to shout at your customers, because that way you can avoid newsletter spam.

6. Avoid spam words (Viagra, Casino, etc.)

Although spam filters now work more sophisticatedly than in the early days of the Internet, one principle has remained: Every spam filter pays attention to signal words in the subject line and in the email text. This allows the provider to test newsletters for spam.

If your email has words like Viagra, Casino or similar keywords, you have bad cards. Avoid them if you want your messages not to end up in newsletter spam.

7. Do not send attachments

Spam filters are critical for attachments. But your subscribers are much more critical. Even if the spam filter allows your attachment, hardly any recipient will open it. 

The public is extremely sensitive. Everyone knows that Trojans and phishing emails spread through attachments. Ignore this fact and your newsletter will end up in spam.

8. Avoid too many images (but a few are allowed)

An email with many images takes longer to load. Just as a website with long loading times has a higher bounce rate, this also applies to e-mails.

The biggest problem with images in e-mail is that many email providers don’t even see them. If your email contains many undisplayed images, it appears unstructured to the recipient. The e-mail is suspected to be spam.

9. Make good spelling

Faultless spelling should be a matter of course. If you can’t write error-free emails, the recipient won’t trust you. He will refrain from working with you or buying from you.

Avoid newsletter spam with technical tricks

In addition to clean emails, you can also use the technical side to ensure that your emails are not marked as newsletter spam.

10. Rely on a trusted email service provider

Use an email service provider whose IP address is not known to all providers as a spam slingshot. Such providers are on so-called blacklists, i.e. blacklists. 

Email addresses on blacklists are blocked by many service providers. The emails never reach the recipient’s inbox.

Use e.g. Mautic managed by (uses Amazon SES) or other trusted providers, such as SendGrid.

11. Set an SPF record

Entering an SPF record in the DNS records helps not to end up in spam. The explanation of what an SPF record is goes too far here. You can find all the information and a guide here.

12. Check if you’ve been blacklisted

Search Google for blacklist monitoring to find a free provider for a quick check. Two free ways to check are Multirbl.Valli and MxToolbox.

13. Keep your bounce rate low

The more often you send emails, the more often you will have to deal with inactive email address. If your e-mail program shows a failed delivery, you should respond.

Remove inactive addresses from your list to keep your bounce rate low.

For some tools, such as with the Mautic software we managed, the provider itself takes care that after a certain number of hard bounces the e-mail address is no longer contacted.

Avoid newsletter spam with a well-maintained list

A list is like a garden – if you just let them grow up without regularly caring for them, feral it. You can read all about the care measures for your list in this section.

14th. Use a double opt-in

If you believe that double opt-in is just a recommendation, you are wrong: under German law, sending unsolicited e-mails is a violation of Clause 7 of the Unfair Competition Act.

Emails that reach the customer without their consent are also disproportionately marked as spam.

Double opt-in is not an option, but a must.

15th. Use a clean email list (don’t buy lists)

The double opt-in procedure automatically shows that you cannot simply buy foreign lists and deliver them with emails. 

In theory, it is not forbidden, but subscribers should have agreed to pass on their data to third parties and, of course, their registration should also have been GDPR compliant. It is almost impossible to actually check this. 

Your money is not worth your purchased lists anyway, because the proportion of recipients who would then report your emails as spam is usually extremely high.

In addition, people who are actively responded to the confirmation email from the

Double-opt-in campaign click, later basically interested and active on your content.

16. Reduce inactive subscribers

Inactive subscribers have nothing to look for on your list. Most newsletter services can be paid according to the number of contacts saved. Not so with the Mautic manged by version (you can have any number of contacts here and only the number of emails sent will be charged). 

Like this or like that:

The more inactive subscribers you have, the more money you waste.

In addition, the customer’s e-mail provider remembers which e-mails the customer never opens. This can lead to the domain in question becoming spam suspect after a certain period of time. The delivery of other e-mails of this domain will then be prevented.

17th. Include an unsubscribe link in your email

Make it as easy as possible for your subscribers to unsubscribe from your emails. First, it’s required by law, and secondly, you’ll be able to avoid high bounce rates, spam complaints, and unopened emails early.

To make your emails arrive safely

Sending the newsletter without spam is many easy ways. But you can do more to avoid your customers’ spam filter. A trustworthy and correctly set tool from the start helps you avoid newsletter spam. If there is also helpful support for this tool, optimization becomes a breeze. This is offered to you, for example, the Mautic software managed by 

Want to avoid newsletter spam? Are you looking for a competent partner for this task? Subscribe to our newsletter now to learn how to run an email campaign with Mautic that certainly won’t end up in the spam folder.

Über den Author

Alex Hammerschmied

Marketing automation specialist and founder of He helps entrepreneurs to sell more fully automated. He also loves tea, time with his family and extraordinary business concepts. When he is not on the golf course or spending time with his family, he helps entrepreneurs to generate highly qualified leads with the Dive-To-Market® method and optimized e-mail marketing sequences.

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