How to send effective bulk emails without getting marked as a spammer

As your list grows, more emails start to flow out of your server or autoresponder service. This can lead to trouble if the mail providers and ISPs suddenly start thinking that you’re a spammer. You could end up being a victim of your own success.

That’s why you need to know what to do so your bulk emails will continue to get through the filters. Here are four things you need to know.

1. Use double opt-in subscription

First, your email campaign needs to conform to laws such as the CAN-SPAM Act. One major part of this is confirming that you have permission that you can send unsolicited emails to your list. The best way to stay on the side of the law is to use a double opt-in subscription.

What this means is that after they give you your email address on your site, you ask them to confirm that the address is valid and they want to sign up for your list in an email afterward. If you use an autoresponder to automate follow-up emails, there is likely an option to set this up.

Switching to this option might reduce opt-in rates from the extra step, but the increased peace of mind will help and it will help you verify valid email addresses.

2. Avoid getting reported

Spam filters are rather sophisticated. It’s not just a filter based on words. Most bulk email senders use a dedicated IP address, so ISPs assign a reputation score to different addresses. Basic things they check for include the number of bounced emails, the number of messages reported as spam from an IP, and the presence of certain addresses used to trace spam.

You really want to avoid getting reported as a spammer by people on your list. That is a huge red flag that will get the attention of ISPs. If it is done too much, the IP you use to send emails could get blacklisted.

How do you avoid this? Three ways. First, give something of value in your email. Spam is more than just unsolicited email, it’s boring and useless unsolicited email. Every message should have a purpose and should be spaced apart enough so that the reader doesn’t feel like you’re flooding their inbox.

Second, if you promise to give them something for following through on a CTA, keep that promise. If you fail to follow through, or worse, do a bait-and-switch, you’ll offend your readers and could get a spam report.

Third, follow good email practices. All bulk emails you send should have a clear unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email so readers can leave your list. You should also have both plain-text and HTML versions of your emails. Not everyone prefers HTML emails. If there isn’t a plain-text option they’ll leave your list.

3. Start considering segmentation

Another way to avoid looking like a spammer is to use segmentation on your list. If you have a large email list, a single email type isn’t likely to engage with the entire audience. You need to write targeted emails to different segments of your list. This will improve open rates and send signals to the ISPs that people are reading your emails. It will also improve click-through rates.

How you segment your list will depend on your niche. It could be by interest, product, persona, purchase behavior, and more.

4. Check your reputation

Are you unsure whether or not your email IP is considered a good one? There are tools that you can use to check. In addition to checking your score, you can learn a lot more about how to run effective email campaigns through their blog posts and guides.

However, a good reputation is just one part of the equation. It makes you look good to the ISPs, but poor emails will turn off your customers. If you send too many unread emails over time, your score will go down. So keep improving your emails!

If you keep these rules in mind, your bulk emails will have a much better chance of making it through spam filters. If you are a new company and you haven’t built up a reputation yet, consider putting in a note in your funnel to ask people to check their spam folders for messages so you don’t miss signups.


Michael Habiger is a self-made marketing specialist, frontier of data-driven business and marketing with over 6 years of professional experience. Currently, Head of Marketing at FollowUpFred.