Home > Spam filters > A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing: How To Avoid the Junk Folder

A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing: How To Avoid the Junk Folder

A Sheep in Wolf's ClothingEven if you’re following all the rules of email marketing and doing things the right way, some of your messages will occasionally be blocked by spam filters. On average, 10-20% of your emails will be blocked by overzealous spam filters. It’s not just spammers who get spam-filtered. Innocent email marketers who send permission-based emails to people who requested them get spam filtered all the time. The best way to protect your messages from spam filters is to understand how they work.

Spam filters evaluate emails against a long list of criteria to determine whether it’s junk. For example, they might look for phrases like “FREE! BUY NOW!” or “CLICK HERE!” that sound “spammy” and assign points for each of those phrases. Certain criteria get more points than others. Here’s a sample of criteria from Spam Assassin, one of the most popular spam filters:

  • Talks about lots of money (.193 points)
  • Describes some sort of breakthrough (.232 points)
  • Looks like mortgage pitch (.297 points)
  • Contains urgent matter (.288 points)
  • Money back guarantee (2.051 points)
  • Why Pay More? (1.249 points)

Your email is sent to the junk folder if your campaign’s total score exceeds a certain threshold. Since it’s up to the person installing the spam filter software to set the tolerance level, the threshold is different for every server. Furthermore, the list of criteria is constantly growing and changing because spam filters “learn” from users how to identify junk each time someone clicks the “This is spam” button in their email program. Spam filters even cooperate with each other by sharing knowledge.

Dodging spam filters will always be a part of email marketing, but by sticking to some basic rules, you can stay ahead of the curve.

Categories: Spam filters
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