If you’ve been blogging for a while and find that you have a crowd of readers who trust you, you might eventually start writing to some brands you love about sponsored posts or affiliate opportunities. And when you reach out to them and you hear nothing, it’s disappointing. It feels like they don’t want to work with you because maybe your blog is not good enough yet, or because this isn’t something they’re interested in.
But what if they never replied because they never saw your email in the first place? What if you ended up in their spam folder, and they never check it? You’ve missed a huge opportunity before it even got a chance to be one!
Why You Could End Up in the Spam Folder
When you created your blog, you probably also created a new email address to go with that blog. Whether you used a free email service (like Gmail: email@example.com) or created your own email using your domain name (like ours: firstname.lastname@example.org), there are a few reasons why your emails might not be reaching their destination.
1) You’re using a low-quality shared server
If you created an email address from your domain name, there’s a high chance you’re using your website server to receive and send those emails. This means that if you have a hosting plan with SiteGround or Bluehost, you might be using their server to send/receive your emails. Even if you get your emails in your old Gmail inbox or have a separate software, what it means is that you’re using servers that aren’t optimized for emails.
Spam filters are super sensitive these days. And even though you try your best to avoid them, if you’re sharing space with spammy people, you’ll end up in spam too. You don’t really know what other people who are sharing your server are doing, so there’s a high chance you’ll end up in spam jail without you knowing.
What’s the fix?
Instead, invest $5/month in a paid email service, like G Suite. Google’s servers are optimized for email sending, meaning if someone is spammy, they might kick them out and make sure to restore their server’s reputation. SiteGround and other hosts won’t do that, because their primary goal is hosting your website. Not your emails.
Isn’t $5/month better than never getting paid opportunity? I definitely think so.
2) You haven’t authenticated your domain name properly
If you’re already using G Suite to send your emails, there’s a chance they still end up in spam. If you haven’t connected your domain name properly to G Suite, they might not view your emails as being “secure” enough to send them. There are a lot of things you can do to make sure people don’t send emails pretending to be you (that’s what most of the really bad spam is) and Google wants you to follow those rules. It can get really techy at this step but don’t get too overwhelmed. Most of this can be fixed by just copying/pasting a few lines of code into the right box.
What’s the fix?
Check the score of your domain here: https://toolbox.googleapps.com/apps/checkmx/ Just enter your domain name and you’ll get a checklist of things you can improve! Google comes with a lot of helpful articles on how to fix those problems. You’ll need to make sure you have access to your cPanel and go to the “Advanced DNS Zone Editor” to paste a lot of the code.
Having a hard time with this step? Let me know in the comment which problem you’re trying to fix from the Toolbox website and I’ll try to help you out 🙂
3) You’re sending content that might sound spammy
When it comes to the content of your emails, there are sentences and words that Google (and other spam filters) really don’t like. Consider that this also applies to the title of your email, so pick it carefully! Just make sure that everything sounds natural and that you’re not asking for something that could sound spammy.
Linking to a website can also backfire if that website has been blacklisted by spam filters (meaning spam filters consider the content of that website to be spammy). I remember one day emailing with a client and sending her a link to the Gravatar website (so she could remember how to change her picture on her blog) and I ended up in her spam folder even though we’d been emailing a lot already… So be careful which links you send in emails, as they might backfire.
What’s the fix?
Take a look at this list of spammy words from Hubspot and compare it with your emails. Are you using words like “Free”, “Cash”, “Profits”, etc? When it comes to links, consider just typing the name of the company (or pasting the URL without linking it) so that you don’t get caught by spam filters. You can also check if your website is blacklisted here.
4) You sent too many emails at the same time
Especially if you’re repeating the same content, there’s a chance you might get blocked by Google if you’re sending too many emails at once. Consider that this applies more to automated processes (if you’re using a software to send emails on your behalf) but still, it’s good to leave some time between each email (or just make sure you don’t send too many in one day).
What’s the fix?
Make sure you switch up the content a bit! Whether that’s just replacing the person’s name, or adding a relevant sentence about the brand to each email. Also, limit yourself to sending so many emails in one day. Think 20-30 outreach emails max. Consider that past that point, you might start to make mistakes anyway (like not replacing the person’s name when you should have!) and can try again the next day.
5) You’ve been marked as “spam” in the past
If you’re using the same email to send your newsletter, or have done a lot of cold emails to people who are really far from your niche (or sounded spammy in your pitch), there’s a chance someone hit the “spam” button on you. Unfortunately, that tarnishes your reputation with spam filters, so you’re more likely to end up in everyone’s spam folder.
What’s the fix?
Well, you can’t undo someone marking you as spam, but you can make sure they don’t use that in the future! Make sure you’re sending interesting content to your newsletter and that if you email someone or reach out to them, your email is personalized to them. Following-up if you don’t hear back can be a good thing if your first email ended up in spam, but don’t overdo it either. If you send more than two emails and haven’t heard back, there’s a chance they’ll hit the “spam” button on your third try.
Bonus tip: why brands might not be reaching out to you
As a business owner who works with a lot of bloggers and sometimes reaches out to them, I’ve seen this too many time.
Make sure your contact form works.
You don’t know how silly it is to try to get in touch with someone and their contact form doesn’t work and they don’t have their email address listed anywhere. Even if I could get in touch with you via your Facebook page or Instagram DMs, the chances of me checking those are low.
So make sure to test out your contact form, and if you’re not sure it’ll always work, add your email address somewhere on the page.
That way, you can make sure that you’ll get all the opportunities coming your way!
(Oh, and check your spam folder from time to time!)
Let me know if the comments if there’s anything you have a hard time with! I’d love to help you get your emails figured out 🙂
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