3 ways to avoid the spam folder and land in the inbox

This is a guest post by Corina Leslie, PR Manager at ZeroBounce.

Google and Yahoo are enforcing a new set of rules for email senders. Here’s what you must know to avoid the spam folder and get your emails into the inbox.

The junk folder is the last place you want your marketing and sales emails to land. However, several reports show that an average of 16% of all emails go to spam. Others don’t get delivered at all, causing companies to waste resources on dead-end email marketing initiatives.

Google and Yahoo’s new email deliverability rules aren’t making things easier for senders. To earn your company’s spot in people’s inboxes, you must implement these rules soon in your email program.

Gmail and Yahoo will filter out unlawful senders

Starting February 1, 2024, Google and Yahoo will enforce a set of rules that email senders like you must follow. These rules aren’t new. In fact, you may already be following them. If you don’t, your emails may go to spam or not get delivered.

“Meeting the sender requirements before the deadline may improve your email delivery. If you don’t meet the requirements, your email might not be delivered as expected, or might be marked as spam,” Google warns.

Let’s get into the rules and how you can adopt them in your email marketing program. Upon implementation, you’ll get past spam filters, land in the inbox, and truly connect with your prospects.

How to avoid the spam folder by following email deliverability rules

Google and Yahoo’s rules apply to organizations sending over 5,000 daily emails to Gmail and Yahoo users. However, not falling into this category isn’t a good reason to ignore the requirements. Follow them for the best chance to land your campaigns in the inbox.

#1 Authenticate your emails

If your emails aren’t authenticated, now is the best time to ensure you follow best practices. Email authentication works to “close loopholes exploited by attackers that threaten everyone who uses email,” Google’s Group Product Manager Neil Kumaran explains.

In a nutshell, email authentication proves that a sender is who they claim to be. It protects your domain from spoofing attacks and uses protocols like:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
    • DomainKeys Identified Email (DKIM)
      • Domain-Based Messaging Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)

        Once you set up DMARC, you can also use a DMARC monitor to protect your emails in real-time. That way, you can take action when you get notified of suspicious activity, such as a potential unauthorized use of your domain.

        #2 Enable one-click unsubscribing

        Google and Yahoo will require senders to make unsubscribing easy and fast—through one single click—and organizations must process unsubscribe requests within two days. This rule will prevent email users from receiving irrelevant messages and enable them to opt out immediately.

        If your email program doesn’t currently provide an easy way to unsubscribe, adjust your settings as soon as possible. The easier you make it for people to leave your list, the better your email deliverability. When unsubscribing is difficult or impossible, your spam complaint rate may increase.

        #3 Keep a low spam complaint rate

        Google and Yahoo’s email-sending requirements support each other and converge towards the same goal: making the inbox a better place. That means no spam-like, unsolicited messages—only highly relevant emails people want to click on.

        The “Report as spam” button has long been useful for email users to indicate what they consider spam in their inboxes. Senders with a high spam complaint rate are less likely to land in the inbox, as their content is clearly bothering subscribers.

        The accepted spam complaint rate has been 0.1%, with Google and Yahoo now adjusting the threshold to 0.3%. In other words, if you get more than three spam reports for every 1,000 emails, your future emails are bound to land in the spam folder. Although Google and Yahoo set the threshold at 0.3%, strive to keep your complaint rate under 0.1% for the highest email deliverability.

        Bonus tips to stay out of the spam folder

        Following the above rules will boost your email deliverability and overall engagement regardless of how many emails you send. Here are a few more things you can do to help your campaigns stay out of the spam folder:

        • Validate your email list: Your email contacts will inevitably decay, so remember to validate your email list once a quarter. If you use Zoho CRM, cleaning your database is even easier; use the ZeroBounce extension to save time.
        • Make your content relevant: Sending compelling content builds your reputation and fosters healthy engagement rates. To create relevant content, consider segmenting your audience into groups and make your emails specific to each group.
        • Remove complainers immediately: To keep spam complaints under the accepted benchmark, immediately remove subscribers who report your emails as spam. Avoid emailing these subscribers again, as that may prompt them to report you again.
        • Allow email preferences: To offer your subscribers an elevated experience with your brand, allow them to choose how often they hear from you. Some may enjoy your emails greatly but want only a weekly digest instead of a daily message. Make that possible.


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