If you’re like other savvy business leaders, you use email marketing to stay in touch with your customers. Like many marketing strategies, a successful campaign involves carefully examining metrics that show how consumers interact with your emails. The goal is typically to get more engagement and conversions.

Out of the various metrics, you’ll see when looking over your reports, your open rate can have the biggest impact on your overall performance. If no one’s opening the emails you’re sending out, what’s the point?

Improving your open rate will result in more engagement, which means more potential sales for your small business.

The problem marketers commonly run into when they have a low open rate is their emails are landing in the recipients’ spam folder. Think about the last time you checked your spam folder for a helpful email from a business. Probably never, right? You’re not going to reach your subscribers if all of the messages are landing in spam.

So, we are going to look at four reasons marketing emails end up in spam folders and explain what you can do to prevent running into these problems.

You’re Not Delivering on Your Promises

The first reason your message may go directly to the spam folder is because of a customer request. When someone fills out an email subscription form on your website, they have specific expectations about what you will — and will not — deliver.

If you’re not able to deliver on their expectations, they may stop reading your emails altogether, which will result in future messages eventually making it to the spam folder.

On the other hand, if you can deliver exactly what you promise to your audience, there’s a good chance they will open new emails. Simply put, people like knowing what they are signing up for when joining an email list.

So, if your goal is to send out several marketing emails a week, make a note that you will be sending marketing messages upon subscription. Similarly, if you ask for a visitor’s email address for a lead magnet, make sure to include the download link inside your welcome message.

The process of exceeding customer expectations and building rapport begins with delivering on your promises. When you encourage users to sign up for your email list, set expectations early so they can keep an eye out for your next email. Use this tactic to keep subscribers engaged and boost your open rate.

Emails are not Properly Authenticated

Another common issue to keep an eye out for is email authentication. Essentially, emails need to be authenticated by email providers such as Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo. The provider looks at specific elements of the email, such as the claimed place of origin. If the location checked doesn’t match the location on the email, the provider could send the message to the spam folder.

Ideally, you want to get your email deliverability as close to 100% as possible. The more people who receive your emails, the more opportunities you get to build connections with your customers.

This problem can get better or worse, depending on the content management software you use. For example, if you’re one of the 60 million people who use WordPress.org, there’s an excellent chance some of your emails are going to the spam folder based on the default email configuration.

Some marketing software automatically authenticates your emails before they get sent out. If you don’t see that feature available, consider using a tool like WPMailSMTP to change your emails’ protocol, so they match the place of origin.

Authenticating your emails means that providers will trust your messages when they are sent, which will result in more people reading what you have to say. As scammers get increasingly creative and find new ways to bypass these systems, expect to see a demand for proper email authentication for B2C transactions.

Limited Subscription Features

Subscription features can play a significant role in how people interact with your emails. We mentioned earlier that meeting your users’ needs is a surefire way to stay out of the spam box, but there’s more to it than that.

You should give your users the tools they need to personalize and customize their experience with your brand. Subscription features start at the point of the signup. Include optional boxes that subscribers can check to signify the type of content they want to receive.

Use this information to segment your list and send out emails that resonate with each user’s pain points and goals.

It’s also crucial that you add subscription features within your email. For instance, users should be able to change their subscription status, email delivery, and more by clicking a link in each email. Failure to add these features could result in a negative UX, which leads to more people blacklisting your marketing emails.

Poor Email Design

Finally, let’s talk about design choices that could result in more people sending your emails to the spam folder. When writing the copy for your messages, make sure to use short, conversational sentences.

Break your paragraphs up so that each one is 2-3 sentences for better readability. Consumers spend 3.3 hours on their smartphones every day, so it’s a safe bet that many people will read your message from their device.

Proper formatting ensures that people can enjoy your content regardless of their device. If more people can read your message, it’s likely that you’ll see a sharp boost in traffic, engagement, and even sales.

We also recommend sticking one call to action per email. Calls to action (CTA) are how you get users to take the next step after reading your email. You don’t want to include too many CTAs and overwhelm your readers.

Instead, write your emails with one specific CTA in mind. At the end of the copy, include a direct CTA that appeals to your audiences’ needs. You’ll find that when you personalize your CTAs based on your subscribers’ preferences, you’re more likely to stay in their inbox instead of the spam folder.

Over to You

Email marketing will remain one of the best ways to connect with customers in the coming year. Expect to see businesses across all industries harness the power of email marketing to generate more engagement and sales on their website.

If you want to step up your email marketing strategy, you now know what to do to avoid ending up in the spam folder. Write customer-centric emails and continuously improve as you get feedback, and you could see a dramatic increase of active subscribers.