Silvestras6 min read Tips & Resources April 10, 2018

How to avoid spam filters and reach the inbox

How to avoid spam filters and reach the inbox

Have your open rates suddenly plunged to single digits without warning or explanation? Don’t panic! Your subscribers still love you. They simply didn’t get a chance to open your newsletter. Why?

In 99% of these cases, your plummeting open rate is a result of your newsletter accidentally ending up in that nasty place we call the junk folder.

We know your newsletter is not junk. But unfortunately, it was flagged by a spam filter. This is a frustrating experience because there is not always an obvious reason why the filter put your newsletter into the wrong folder.

Your subscribers want to open your newsletter, but they need to receive it first. In this blog post, we will share some of the best ways to avoid spam filters when sending your emails.


First off, what is a spam filter and how does it work?

Believe it or not, spam filters are your friend. Unsolicited emails, commonly known as spam, are a huge problem. There are over 200 billion emails sent on a daily basis and 59% of those are spam!

You don’t want all those bad emails competing with your valuable newsletter in your subscriber’s inbox. That said, spam filters are not perfect and often flag good emails.

A spam filter is basically a program that uses various criteria to determine if an email is spam. Some of these protocols focus on different aspects of the email such as:

Email Header

Filters email headers that use false information

Content Filters

Looks for common words associated with spam

Blacklisted Addresses

Blocks all emails from known spammers

User Permissions

Email owners define specific rules to block emails they don’t like

These are just a few of the ways that spam filters analyze your emails. The important thing for you is to do everything in your power to avoid these spam filters and end up where you belong – your subscriber’s inbox.

Here are 4 things you can start doing today that will help you stay away from that nasty junk folder.


How to avoid spam filters when sending emails

1. Send newsletters from your own domain

How to avoid spam filters and reach the inbox

It’s perfectly fine to send emails to your friend or colleague from domains like @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, etc. However, when it comes to bulk email delivery, it is not a good idea.

You should always send newsletters from your own domain.

Why? Because MailerLite works closely with mailbox providers, such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail, to whitelist your domain or IP address. If you send bulk email from other domains, you are running the risk of sending your newsletters straight to the junk pile.

You should also avoid making frequent changes to your “From” field names, and don’t use strange names like “8wqq823o@yourdomain.com”. Use clear and reliable names like “newsletter@”, “support@”, contact@”, or “feedback@”.

The best approach is to personalize your address using a real name, e.g. tom@yourdomain.com. Read more about personalizing newsletters.

2. Authenticate your domain

How to avoid spam filters and reach the inbox

Ok, you followed step one and added a personal email address like peter@yourdomain.com to the sender field. That is a great start. But before you push send, there is one more step to optimize your domain. It’s called domain authentication.

Domain authentication is a method to legitimize your bulk sending domain with our servers so they can send emails on your behalf. This helps spam filters tolerate your bulk mailing and validates your domain.

We wrote a short guide on how to authenticate your email with MailerLite.

3. Check your newsletter content

How to avoid spam filters and reach the inbox

As we mentioned earlier, spam filters are always checking your content. They don’t have the human ability to analyze words in context, so they basically flag any words or phrases associated with spam. If they find a spammy word, they are nastier than Chuck Norris.

While there are no magic keywords to improve deliverability, you can limit the use of risky words to reduce the chance of landing in the spam folder. Here are some useful tips to check your email for spam content:

  • Link only to legitimate sites with reputable domains. Check all your affiliate links to ensure they are above board.
  • Don’t go crazy with email length. Spam filters don’t like newsletters that are a mile long. There is not a perfect newsletter length. But if you have more than 200 words or the reader has to work hard to get through it, shorten it.
  • Balance your images and text. Spam filters see images as blank space. If you send a newsletter with one large image and no copy, they will consider it as an empty email and your days will be numbered.
  • Don’t use too many exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Avoid writing text in red.
  • Make sure you are not writing in ALL CAPS. IT FEELS LIKE YOU’RE SCREAMING! Nobody likes that.
  • Avoid fishy phrases like “Please click here”, “Don’t miss this!”, “This is not spam!”, etc.

4. Never use purchased lists!

How to avoid spam filters and reach the inbox

It is not just you. Everyone is tempted to grow their list by 100,000 potential customers by simply buying a list. If you are still considering this idea, stop!

Purchased lists are like ticking time bombs. Sooner or later they will destroy your reputation. Filled with non-existing email addresses and spam traps, they quickly inform mailbox providers that you like to break the rules by sending unsolicited emails.

Your messages will end up in junk folders. Even worse, you may be marked as a spammer.

To send an email using MailerLite, the recipient must be someone who has specifically asked to receive your emails by opting in or signing up in some way. If you are an online business, it can also be someone who has bought a product or service from you in the past 18 months.


Follow these 4 basic tips and you will avoid most spam filters and keep your open rate healthy.

P.S. Here’s a bonus tip: when confirming or greeting your new subscribers (e.g. via a welcome email), ask them to add your “From” address to their contacts. It is a clever way to bypass those spam filters. It never hurts to ask and it is highly effective.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2015, but has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.