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How to avoid email rejection or having your email marked as Spam

You are probably looking at this page because I sent you a link. I have been asked about the why's and wherefor's of email being rejected or being marked as Spam before, so I have written this short guide.

There are two things which can happen, wrongly identified Spam sources, and emails which really do look like spam.

Wrongly identified Spam sources

If you are genuinely sending email which could not be considered spam, first thing is to let the recipient know their server is wrongly rejecting email. This is cure-the-disease, and corrections made to the remote server will help everyone. If you cannot get them to change, you could try mask-the-symptoms, by making your mail NOT look like spam.

Please note, we cannot make changes to the recipients system, only the recipients techies can do that, so you must start there.

Emails which look like spam

There are some things to avoid, which will help the Servers which route your email understand that it is not Spam.

If the (remote) server is complaining about the fact that your email looks like spam, try changing it so that the email looks less like spam:

  • Write to one person, No CC, No BCC, No Additional recipients;
  • Address the person properly at the beginning of the email "Dear Clive" rather than "watcha m8";
  • Give a proper subject, using common words, and avoiding all of the words you see in spam email (purchase order, pro-forma, invoice, licence);
  • Avoid short emails;
  • Send from a normal-mail-program on a normal-computer, rather than another device;
  • Ensure your computer is set to use a proper character set (Avoid using something from a different country, like US-ACSCII, normal preference would be UTF-8);
  • Do not add one single image, either send more, or none;
  • Do not attach HTML files...
  • Avoid letter-combinations which people trying to avoid spam-filtering would use (recently seen "Ta x" meant as "Thankyou-kiss", but looks like someone trying not to say "Tax")

I hope this helps you get your email through, but if it does not, please ensure the server rejecting the email is corrected, rather than berate our server, which kindly took the time to tell you about the rejection.