My emails are going to spam


I have a handful of website in the sub-prime space, namely payday loan and credit cards. We were sending out emails that followed this basic template:

<a href=""><img src="#"></a><br>
<a href=""><img src="#"></a><br>
<a href=""><img src="#"></a><br>
<p>XYZ Company<br>Address<br><a href="">Opt-Out Link</a></p>

This template used to do really well. We were mailing from Get Response and Aweber. The problem we kept running into was getting our accounts shut down. I don’t understand why this kept happening, our SPAM rate was very very low, like around 0.1%-0.05% on both ESPs.

The second issue was how the template would initially do well, then progressively do worse over time. Even when we swapped out the links and the image…same thing. Open rates would go from like 45% on day one, down to like 20% on day 2 and then by the end of the week, we were lucky to get 1% open rates. The list size was roughly 50,000-100,000, depending on the ESP that we were using.

I should mention that we did try changing our creative over to a text-based creative. Which initially did well, but the same thing happened. We were generating a lot of inbound calls, but slowly, we found our emails going to spam.

After going through my list, I found that the bulk of it was Gmail, something like 80%. If I can’t inbox consistently with Gmail, I may as well just forget it!

I’m trying to understand the issue. Is it the IPs, the domains, the subject lines, the from name, the from email or the content. There has to be something. Why would it work for a few days then stop working!?

Somebody else has to be having the same issue. Any insights or anything tangible that I can do to get this working? I know my data is good, I just can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong and it’s extremely frustrating!


This is a very common issue that we see quite often. You are on the right track, part of your creative (potentially all of it) is causing Gmail to flag your emails.

Let’s do some basic diagnosis.

Can you get a plain-text email to inbox, with no tracking links and no images?

If your plain-text emails are going to spam, it’s safe to say that your domain reputation is suffering (if your ESP has you on a good IP range). Domain reputation is something that we can help you with here at Inbox Ignite, please read this article: Gmail Postmaster Tools: Domain Reputation and IP Reputation

If your plain-text emails are going to the inbox, slowly start introducing pieces of your original creative. Here’s the method that I generally try to follow:

  1. Change the subject line, send a test email. If it inboxes, continue
  2. Change the text content (no phone numbers, names/signature or addresses), send a test email. If it inboxes, continue.
  3. Add in your CAN-SPAM compliant address into the footer, send a test email. If it inboxes, continue.
  4. Add your name/signature (if applicable), send a test email. If it inboxes, continue.
  5. Add your phone-number (if applicable), send a test email. If it inboxes, continue.
  6. Add your open-tracking link, send a test email. If it inboxes, continue.
  7. Add in your links, send a test email. If it inboxes, all is well!

You’ll find out what caused the issue and what needs to be changed. More often than not, it’s something as simple as the phone number. This methodology is extremely effective to diagnose deliverability issues.

Regarding your second issue. I believe that your problem is stemming from part of your creative not jiving with Gmail for whatever reason. You might want to dial your numbers back and try to only re-engage openers/clickers. Be careful with openers, your opener file will also have complainers in it. It’s generally a good rule of thumb to only go after clickers in the early stages.

You might want to re-think your marketing a bit. Scale back your numbers per ESP and have more ESP accounts. While this might seem more difficult, you are effectively lowering your chance for failure. Typically, you want to run your new/questionable data through one ESP exclusively and then run your good data through several smaller accounts. This will maximize your open rates.

I hope this is of some help. If you haven’t already, you can reach out to our team to see if Inbox Ignite is a good fit for your business. From the sounds of things, at least at this preliminary stage, it sounds like we could help you out. Our solution integrates with any platform.