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Email Marketing

When Bad Things Happen to Good Emails

AMA Baltimore
December 20, 2023 |
3 minute read

Do me a favor and check your spam folder. Seriously. 

What did you see? Obvious phishing attempts and bad come-ons that wouldn’t fool a toddler, or did you see something else? Real, legit emails that maybe you don’t really want to see but they’re not, you know, spam. At least not how we used to think about spam.

You may notice more non-spam emails in your spam folder because the rules of spam are changing. It used to be that your personal email account was pretty good at filtering out the obvious spammy emails due to content and it still does, but often times, poor list hygiene or not paying attention to inbox placement can land an email in the spam folder.

Wait – even good emails end up in spam? Yes, it happens all the time.

The larger-scale email providers (Gmail, Yahoo!, MSN, Apple, AOL) aren’t giving you an email account out of the warmth of their hearts. They leverage email and their platforms as a means to generate revenue by marketing their own or third-party products and services to you. And they make that revenue on you checking your emails (and viewing ads or promoted emails) a few times per day. If you start seeing too many emails that you no longer need or want, there’s a good chance your opinion of them might drop and you might use their email tools less. So it is important to them that the emails you see align with your interests.

What are the key factors that can land your emails in the spam folder or even worse – get blocked?

  1. Inconsistent send volumes. A sudden spike in email volume from an account that usually sends fewer emails raises a red flag for email providers.
  2. Unengaged lists. Email providers know which addresses are being checked frequently and which are relatively quiet. Sending emails to unengaged lists sends a message to the email providers that your list is old and out of date.
  3. Too many complaints. If your content is outdated or unwanted, the likelihood that your audience will flag it as spam increases, as does your chance of getting a poor sender reputation.

Imagine you are one of the big email providers and you’re noticing that OmniCorp has been sending emails to an increasing number of old or bad email addresses recently and more than the normal amount of people are unsubscribing from them or flagging them as undesired. Pretty soon, those complaints add up and before you know it, OmniCorp’s reputation sinks with the major email providers until they make the determination that while the email might be legitimate that you may not really want to see it and it ends up in your spam or junk folder.  

Companies recycle old email addresses or purchase spurious ones frequently and sadly, the lure of a high-volume email list can result in a less-than-desirable email status. Quality over quantity.

An email sender’s reputation is like a credit score – many things go into it and it can rise or fall often. It takes a while to acquire a bad reputation and it can take a while to acquire a good reputation. So, as you navigate the complexities of the digital inbox, remember to avoid the three spammy factors listed above. Otherwise, you’ll fall on the naughty list.

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AMA Baltimore

The American Marketing Association Baltimore Chapter (AMA Baltimore) is Maryland’s leading provider of networking, educational programming, and resources for marketing professionals. AMA Baltimore provides extensive opportunities for marketers to expand their networks, grow professionally and learn about current industry trends.
The American Marketing Association Baltimore Chapter (AMA Baltimore) is Maryland’s leading provider of networking, educational programming, and resources for marketing professionals. AMA Baltimore provides extensive opportunities for marketers to expand their networks, grow professionally and learn about current industry trends.

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