eCommerce Emails Ending Up In Spam? Here’s 5 Sneaky Reasons Why

Ecommerce emails ending up in spam?

You may see spam reports from your meanie subscribers.

BUT…

You won’t see emails that are automatically routed to the spam folder.

So if your open rates in the toilet…

The most likely culprit is that your emails are being delivered to the spam folder.

Introduction

According to HubSpot and MailButler,
“Open rates below 15% indicate that your mail could be getting filtered to the spam folder.”

Email Tool Tester reports that 15.8% of all emails have either gone completely missing or have been caught by popular spam filters.

As much as it sucks, it’s not just you. 

This is a fairly common problem with email marketing. 

[fusion_highlight background=”yes” background_style=”full” color=”#f4cccc” rounded=”yes” text_color=”#000000″ gradient_font=”no” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ class=”” id=””]According to our own auditing and research of 198 brands, 25.88% of the eCommerce brands we audited have emails going directly into the spam folder.[/fusion_highlight]

For any brand owner, this is pretty scary stuff. 

This means your emails aren’t even being seen.

  • If they aren’t seen, they can’t be opened.
  • If they can’t be opened, products can’t be clicked.
  • If products can’t be clicked, no sale.

But not to fear…

In this article, we’re going to go over 5 culprits that land you in the SPAM FOLDER…

  • We’ll go over the culprits
  • Then we’ll discuss the most effective fixes
  • And we’ll also have a fix summary at the end

👹 Culprit #1: You’re using a shared sending domain (or worse, on a blacklist)

A “sending domain” is the thing that sends out your brand’s email message. 

Most email marketing platforms will give you an option to use a shared sending domain or set up a dedicated sending domain

Think of this as an emergency shelter (shared) versus a private honeymoon suite (dedicated).

A shared sending domain is something that an email marketing platform will provide for you by default (in most cases).  

They can be a bit crowded, have unsavory characters, and you might not perform at your 100% best.

They suspect nothing - ecommerce emails ending up in spam

This means that emails sent from the platform will appear with your email address followed by “sent on behalf of ” or “via” + the shared domains of the platforms. 

Confusing, I know. 

But take a look at a couple of examples below (I’ve blocked the email addresses for privacy purposes):

Klaviyo

Klaviyo - ecommerce emails ending up in spam

Omnisend

Omnisend - ecommerce emails ending up in spam

MailChimp

Mailchimp - ecommerce emails ending up in spam

On the other hand…

A dedicated sending domain, as Klaviyo describes it,  “allows you to send emails that appear to be coming from your brand”. 

If you have this setup, even if you use email marketing tools such as Klaviyo, your emails will appear to be coming directly from you. 

Now that we know which one is which, which one should you use for your emails? 

✅ The Fix: Dedicated sending domains

Setting up your dedicated sending domain is almost always the best move 

For more info on how to set up dedicated sending domains from some of the most popular email marketing platforms, check out some of these resources: 

Shockingly enough… 

[fusion_highlight background=”yes” background_style=”full” color=”#f4cccc” rounded=”yes” text_color=”#000000″ gradient_font=”no” gradient_start_color=”” gradient_end_color=”” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ class=”” id=””]90.91% of all the brands we audited that have emails landed in spam were on a shared sending domain.[/fusion_highlight]

Sending infrastructure is not the only factor in play. But in this case, it’s too big of a percentage to ignore. 

I’m not saying that being on a shared domain is all bad. It does have its merits. 

🌎 For example: If you’re in a shared domain, you are already sending from a domain with an existing history and reputation. Another benefit is that most hosted platforms rigorously monitor the reputations of their shared domains, so technically, you have someone else to do it for you!

So why would I pick a dedicated sending domain? TOTAL CONTROL.

Having a dedicated sending domain allows you to build a reputation for your own domain, and only you affect it. 

Because of this, you must be very careful when building your sender reputation: If you mess it up while on a dedicated sending domain, it will be harder to recover.

🚨 Warning: Confident your your ecommerce emails ending up in spam? It’s worth checking if you’re on a blacklist already or not. It’s not a death sentence, but there is a procedure for each blacklist.

But how do you build that reputation? Or what if you have a bad reputation already?

👹 Culprit #2: You don’t have a great sending domain reputation

You need to start “warming up” your email account first.  What does that mean? 

warm up - ecommerce emails ending up in spam

MailReach describes email warm-up as…

 “The process of preparing an email address, domain and/or IP to build a positive email sending reputation with email providers and spam filters.”

To make it simpler, imagine you’re about to run a 10K marathon. You blast into the race at full speed without warming up. The result? Your legs turn to mush in the first 2km.

The same goes for emails. 

Once you have a new email account and sending infrastructure in place, don’t just start blasting your list with your campaigns/promotions. 

Recipient email service providers (Gmail, Outlook, etc.) will flag this activity as suspicious. 

The next thing you know, your emails are escorted to the spam folder. 

spammy manlet - ecommerce emails ending up in spam

❓ Scenario 1 – You’re Brand Spankin’ New At This

If you’re a new user and are just starting to collect emails, you MIGHT get away with not warming up since your list is not that big anyway. 

❓ Scenario 2 – You’re moving domains

If moving off a shared domain to a dedicated domain, a warm-up is needed.

❓ Scenario 3 – You’re moving email service platforms 

If you’re moving from one platform to another, you won’t need to warm up IF you are using a dedicated sending domain from the old platform and the server has been registered for more than 30 days. 

How to warm up:


✅ Fix #1Use tools

(Easy but costs $$$) 

Automate your warm-up process with tools like:


✅ Fix #2 – Manually mail recipients

(time consuming, but little to no cost)

You can also do it manually by emailing your contacts bit by bit with segments.


✅ Fix #3 – Use automation sequences (or flows)

(Some work involved, but recommended)

You can start letting your email provider send by building your automations first since they are emails that get the most engagement.  

Once your automations are in place and flows start, you can now start sending your campaigns. 


But you don’t want to just blast your entire list.

Moengage.com says, ”Mailbox providers tend to filter mail when they observe dramatic spikes in the volume. If you are using a new IP address/domain, make sure you ‘warm’ the same by starting with a low volume and then gradually increasing it.”

💡 Tip: If you’re not sure if your own the naughty or nice list with your existing domain. For starters, you can see if you’re on any blacklists. Check out your domain for yourself at MX Toolbox.

How your list responds to your emails is what we call engagement.

And it can lead to some big issues…

👹 Culprit #3: You don’t have great email engagement 

This is not just for boosting your sales, but also to avoid being marked as spam by ESPs. 

ESPs will flag your future campaigns as spam if you keep sending to your entire email list without much engagement (opens, clicks, replies, etc.).

How do you keep your customers engaged with your email marketing?

✅ Fix 1: Segment your audience

By tailoring your emails to specific types of people, you can connect with more of them and increase engagement. 

In turn, it does not only help you stay out of the spam folder, but it also helps your overall email marketing ROI. 

According to Upland Software,
segmented and targeted email campaigns account for more than half (58%) of all email ROI.

Target the most engaged segments first and gradually start building from there. 

Start with a 30-day engaged segment, then 60 days, 90 days, and so on. 

If your initial list of 30-day engaged segments are too large, you can break them down into smaller groups and send them on different days. 

📝 Note: You can also segment your customers via psychographics such as interests and beliefs. But this isn’t too important if you’re suspecting your emails are already going into spam. 

✅ Fix 2: Clean up your email list

By keeping your list healthy, you improve engagement and limit unsubscribes. To clean your email list, here are a few things you need to do: 

🚮 Remove unsubscribes

If people opted out of your emails, respect that. There are no two ways about it. Sending emails to people who already unsubscribed will buy you a one-way ticket to the spam folders. Trust me.

Fortunately, most email marketing platforms will automatically remove them from your list. 

But just in case, double-check and remove any stragglers manually.

🏀 Check bounces

There are two types of bounces: Hard and Soft:

  • Soft bounce indicates a temporary deliverability issue such as a full inbox, or a network error. 
  • Hard bounces are permanent issues like an inactive email, or the recipient blocking your emails.  

Like unsubscribes, email marketing platforms also clean the hard bounces automatically, but always recheck to make sure.

👯‍♂️ Remove Duplicate Emails

A lot of people forget that they’ve already opted into something. I know I do. So it’s no surprise that you would have duplicate emails in your list. 

While this sound like a minor problem, duplicates can affect your marketing negatively.

Since some of your recipients will receive your emails more than once, you run the risk of getting flagged as spam. 

The process is pretty straightforward, but it might be tedious if you’re checking thousands of emails from your list. There are paid tools you can use to automate this process. 

You can do it manually to save money. All you need to do is export your list to Google Sheets or Excel, then refer to these articles for more information. 

📝 Note: Most of the major email marketing platforms automatically remove duplicate profiles (I know Klaviyo does it). But others may not, that’s why I included it here.

🕵️‍♂️ Validate Your List

Another fairly straightforward process. 

If you have a smaller list, you can do it manually if you have the time. 

You can also rely on automated tools if you have a pretty big list to save time. These are some that you can check out to start with:

✅ Fix 3: Create Engaging Content

This is a no-brainer. 

It doesn’t matter how good your domain reputation is, or how big your email list is. 

If you are sending content that’s not relevant to your customers, then you will soon end up with an unengaged email list. 

This is not as easy to explain in a few paragraphs, so I have another article on this very thing: 

[Coming Soon!]

But for now, check out the No-Brainer Guide To Ecommerce Marketing Strategies created by fellow ecom homie, Chase Dimond.

👹 Culprit #4: You aren’t monitoring your campaigns

Each email you send will have a direct effect on your overall revenue. 

Logic dictates that more emails would mean you would have more sales. 

While that is mostly true, one of the things that can trigger spam filters is your email sending frequency.

There’s no definite answer as to how often you should send campaigns. Every business and every industry is different. 

But keep in mind that spam-like behavior like sending multiple emails in a day for continuous periods is a surefire way for you to be flagged as spam. 

Irregular/inconsistent sending patterns are another behavior that spam triggers watch out for. 

✅ Fix 1: Sending Consistently

While you do have to be wary of your sending frequency, you should also keep a consistent sending schedule for your email campaigns. 

This way, you not only avoid the spam folder, but you will also train your audience to watch out for your emails at specific times/days in a week, improving your overall engagement!

✅Fix 2: Self-managed Preferences

Another industry best practice you should adopt is providing your subscribers the option to manage their email preferences. 

By giving them control over how and when they’ll receive emails, you’ll reduce the overall number of unsubscribes and spam reports. 

👹 Culprit #5: You aren’t avoiding trigger words and bad links

Spam filters are trained to flag specific keywords in emails. 

But this doesn’t mean that if your emails contain those words, you automatically get routed to spam. 

✅ Fix 1: Avoid spam trigger words

The context in which these words are used MATTERS. 

As long as you use one or two words in a good context, you’re gonna be fine. Take the word FREE as an example. 

A lot of marketing emails revolve around freebies, yet they don’t land in the spam folder.

This email as an example, while containing a trigger word, safely arrived in my inbox. 

Spam trigger keywords - ecommerce emails ending up in spam

But combining it with words like “Free Money” or “Free Bank Access” will have a high chance of landing you in spam. 

No matter how good your sender reputation is.

There are hundreds of spam trigger words out there. Make sure to read up and learn what they are, and avoid:

  • Stuffing spam keywords in your email content
  • Excessive punctuation such as exclamation points
  • Excessive capitalizations and strangely formatted fonts

💡 Tip: Just can’t help yourself from using those terrible spam words? Me either! Just use a highlight tool chrome extension to stop you in the act!

✅ Fix 2: Avoid bad links

Much like the spam trigger words, you can also trip spam filters by including bad links in your email marketing. 

Links (and emails in general) are often used by malicious parties that can lead to websites that will infect your device with a virus or malware. 

And this is exactly why spam filters are very strict when it comes to links. 

If you choose to include external links from your emails, ensure that they are reputable. 

Another thing you need to stay away from is link shorteners. 

These are websites, apps, or tools that shorten URLs, often used to save space if there is a character limit. 

✅ Fix 3: Avoid using link shorteners in your emails

Link shorteners are not inherently evil. However, they are often used by spammers to hide malicious links. 

Which is exactly why spam filters often end up flagging these as suspicious. 

You won’t need these for your email marketing anyway since, unlike social media marketing, the length of your emails will depend entirely on you. 

Plus, plenty of ESPs provide UTM tracking.

Instead of using these, you can use CTAs or hyperlinks to direct your subscribers to pages you want them to view!

✅ Fix 3: Use spam testing tools

So, you followed the tips above, but you’re still worried that your emails might go to spam. 

Good news! There are a lot of email deliverability testing tools that you can use to test out your campaigns as well as your sending reputation. 

Here are a few free/paid tools that are recommended by email marketing experts: 

Mail-Tester.com (FREE 3 checks per day, then paid) 

Runs an easy-to-understand test and rates your email’s level of spamminess. 

Among other things, it can check your emails against major spam filters. It can also check your sending reputation and the reputation of the links included in your email.

GlockApps.com (Free for 3 tests, then paid)

This tool will allow you to see how your emails will be seen by your recipients, and if they will be delivered or not. 

IsNotSpam.com (Free)

Being a free tool, it doesn’t have the comprehensive testing ability that the others do.

Still, it checks the Sender Policy Framework, SenderID, and DKIM settings to make sure they are correct. It also does a SpamAssassin check.

🎁 Wrap-Up 

As you can see, there are a lot of things that could affect your email deliverability. 

You can reduce the chances of your emails landing in the dreaded spam folder by using common sense.

Follow the marketing etiquette standards we discussed and magic will happen. 

Ecommerce emails ending up in spam? Here’s the wrap up of fixes:

  • 👉 Get off shared sending domain
    • ✅ Dedicated sending domains
  • 👉 Build your sender rep
    • ✅ Warm up your list…either by
    • ✅ Using tools
    • ✅ Manually sending for a bit under your account
    • ✅ Email automations
  • 👉 Get your engagement going
    • ✅ Segment your audience
    • ✅ Clean up your list
    • ✅ Remove unsubs
    • ✅ Check bounces
    • ✅ Remove dupe emails
    • ✅ Validate your list
    • ✅ Create engaging content
  • 👉 Monitor campaigns
    • ✅ Send consistently
    • ✅ Letting users self-manage preferences
  • 👉 Avoid spam triggers
    • ✅ Avoid spam trigger words
    • ✅ Avoid bad links
    • ✅ Avoid using link shorteners in your emails
    • ✅ Use spam testing tools

The most important thing for any company wanting to make use of email marketing is this…

Bring the most value in your emails to your subscribers and customers.

I hope you find the above tips useful. Especially if you ended up here searching “ecommerce emails ending up in spam.”

👉 Next Steps?

Worried about the state of your current email marketing? We offer a $50k Valued “Profit Spotting” Email Sales System Health Audit for brands.

Want more resources like this? Check out our FREE Ultimate Ultimate eCom Brand Resource Directory we made or sign up right now for it below 👇

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