How to keep your outbound emails out of spam

Senior Designer

After spending the time required to gather requirements and work on an email design outlined in Part’s 1 & 2 of our ‘Understand email design’ mini-blog series, it’s important we adhere to a few technical considerations so users actually see our email and it isn’t mistakenly labeled as spam. Here are 9 tips to ensure your email lands inside the intended inbox:


  • Use enough text in the body of the message so subscribers get a sense of the message content whether images are on or off. Many email clients have images turned off by default, so an image heavy email with little text may not get a good subscriber response.


  • When considering how the email will be viewed without images, alt text should be added to images so the email still makes sense. We need to either provide this or ensure the developer is adding .


  • Favor a heavier use of images for emails targeted at a mobile viewership, since they make great tap targets. 


  • There’s no one ratio for how much image to text will result in your email getting caught in spam filters, answers vary but most seem to agree around 60-80% text. There’s an odd exception to this when text meets or exceeds 500 characters, once this is met it doesn’t seem to matter how many images you add.


  • Never use generic link shorteners in your emails like bitly. Spammers use these to hide dodgy links, so they might get the email flagged as spam. However, if you do need to use them, we recommend you use one that allows you to brand the links that you shorten.


  • Include a design for mobile as the majority of emails are now opened on a mobile device, so the likelihood of users marking your email as SPAM will increase if the email does not render properly.


  • Ensure titles, headings and content copy are meaningful and do not include spam words like “free”, “buy now”, “click here”… And excessive punctuation is avoided!!!!!


  • There needs to be an opt-out message at the bottom


  • Similarly, a “view in browser” message should be included at the top


Check out our Understanding Email Part 1 & Part 2 to find out more about how to create the perfect email.


Struggling with getting started, we’ve created a free design checklist to guide you through each step of the way, download link below.


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