Spam is normally perceived as a bad thing. After all, the connotation “spam” has is that of irrelevant or inappropriate messages.
However, this isn’t always the case. Your emails can end up in spam for a variety of reasons other than being, well, spammy, and if you’re using Google Workspace for your marketing emails, you may have encountered this problem with your legitimate emails.
For email marketers, every email sent to spam is money wasted.
Fortunately, this isn’t a dead-end problem. There are many ways to keep your emails out of the spam folder, and the first step is to figure out why they ended up there in the first place. Once you know the “why”, you can learn how to fix it.
This article aims to give you the “why” and how to fix it, so I’ll get right to it. If you see your Google Workspace emails going to spam, here is how to solve your problem.
What is Google Workspace?
Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) is a slew of productivity tools, services, and apps designed for business use. They offer several plans, from Business Starter at $6/mo to Enterprise at a custom price.
Designed for multiple industries such as government, healthcare, and technology, Google Workspace aims to provide productivity tools to as many users as possible.
Along with these tools, Google Workspace expands upon Gmail by allowing users to customize domain names for their Gmail addresses, instead of being stuck with “@gmail.com”. This is great for email deliverability, as many companies will filter out emails from “@gmail.com” addresses, and having a custom email address like “@yourdomain.com” makes you appear more professional.
Typically, emails sent using Google Workspace are sent with good deliverability and strong spam protection, but that isn’t always the case. If you’re wondering, “Why are my Google Workspace emails going to spam?“, here are some reasons why your emails are going to spam and how you can stop that from happening.
Why are my Google Workspace emails going to spam?
You Have a Bad Email Design
You heard that right; if your emails don’t meet certain design requirements, then they can be tossed straight into spam.
Having a plain text version of your emails is crucial to ensuring mobile devices like phones and smartwatches can correctly display your content in notifications. Having plain text is also important for people who might not be able to read your HTML emails, or people who have images turned off in their emails.
Additionally, if your emails are image-only or have a very high image-to-content ratio, they’re likely to get sent straight to the spam folder. This is because spammers tend to use image-only emails so spam filters can’t read their content, thus passing through filters and straight into inboxes. Due to this, spam filters now filter out image-only emails to prevent spammers from doing what they do.
How to Fix?
Maintain a text-to-image ratio of around 60/40 in your emails, meaning that you should have no more than 40% image coverage in your emails to avoid deliverability issues.
Avoid linking to any site that isn’t incredibly reputable, and don’t send any attachments unless they are absolutely necessary.
This is fairly standard practice, but also avoid “spammy” copy, including spelling and grammar mistakes. Use a service like Grammarly to help with this.
You Aren’t Using Email Authentication
Another of the most basic things that land you in the spam folder is ignoring email authentication. Email authentication gives mailbox providers verification that your messages are genuine and you are a real sender.
How to Fix?
To start using email authentication, you need to add some records into your DNS zone. This might sound complicated, but it’s not too bad; it gives ESPs confidence that you are who you claim you are.
There are three components to email authentication to verify your legitimacy: the SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance), and DKIM (DomainKerys Identified Mail), A.K.A. your DNS records.
Adding an SPF record to your DNS will reduce the risk of your emails ending up in the spam folder while setting up DMARC helps you prevent business spoofing and phishing.
When you authenticate your domain, you not only cut down on spam, but also improve your domain reputation, email deliverability, and brand authenticity.
You Have a Poor Domain Reputation
Your domain reputation is a reflection of your efforts as an email marketer, and maintaining a good domain reputation makes sure mailbox providers won’t mark your emails as spam.
How to Fix?
If you have a poor domain reputation, you need to find out why in order to fix it.
Things like unsubscribes, spam reports, bounce rates, blacklists, and more all affect your domain reputation. Once you’ve narrowed down the cause, you can address it accordingly.
You’re Sending Emails Through a Shared IP Address
The IP address you’re sending emails through is vital for email deliverability as, depending on the sending history of that IP address (A.K.A. history of low spam complaints and bounce rates), you could either be guaranteed a spot in the recipient’s inbox or be blocked entirely.
The issue with using a shared IP address is that other people are on that IP address, and you can’t control what they do directly. They could be operating in a shady manner and hurting the IP address’s sender’s reputation for everyone using it, bringing everyone down with them,
How to Fix?
First things first, if you’re wondering about your IP address’s reputation, you can use third-party tools like Google Postmaster Tools and Sender Score to check things like spam rates and IP address reputation/position on a block list respectively.
If it turns out your IP address is the problem, you can usually reach out to your email service provider and get a dedicated IP either for free or at an extra cost.
You’re Sending Emails to People w/o Permission
If you imagine yourself in the shoes of the person you’re sending emails to without their consent, you can imagine what you’d do to stop receiving those emails, and that doesn’t reflect well on your sender’s reputation.
If you’re sending unwanted messages, the person receiving those messages is likely to complain or mark your emails as spam, which hurts your sender’s reputation in the eyes of ISPs who will then choose to block your sending address’s emails from reaching inboxes.
How to Fix?
Don’t send emails to people who haven’t given you consent. That should be obvious, but I’ll leave that there just in case.
In the future, use more thorough opt-in processes when signing people up for your email list so they are sure they want to receive emails from you and there’s no confusion on either need about whether or not they want to receive emails from you.
The best way to do this is through double opt-ins, which on top of the initial opt-in requires the user to verify their email address and confirm interest.
You Don’t Have an Unsubscribe Link
All of your emails should have an unsubscribe link, as it is a requirement in many countries. The most notable example is the US CAN-SPAM Act, which lists the ability to opt out of receiving emails as a requirement.
If you don’t have an unsubscribe link in your emails, the next best thing to prevent them from receiving emails from you is to hit the spam button, resulting in your emails going straight to spam in the future.
How to Fix?
This one’s simple. Just include an unsubscribe link in a location that your email recipients can easily find if they want to opt out of receiving emails from you.
This shows a level of confidence in the quality of your content, as if someone is trying to hide their unsubscribe link by making it tiny or placing it in a sneaky spot, they’ll be seen as unconfident in the quality of their content, expecting that people will want to leave and hiding the option to do so to maintain their email list.
Having your emails end up in spam, no matter the reason is incredibly irritating, especially if you know your emails have good intentions. Hopefully, though, with the tips provided above, you will be able to improve your email deliverability and prevent a large majority of your emails from going to spam.