What is spam email?
Also known as junk email, email spam is an unsolicited email message usually sent in bulk. Mailbox providers (MBPs) use spam filters to route unwanted emails to the spam folder when the content looks suspicious. When recipients report any email message as spam, future emails from the sender will automatically go to spam, regardless of its intent.
Email spam detection has come a long way, and is still an ever-evolving challenge for email marketers. Some emails are sent to spam by mistake, some are well-intentioned promotions, and others are dangerous.
Most commonly email spam comes in the form of:
- Spammers sending promotions to emails collected with a social media scraping tool
- Hackers sending phishing emails, malware (often disguised as cybersecurity software), credit card fraud schemes, and other scams
- From addresses with low sender reputations and personal email accounts (like Gmail or Outlook)
Spammers typically use fake accounts to send email messages to thousands of addresses they find online. Rather than building an email list and requiring opt-ins, they bulk-send to as many people as possible. This “email campaign” results in negligible open and click-through rates, and is often caught in spam email filters.
If you think MBPs are flagging your message as spam email by mistake:
- Consult local anti-spam laws like CAN-Spam Act for the US and GDPR for Europe to ensure you’re compliant
- Create a double opt-in page for your email list
- Make sure your unsubscribe button is visible on all emails
- Use a professional email address to boost deliverability
Even if your recipient opted in to your email messages, they can still be flagged as spam. Ask all subscribers to check their spam folder and mark your email as “not spam” when you confirm their subscription.
Email spam is a serious issue for any email marketing campaign, if your email is flagged as spam due to typos, poor communication or sending to people who didn’t sign up, it can effect your overall sender reputation causing future emails to never make it to the inbox!