Email Tips: 5 Ways to Work With Spam Filters

Spam filters have a pretty thankless job.  You’re totally unaware of them when they’re excelling, but the second they slip up and prevent an legitimate message from reaching your intended audience, it’s a pretty big deal.

We hear from group managers occasionally when an important email ends up in a member’s spam folder, or worse yet, gets filtered out altogether.  Fortunately, this a rare occurrence as spam filters are usually pretty good at their job, but here are five precautions you can take to work with spam filters towards the betterment of your mailing lists and inboxes everywhere.

Don’t talk like a spammer.  You know, the sort of language that would have you clicking the DELETE button in your own inbox without opening the email.  Act Now!, Earn $$$, and Limited Time – that sort of stuff.  Here’s a comprehensive list of such trigger words – just bear in mind that you shouldn’t agonize over avoiding every single one of these words.  Keep them in the back of your mind, but a mention of a free some-or-other every once and awhile won’t cause a communication disaster.

Don’t format like a spammer.  Would you send an email to your friend in a red font, using all caps, or with invisible (white) text?  Of course you wouldn’t, so don’t do it to a mailing list either!  Not only will these attention-grabbing techniques annoy your readers, they very well might get you filtered.

Don’t include attachments. Many spam blockers see attachments as a potential virus threat, so it’s better to avoid them altogether.  Don’t worry, we have a pretty good workaround that makes it just as easy to share files with your mailing lists without any spam trigger risks.

Ask members to whitelist you.  If you have one member who just isn’t receiving your messages no matter what, ask them to add your list’s email address to their address book or approved sender’s list.  Every email service provider is different, and some are just more suspicious than others and being added to the address book effectively let’s the ESP know that you’re someone they actually want to hear from.  In fact, it you might want to include a request that all members add your address to their address book in your registration form’s confirmation message.

Send messages from a reputable server.  This is actually the single most important precaution, and if you’re using GroupSpaces, then you’re already set!  You’d be surprised how many of the aforementioned no-nos you can get away with if your server has a healthy reputation, which is why we take this responsibility very seriously.  We maintain a good server rep by having internal checks to prevent actual spammers abusing our mailing list feature, including unsubscribe links in  newsletter and email discussions sent by every group in our system, and – to get a bit technical – using DomainKeys DKIM, and SPF.

Remember, spam filters are our friends and they to do a standup job keeping inboxes sane and safe overall, but nobody is perfect,  so help them out by keeping the five tips above in mind when messaging your group.

2 thoughts on “Email Tips: 5 Ways to Work With Spam Filters

  1. Paul Christensen

    Potentially useful stuff, but sadly one of the most common support issues I have to deal with for my group is that GMail sends the “email address verification” that you send out when someone tries to register straight to the Spam/Junk folder. This is, presumably, because it has a link in it, and the Groupspaces mailserver isn’t on GMail’s whitelist.

    Any chance you could talk to Google and try to get that fixed?


    1. Meghan Post author

      Hey Paul, We use Gmail accounts often for testing, so I can definitely tell you that there is no block on our domain and they do not filter our verification emails into the spam folder as a rule – which isn’t to say it never happens, just that it’s not domain issue. If an unusually high number of your members are finding your verification emails in their spam folders, there may be something else at play there, so the best thing to do is contact our support team for troubleshooting:


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