Stay out of Spam: Top Deliverability Tips

The ominous Spam folder. We all have one, and we all dread seeing our own content end up in it. So how do we actually stop - or better yet - prevent our emails from landing in there in the first place? We’ll break it down for you and give you 7 tips to maximize your inbox delivery.

First things first, let’s get a couple definitions out of the way: 

  • Delivery vs. Deliverability:

    Email delivery is as simple as: can the contact accept your message? Does their email actually exist? If the answer is yes, you’ve got email delivery! That’s step one. Deliverability is taking it a step further: once the email is delivered, which inbox is it going to end up in? This is the key component that we focus on when we start talking about staying out of the spam folder. 
  • Sending Reputation:

    There are entities called Internet Service Providers (ISP), examples of which are Spectrum, Xfinity, Cox and so on. These ISPs assign a score to each domain that sends emails. It is literally a score from 0 to 100. When your score is higher, the ISP is more likely to deliver your messages into the primary inbox. The higher the sending score, the better. 

Now you may have just caught on to something there... Scores are domain wide. That means everyone on your domain shares a sending reputation. For example, that means in our own case, our sending score is impacted by everyone who uses the domain And likewise for you! You likely use a domain that is your brokerage’s domain. This means that your sending behavior impacts everyone else at the brokerage and vice versa. Usually this is a good thing because it creates balance. But it’s important to remember when you start to think strategically about your sending reputation. This is a team sport! 

If you want to ensure you’re maximizing your chances of ending up in the primary inbox or have noticed that sometimes your emails land in spam, try some of the following tips:

  1. Segment your Contacts

    The best service you can do for yourself and for your contacts is to segment your database! If you’re managing your contacts within ActivePipe, that means tags and audiences. If you’re using a CRM - same idea, just possibly different names for it (keywords, groups, stages, etc). This helps you make sure you’re sending relevant content to the right people. First time home buyers get content relevant to their needs, vacation home buyers get info fitting their needs, and so on. Your contacts will feel more listened to, and will be more likely to engage with your emails. In turn, this not only helps your deliverability (due to the higher opens and clicks) but it also helps your business. The better aligned you are with your contacts’ needs, the more likely they are going to go from being your contact, to being your client. 

  2. Avoid Spam Trigger Words

    Good news: this one is pretty straight forward. There are a handful of words that will be more likely to be flagged as spam, some of which are: “Free”, “Earn”, “Opportunity”, “Cash”, and “Refinance”. These are especially important to avoid in subject lines. Not only the actual words included can be triggers but the formatting itself can be too. Excessive capitalization and punctuation is much more likely to be flagged. For example, if you ever feel the need to include 3 exclamation points, resist the urge! We promise, one will do the trick.

  3. Maintain a Good Text to Image Ratio

    This is one of the key culprits we see most often. Especially for those who really like a custom look and feel to their emails. If you upload a lot of graphics into your emails, be sure you’re still including some text boxes as well to break them up. If you ever go higher on the image ratio than 50% images/50% text, you are putting yourself at risk for spam filtering.

  4. Avoid Purchased Lists

    At this point, this mostly goes unsaid, but it still pops up every now and again. Do NOT purchase contact lists and upload them into ActivePipe. This is a recipe for immediately being tagged as spam. Your contacts should come from people you have genuinely already met or spoken with, or from legitimate lead generation.

  5. Understand your sending reputation

    If you’re curious about what your sending reputation actually is, you can check it! Similar to a credit score, you have a sending score. There are numerous services out there to check and monitor your domain’s reputation. We’ve had clients use before and report it being useful.

  6. Personalize your message

    A we’ve discussed before, personalizing your messaging is key to your success. This is closely linked to tip #1, but takes it a step further to emphasize not only making sure you're personalizing to your contacts needs, but literally personalizing with greetings, and also personalizing to your story. Your messaging should be unique because you are unique! Read more about this in another blog: 4 Tips To Stand Out From The Crowd By Personalizing Your Emails

  7. Ask us about SmartSend

    ActivePipe has an industry one of a kind tool to help. We don’t believe in immediately blacklisting users who are struggling with deliverability like some other email marketing platforms. We believe in educating and helping you. That’s why we developed SmartSend. It’s a quick way to recover your sending reputation. You can learn more about it here, or always reach out to us at

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Elizabeth Gardner
Elizabeth Gardner
As a Customer Success Manager, Elizabeth is on the front line with ActivePipe customers. She spends her time consulting with brokerages all across the US to maximize their engagement strategy. She has a passion for (and track record of) helping clients crush their goals. When she’s not empowering customers with creative solutions, you can find her hiking, biking, snuggling her pup, or working on her next MBA class.