You’re drafting regular emails, sending them out on a schedule, and trying to keep in touch with clients and prospects… But how do you know your emails are reaching their intended targets? Even more importantly, how do you know your recipients actually read and value the messages you’re sending?

We often hear from business owners who have been conducting their own email marketing campaigns. In some cases they just want a bit more guidance to create compelling messages, or to determine whether their emails are making an impact. But in the worst case scenario, these business owners suspect their messages have been marked as “spam”, and subsequently ignored.

Unfortunately, yes, there are several common missteps that can lead to your emails being flagged as spam. When this happens, email providers move your messages to a separate folder, and your intended targets never see your emails unless they happen to check that folder. In most cases, these mistakes fall into the following categories.

  • You didn’t ask for permission
  • Your identity isn’t clear
  • You’re sending irrelevant content
  • Broken promises
  • Your audience is overwhelmed
  • Opting out was too difficult


To correct these problems, we take the following steps.

Ask for permission. We all open emails from people we know. And in many cases, we ignore or block messages from people we don’t know. Does your audience know who you are? Did you ask permission to email them, or introduce yourself clearly?

Make sure your identity is clear. Double check to be sure your name (or business name) is showing up clearly as the sender. If your audience knows you as one name but not the other, this could be the problem.  Likewise, if your physical mailing address is not within your email content, there is a larger chance that it will be sent to spam.

Send relevant content. Research your target demographic, understand what questions they have or information they seek, and strive to generate emails that will interest them. Many “spam” boxes have been clicked over irrelevant or uninteresting emails.

Keep your promises. Did you promise your email audience something of value, in exchange for their email address? Make sure you’re providing what they expected, or most people will feel short-changed.

Don’t overwhelm your audience. Decide upon an appropriate schedule, and keep it. Hint: Twice per day is probably way too much!

Watch out for too much “selling” language, too. Your emails should focus on providing something of value for your audience. A bit of self promotion is acceptable, but if your contacts feel bombarded with sales material they will quickly lose interest.

Give them a clear way to opt out. Make sure your “opt out” system is clear and simple to use, so that no one feels forced to click the spam button instead. It’s just good “digital etiquette”.

These tips are pretty straightforward, but we’ll be happy to clarify any of them for you. If you have additional questions about email marketing, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot your campaign and fix any potential problems.