Why Are My Emails Going to Spam in Outlook and What Can I Do About it?

Dariia Leshchenko
Oct 28, 2022
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Nothing is more upsetting for a marketer than putting a lot of effort into a campaign only to discover that it didn't produce the outcomes you were hoping for. There are many potential causes for this, but for email marketers, the built-in spam filters are one of the most difficult obstacles to get past. One of the most crucial email marketing tracking metrics that marketers should be keeping an eye on is the open rate.

Poor subject line copy is one of many email issues that could be indicated by a low open rate. It might also mean that your subscribers aren't simply receiving the email. This might be the result of the emails going to junk or spam rather than their inbox.

Your subject line discourages interaction. The subject line is the first thing subscribers see when they open your emails, so they must have a positive first impression.

This inevitably prompts marketers to inquire as to why their emails are being classified as junk mail in Outlook. But what is Microsoft Outlook? Let’s explore!

What is Microsoft Outlook?

Many professionals have never heard about this service, and that’s okay. That’s what we are here for — to tell you all about it. So, Microsoft Outlook is a personal information manager and also a part of the Microsoft Office package. Despite being primarily used as an email client, it also has a calendar, a note-taking application, and some other practical features.

Outlook can be used independently or in conjunction with Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server to allow multiple users to share a calendar and mailbox. Microsoft continues to support and develop it. Despite this, Outlook frequently has problems, and one of the most significant ones is that it sometimes sends legitimate emails to the junk folder. But why does this happen?

Why do your emails end up in the junk folder when they have been thoughtfully written?

You may be wondering, “Why are my emails going to spam in Outlook?” So let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons for your emails being directed to the junk folder.

Poor subject lines

The thing is: subject lines no longer heavily influence whether an email ends up in the spam or junk folder. Instead, engagement is now considered to be the top factor influencing where your email is delivered by all major mailbox providers. The lesson learned is that although subject lines may not have an impact on mailbox providers, they do have an impact on users. An intriguing subject line encourages opens and clicks, which in turn give mailbox providers good news. This way, if there is high engagement, your emails will probably continue to be delivered. Low level of engagement? Your emails might end up being junk or spam. It is crucial to regularly test and personalize subject lines for this reason.

The best way to combat such a spam filter is to create strong subject lines. Avoid using words like "guaranteed winner" and "free gift," as well as other well-known "spammy" terms in your subject lines that could make readers think you're trying to spam them. Writing a compelling subject line can make your emails seem reliable to recipients, increasing engagement. Another excellent way to attract readers' attention is by personalizing your subject line. Actually, subscribers are 26% more likely to open personalized emails.

Spam has been reported for your email

A subscriber will probably mark one of your emails as spam at some point. As a result, marketers need to monitor subscriber behavior to spot any potential problems. ISPs and email providers keep track of spam complaints. This indicates that future email campaigns may be delivered to the spam folder even if no one specifically marked your emails as spam.

Send emails only to recipients who have given permission

Users who receive emails without their permission are the ones who complain about spam the most. Sending emails to purchased lists will increase the likelihood that they will be marked as spam. Additionally, purchased lists are unethical. By using content upgrades, newsletter content, and giveaways, you can naturally expand your list. Even more, can be done by requiring double opt-in. Users will have to verify that they did, in fact, sign up to receive your emails to proceed.

Ensure that your content is relevant

Numerous factors can cause someone to mark one of your emails as spam. Content that is irrelevant is one such factor. Even though this may not fit the dictionary's definition of email spam, people will still mark it as spam to filter messages and clear up their inboxes.

This emphasizes how crucial it is to segment your email list and send pertinent content to the subscribers who will find it most interesting.

People don’t know who you are

Because they don't immediately recognize the sender, people may also mark your email as spam. Such a spam report can be thwarted by good design. Include other distinguishing elements in your email as well as a clear listing of your company name or logo at the top. This will make sure that recipients can tell right away who sent the email.

Your emails violate some policies

Governments all over the world have passed laws and regulations governing digital contact to lessen spam and increase consumer awareness of who is contacting them with marketing messages. These rules are referred to as CAN-SPAM in the United States. These guidelines must be followed by businesses that wish to market to email subscribers. For instance, your email must contain the physical address of your company. Customers need to know where you are, and your marketing campaign needs to make this information abundantly clear.

A prominent, simple-to-find opt-out button or link must also be added to each email. Additionally, there are guidelines for crafting deceptive or false headlines. Even though you might be hesitant to explicitly display an unsubscribe link, CAN-SPAM compliance is crucial. Offering excellent content as part of your email marketing campaigns will ensure that you don't experience a high rate of unsubscribe requests.

No one is opening your emails

Email service providers keep close track of which emails receive a lot of opens and which don't. Even if the recipient hasn't flagged the email as spam, emails that are immediately deleted or archived without being opened might be regarded as spam. This emphasizes even more how crucial it is to build an email subscriber list with engaged readers.

Low open rates could indicate that your subject lines need improvement. As we discussed above, you might lack personalization, the offer might not be compelling, or the subject line might read like spam. Your chance to pique subscribers' interest in you and persuade them to open your email is in the subject line.

Email service providers are less likely to automatically move your emails to the junk folder if they notice that your emails are being opened at a healthy rate. Monitoring open rates can show which subject lines resonate and which do not with subscribers. Simply by tracking the average over time and keeping an eye on your open rate as you send out more emails, you can see how your subscribers are responding to your subject lines.

Your email list is no longer valid

Your email subscribers may discontinue using their accounts, change their email addresses, or go offline over time. Whatever the reason, using outdated email addresses can result in emails being flagged as spam. Because of this, you should periodically check your email list for subscribers who aren't communicating with you. A quick way to determine who is still interested in your emails is to run an engagement campaign.

Typically, this is an offer that asks them to re-opt into your email list. To create more excitement, an engagement campaign may occasionally include a special offer. Subscribers can be removed from your email list if they do not participate in the engagement campaign. By eliminating inactive accounts and improving your open rate, you can concentrate more on subscribers who are still interested in your brand. This type of email list review should be conducted regularly to ensure the long-term health of your list.

Okay, okay. But how do you know if emails are going to spam in Outlook? We have some lifehacks for you. Keep reading to learn how to check if your emails are marked as spam.

How to check if my emails are marked as spam?

You are not alone in wondering why your emails are ending up in the spam folder, and you do have a problem. Using a trustworthy third-party tool to check your spam score is one of the easiest ways to determine whether your email is going to spam. Examining your open rates is also a good alternative.

Your emails are very likely going straight to the spam folder if your open rates are less than 15%. This is the time to evaluate your messages and look for ways to make them better and double-check the whole “Outlook emails going to spam” situation.

How to stop emails from going to spam in Outlook?

Sometimes, important emails can wind up in the spam or junk folder. Try the fixes below if an excessive number of important emails are ending up in the spam or junk mail. So, how to stop emails from going to spam in Outlook?

1. Designate a specific email as Not Spam or Junk

One of the simplest solutions is to mark an email as Not Spam/Junk or to mark the sender of an email as such. By doing this, you can signal to Outlook that an email is something you're interested in. Follow these steps to do that:

  • Visit the Spam email folder.
  • Choose the email that most interests you.
  • Go to the Home tab, select Junk, and then select Not junk from the list that appears.
  • A window labeled Mark as Not Junk will appear. Verify that emails from XXX@XXX.com are always trusted.

All done. Emails from the designated sender should now reach your inbox and avoid being filtered into the junk folder.

2. Add a sender to the list of trusted senders

  • Choose an email from the sender that piques your interest.
  • Click it with the right mouse button. Then select Junk > Never Block Sender from the menu that appears.
  • A fresh window displaying the message Your Safe Senders List now includes the sender of the chosen message.
  • Select OK.
  • From the Outlook menu's Junk email options, you can perform the same action. As an alternative, you can visit Outlook.com and select Settings > View all Outlook settings > Mail > Junk email. From there, you can add Safe senders and domains or Safe mailing lists.

3. Verify mailing regulations

  • Visit your Outlook profile.
  • Click Settings > View all Outlook settings in the top-right corner.

Outlook Settings

  • Outlook places emails in the junk folder.
  • Select Rules, then Mail in the newly opened window.
  • Inspect your Junk folder for any forwarding rules and remove any that apply to you.
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In some circumstances, a rule to forward emails to your Junk Email folder may have been created by you or anyone else with access to your account.

4. Develop a rule to get around the junk mail filter

  • Visit your Outlook profile.
  • Click Settings > View all Outlook settings in the top-right corner.

Outlook Settings (1)

  • Outlook places emails in the junk folder.
  • Select Mail in the new window, then Rules.outlook, and then add a new rule.

Outlook Add New Rule

  • Simply select Add new rule.

Outlook New Rule

  • Create a new rule in outlook and save.
  • Select Apply to all messages in the section labeled "Add a condition."
  • Select Move to and Inbox under Add an action.
  • Make up the rule.

This approach is not advised because it requires you to rely heavily on your desktop email client to properly sort through all of your emails, including junk and spam, which will be downloaded.

What to do if Outlook keeps sending your emails to junk?

Unfortunately, the above-mentioned methods don’t always work. That’s when you have to try something different. In light of this, we advise thinking about switching to a different email client, like Mailbird.

Both the downloadable client and the web client versions of this tool are equally effective at providing first-rate email services. The main user interface (UI) is made to combine the content of various accounts for better bulk management, and due to its flexibility, it can be tailored to suit any user's requirements. Considering how dependable their service is and how frequently they update their tools, Mailbird problems are practically nonexistent.

Wrapping up

So why are your emails ending up in Outlook's junk mail folder? This is the cry of countless email marketers who are frustrated because they know their content isn't spam. To protect email users from spam, however, algorithms and predictive technologies are in use.

These tools can also occasionally become a little too active. Consider the aforementioned advice if you notice that more of your emails are getting filtered into subscribers' spam folders rather than their inboxes. This will help you get better placement in their inboxes and check email delivery like a pro. And if you’ll still have deliverability issues, don’t hesitate to resort to relevant tools like Folderly.

Dariia Leshchenko
Dariia Leshchenko
Customer Success Manager
Dariia's decades in Email Deliverability and Sales have allowed her to successfully manage diverse business clients. For years now, she proves that there are no issues not to be fixed. Dariia speaks for the synergy of new-level email analysis technology and a human approach to improving email performance.