Cheat Sheet: Avoid Cold Emails Going To Spam

What is a Spam Email?

A spam email, also known as unsolicited email or junk email, is an non-opted message sent to a large number of recipients without their consent. usually sent to promote a product or service, but they can also be used for phishing, spreading malware, or other malicious activities.

Spam emails can be annoying and disruptive to individuals and businesses, and can also pose a security risk if they contain links or attachments that could infect the recipient's computer with malware or viruses.

Spam filters are unaware of your intentions and they solely depend on the best practices that you've adhered too. Basic unsaid rules of cold emailing or email marketing. If your campaign seems spammy, you’re tagged as a spammer and your campaign emails are sent to spam.

When does an email be classified as a ‘Spam’ Email?

There are several reasons why an email might be classified as a spam email. Few common reasons are:

Content: Emails that contain certain types of content are more likely to be classified as spam. This includes emails that contain excessive use of capital letters, multiple exclamation points, or words commonly used in spam emails, such as "free," "discount," or "guaranteed."

Sender reputation: If the sender's email address or domain is associated with a history of sending spam emails, their emails are more likely to be classified as spam.

Recipient engagement: If the recipient does not engage with the emails they receive from a particular sender (e.g., not opening, clicking, or replying to emails), the email provider may begin to classify those emails as spam.

Technical issues: Emails that contain technical issues such as broken links, large attachments, or improper formatting may be flagged as spam by email providers.

Blacklistings: If an email server has been blacklisted due to spam activity, emails from that server may be blocked or flagged as spam.

IP address reputation: Email providers use IP address reputation to determine whether an email is legitimate or not. If the IP address used to send the email has a poor reputation, for example, because it has been associated with spamming in the past, the email may be classified as spam.

Domain authentication: Email authentication helps email providers verify that an email was actually sent by the domain it claims to be from. If an email fails authentication checks, it may be classified as spam.

Frequency: Sending a large volume of emails in a short period of time, or sending emails at unusual times of day, may cause an email to be classified as spam.

Subscriber complaints: If a high number of recipients mark an email as spam, email providers may begin to classify that sender's emails as spam.

Language: Some email providers may use language detection tools to determine whether an email is spam. If an email contains language structure that is commonly used in spam emails, it may be classified as spam.

It's important to note that different email providers may use different criteria to classify emails as spam, and these criteria can change over time as spammers develop new tactics. Something which worked six months ago might not work now.

What happens when your email is marked as ‘Spam’ by a recipient?

It can trigger a chain of negative consequences for your cold email outreach efforts. Here are a few ways that being marked as spam can impact your domain reputation:

Spam complaints can trigger email provider filters: This can lead to your emails being automatically sent to the spam folder or blocked entirely. If this happens frequently, it can impact your sender reputation with that email provider.

High bounce rates can hurt your domain reputation: If you're sending emails to a large number of invalid email addresses, your bounce rate will increase. This can be a signal to email providers that your email list is not well-maintained, which can hurt your domain reputation.

Being blacklisted can impact deliverability: Email providers use a variety of methods to identify spammers and protect their users. One of these methods is maintaining a blacklist of email addresses, domains, or IP addresses that have been associated with spamming in the past. If your domain is added to a blacklist, it can impact your email deliverability across a wide range of email providers.

Low engagement can signal poor email quality: If your emails are consistently marked as spam or ignored by recipients, this can signal to email providers that your emails are low-quality or irrelevant. This can lead to your emails being sent to the spam folder or blocked entirely.

To avoid these negative impacts on your domain reputation, it's important to follow best practices for cold email, including obtaining permission from your subscribers before sending them emails, sending relevant and valuable content, and monitoring your email deliverability to ensure that your emails are reaching their intended audience.

Best practices to avoid spam by using

Campaign Soft Start: Sudden spikes in email sending volume can trigger spam filters and damage your sender reputation, resulting in lower email deliverability and open rates. However, after gradually increasing your email sending volume over several weeks using's Campaign Soft Start feature, you can avoid triggering spam filters and improve your sender reputation, resulting in higher email deliverability and open rates.

Personalization via Merge Tags:'s personalization features to personalize your emails with dynamic fields such as the recipient's name and company, your emails can feel more personal and less like spam, resulting in higher email deliverability and open rates.

Spam Test: The Spam Test feature of helps improve email deliverability by verifying your email account and campaign setup before sending out emails. It automatically checks for common issues, including authentication problems like SPF, DKIM, and Dmarc records, formatting issues like harmful HTML or short URLs, broken or phishing links, and whether your IP is blacklisted on any of the top 25 global IP blacklists. By identifying and alerting you to these issues, a Spam Test can help you avoid delivery problems and ensure your emails land in your recipients' inboxes.

A/B testing: allows you to A/B test your email subject lines and content to determine which variations are most effective at avoiding spam filters and engaging your recipients. This can help you optimize your emails to achieve better results. You can optimize your emails for maximum engagement and avoid triggering spam filters, resulting in higher response rates.

Unsubscribe management:'s unsubscribe management feature to automatically remove unsubscribed recipients from your email list and mark them as “Do Not Contact”. You can pre-populate an unsubscribe link using our merge tag feature and label it as ‘Opt out of emails’ or ‘Do not send me these emails’ instead of using the age-old ‘Unsubscribe here’.

Email validation: The email validation or email verification feature is free and inbuilt. SmartReach verifies all emails just before sending. It automatically remove invalid emails and hard bounced emails from your email list, thus maintaining a good sender reputation and avoid triggering spam filters

Email scheduling:'s email scheduling feature to send emails at times when recipients are likely to be checking their inbox, which can reduce the likelihood of your emails being marked as spam.

Response tracking: allows you to track the responses to your emails, such as opens, clicks, and replies. This can help you identify which recipients are most engaged with your content and which email content is most effective at avoiding spam filters and engaging your audience. One should also note that many businesses keep response tracking off as it has increased their reply rates.

Multi-channel outreach:'s multi-channel outreach feature enables you to first reach out to prospects via alternate channels and familiarize your product. This then increases the chances of getting a positive or negative response to your email. You can increase your chances of engaging with each prospect and avoid having your emails marked as spam.

SmartReach allows you to test your emails before sending: Make sure they aren't being flagged as spam or falling into the promotions folder.

Generic Best Practices To Avoid Email Being Marked As Spam:

Use a reputable email service provider: Helps ensure that your emails are delivered to your recipients' inboxes rather than being marked as spam.

Use a clear and concise subject line: Your subject line should clearly communicate the purpose of your email and be concise.

Avoid using excessive capitalization or exclamation marks can make your emails appear spammy.

Use a professional email address: Using a professional email address (e.g., [email protected]) can help ensure that your emails are taken seriously and not marked as spam. Avoid using free email providers like Gmail or Yahoo for your business emails.

Keep your emails short and to the point (Not more than 150 characters): Long, rambling emails are more likely to be marked as spam. Keep your emails short and to the point, focusing on the most important information you want to convey.

Provide value in your emails: Your cold emails should provide value to the recipient, whether that's in the form of useful information or a valuable offer.

Ask a question: Your emails should include a question which prompts a recipient to reply. For example, Is this something that your team would like?

Follow email regulations: Make sure you are following email regulations, such as including an unsubscribe link in your emails and honoring unsubscribe requests promptly.

Segment your email list: Segmenting your email list based on factors like location, industry, or interests can help ensure that your emails are relevant to the recipient and reduce the likelihood that they will mark your emails as spam.

Use a plain text email format: Plain text emails are less likely to be marked as spam than HTML emails, which can contain images and other elements that trigger spam filters. Additionally, plain text emails tend to look more personal and less "salesy" than HTML emails.

Use a conversational tone: Using a conversational tone in your emails can help make them feel more personal and less like mass-marketing messages.

Including too many links in your emails can make them appear spammy. Stick to one or two links at most. Additionally, avoid using link shorteners, as these are often associated with spam and phishing emails.