How To Stop Emails From Landing in Spam/Junk on Gmail & Outlook (2024)

If you're new to email marketing, it's practically inevitable that one of your emails will eventually land in spam.

Assuming you aren't an actual spammer, there's no need to panic. Inbox providers treat false positives as collateral damage in the war on spam. Even Google themselves have sent emails that landed in spam on Gmail!

While you'll never be able to ensure perfect deliverability, you can solve most problems by doing the following:

Send from your own domain

The number one way to improve deliverability is start sending from your own domain ( and begin building a reputation with inbox providers.

Gmail, Outlook, and others keep a record of what you send and whether people are engaging with your emails over time. So unless you're using your own domain, there's no way to actually build that reputation.

Verify you pass SPF, DKIM, DMARC, MX, HTTPS

Inbox providers check your domain name for a bunch of different things to ensure you are a legitimate business. If you do not pass when they check any of these acronyms, it will hurt your deliverability.

Here's how to check each one:

  • SPF & DKIM records: these enable Audienceful to send on your behalf. If you got green checkmarks when adding your domain, you're good. However, if you've made changes to your domain, this can break SPF/DKIM. Try re-verifying your domain in Audienceful to be sure.
  • DMARC record: this authenticates your domain to prevent spoofing. You will need to set this up on your own. Here's how to setup DMARC.
  • MX records: this means your domain is able to recieve emails. If you're sending personal emails already (eg. from you're good. Don't start doing email marketing until you've set up an inbox at your domain (we recommend Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Zoho or Fastmail).
  • HTTP & SSL: when you send emails an http reqest is sent to your domain to see if there's a website. This can just be a simple index.html file, but make sure there's something. Also, ensure you have an SSL certificate (if the https:// version of your domain works, you're good).

Make sure your list is engaged and opted-in

If subscribers have increasingly been reporting your emails as spam (or not opening them), over time, this will obviously result in your emails being sent to spam by default.

Make sure you're only sending to people who have explicitly signed-up to hear from you, and that you're contacting them on a regular basis with useful content (eg. monthly/weekly). This ensures people remember who you are and expired email addresses (people change jobs) don't become a problem.

If you've taken a break from sending for 6+ months, you will likely need "warm" your list up again by starting with your most engaged subscribers before sending to everyone.

Avoid certain content and tactics

The tactics and language that spammers use is well-known at this point, so inbox providers have a laundry list of things in their algorithms that raise eyebrows automatically:

  • No direct download links: never send links that cause web browsers to pop a download dialog when the user clicks on them.
  • No attachments: never attach files directly to bulk emails. If doing something like a lead magnet, always link to an outside file host like Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • No link shorteners: never use a service like to cloak links. This is a common tactic used by fraudsters.
  • No NFTs, ICOs, Forex, Pills, Escorts, Gambling, etc: avoid using language associated with industries commonly found in the spam folder. There is no real "trigger word" list that exists, but use common sense.
  • No all-caps or non-standard characters: this one's pretty obvious. Don't use overly sales-y language or non-standard characters (eg. BUY NOW!!!! 🎀 𝐹𝓇𝑒𝑒 🎀 )
  • No lone-image emails: if your email is simply 1 image with no text content in it, this is another big red flag since spammers send screenshots of legit emails and then link them to bogus sites.

Make sure you're not on a blacklist

You can check your domain against known blacklists using Mxtoolbox. However, only a few of them are considered reputable and used by inbox providers (some like UCEPROTECT are in fact outright scams intended to blackmail you out of money, no inbox providers use them). The main one to worry about is Spamhaus. Others like Spamcop and SORBS are relevant in more niche providers.

If your domain ends up on a blacklist it means 1 of 3 things:

  • The listing is legitimate and you need to improve your practices
  • A spammer is successfully impersonating your domain
  • The listing is accidental or a bug, which sometimes can happen and will usually resolve itself

Assuming you aren't an actual spammer, depending on the blacklist you can request delisting or the listing will expire on its own.

For big senders, look into dedicated IP

If you're sending millions of emails per month (and only if you're sending at that volume), it makes sense to start looking at using a Dedicated IP for sending. With Audienceful, you can add a dedicated IP to any Growth or Business plan.

Reach out to for more info.

If you want to take an even deeper dive into all the factors that affect email deliverability, you can read our exhaustive email deliverability checklist.

May 6, 2024
Published via Audienceful