We are often asked “Why are my emails going to spam?” And while we know, and you may know, that there are obvious missteps to avoid when ensuring that your email is not marked as spam, there are some commonly overlooked practices, or lack thereof, that can still cause a legitimate email to be marked as spam.

The thing is, it’s not enough to just not do anything wrong. When it comes to assuring stellar deliverability, consistent delivery to the inbox, and to avoiding ending up in the junk or spam folder, you also need to do a lot that is right. Especially in the early stages of your email relationship with your subscribers.

That’s right, just as with any brand new relationship, first impressions are important. Very important.

So Why Are My Emails Going to Spam?

One of the first and biggest mistakes that a well-intentioned organization can make is to not properly manage new subscribers. Now this may shock you (in fact it should shock you) but many organizations let new subscribers languish for days, even weeks, before sending them any email. This is inexcusable in an era when nearly all ESPs offer automated follow-ups. And yet it may be a month or more after subscribing before a new user gets their first email from some organizations. By that time there is a good chance that the subscriber has forgotten that they signed up to receive email from you, and then they may very well mark the first message that they get from you as spam, setting off a cascade of spam foldering for future email from you.

Again, your relationship with new subscribers is like any other relationship; it needs to be nurtured, especially in the beginning, not neglected. You wouldn’t ask someone out on a date, then just not call them for a month or more, and expect them to be happy to hear from you when you finally do call, right? It’s not all that different with that email relationship: after you ask them for their email address, and they give it to you, let them know how glad you are to be connected with them!

How to Make Your New Subscriber Feel Wanted and Valued

Fortunately it’s easy to make your new subscribers feel welcome and wanted! To do this, send each new subscriber a welcome email as soon as possible, ideally immediately after they sign up and confirm, and certainly no longer than an hour or so after they sign up and confirm.

This is especially easy now given that most ESPs have follow-up automation in place (and if yours doesn’t it may be time to think about moving to a different ESP). This way you just have to create the welcome email once, and then have it automatically sent from your ESP to each new subscriber. NOTE: Be sure to review that welcome message every so often, to make sure that the information in it is still timely and accurate.

What Should Go in That First Email?

So what should go in that first welcome message? We recommend the following:

  • A welcome message enthusing about how glad you are that they have joined your email community
  • Any appropriate links (but no more than a couple – read why here)
  • Information about how to subscribe, how to unsubscribe, and how to change their email address
  • Tell them how often they will receive email from you, and what sort of email it will be (read how important this is here)
  • If you are sending a sequence of emails, and they are somehow coming in mid-sequence, you might also consider sending them the most recent message that they missed, as a recap

If you want to see some good examples of welcome emails, check out these welcome email examples from MailerLite.

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