ITS Service Desk

How To Send Email That Doesn't Look Like Spam

So, emails that you send are being flagged as spam; or Google is inserting warning messages in them, causing concern for your recipients. What can you do?

Well, if you're looking for a simple solution, you're going to be disappointed. This isn't simple.

If you remember nothing, remember this:

When deciding what is spam and what isn't, the power is in the hands of the recipients, not the sender.

In other words, you can send a perfectly simple and legitimate email to an email list or to individual recipients, and while most of them will read it and appreciate the info, a handful might also mark it as spam; you can't stop them from doing it. So the best thing you can do is send email that doesn't look like spam. How do you do that? Let's start with this simple Google search:

≫ how to send email that doesn't look like spam

We provide this search because the answer to this question is always changing. The search results may help provide current answers to the question.

Some Tips

But we can offer a few simple tips to help you:

  • Don't use salesy sounding phrases.
  • Don't try to draw people into an email by focusing on a contest. If your prominent message is "win prizes", that won't work too well. Instead, get to the real point of the email, then advise the recipient that they are eligible for a drawing, etc.
  • Use full sentences and proper grammar.
  • Don't use multiple exclamation points in a row when one will do.
  • Make sure your message contains more text than images.
  • Use SNC resources:
    • Don't link to a web site that looks like the SNC web site but isn't actually the SNC web site.
    • When asking for interaction, avoid asking the recipient to contact someone outside the college (via email, phone, etc).
  • Make sure the name of the sender is very clear. Avoid confusion about who actually sent an email.

But we should be clear, these tips are not foolproof. They are just that, tips. Again, the control is in the hands of the recipients. If you want some real examples of what to avoid, just look at all the messages in your Spam folder.

The more you make your messages seem simple and legitimate, the less chance there is that your recipients will mark it as spam.

Sender Reputation

Google also considers the reputation of the sender. In other words, if the email address that you're sending from has a reputation of sending spam (based on the actions of the recipients), this will negatively affect your future ability to send any email message without having it automatically marked as spam. Brand new email addresses also start out as having no reputation. Therefore, you have to send many legitimate messages, not marked as spam by the recipients, in order to earn a positive reputation.

Additional Advice

Given everything offered in this article, if you'd still like some advice related to a specific email that you've sent (or are about to send), we're happy to offer it. Even though we can't guarantee a simple black and white solution, we can offer advice based on our experiences. Just send a request to

Message Headers

When looking into a specific email message, we often need to see the headers of the email. If we've asked you to send us the headers of an email, here's how you can do that:

  1. While viewing the email message, click on the small three-dot menu in the upper right.
  2. Select "Show original". This will show you two windows, one at the top named "Original Message", and another at the bottom with what might look like gobbledygook.
  3. Copy everything in the lower window, paste it into an email message and send it to us.
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