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Understanding Email Bounces and Avoiding Spam Filters
Understanding Email Bounces and Avoiding Spam Filters

Learn what goes into bounced emails and how spam is identified

Aamir Peeran avatar
Written by Aamir Peeran
Updated over a week ago

Understanding Bounced Emails:

When sending emails, you will often times encounter bounced emails. Bounced emails come in two forms, Hard Bounces and Soft Bounces.

Hard Bounce:

Hard Bounces occur when the recipient email address does not exist, the domain name does not exist, the email has been shut down, or the recipient email server has blocked delivery. (More on avoiding this below)

Soft Bounce:

Soft Bounces can occur when the recipient inbox is full, the email is too large, the email is image-only, the email has been flagged for certain keywords (phishing and spam phrases), or your sending domain has not been authenticated.

How to prevent bounces:

The best advice to help prevent bounces is to verify the email you are sending to. In addition, it is important to make sure that you and your team are not sending large amounts of emails to the same company in short periods of time. This can lead to the email server blocking your companies emails and will result in soft bounces (and being labelled as spam).

Avoiding Spam Filters:

When using Groove, it is important for your organization to follow the right procedures to not have your emails identified as spam.

What is spam?

Spam can be defined as unsolicited and irrelevant emails that are sent out in bulk to a large amount of recipients. The definition of spam is vague in nature and can differ with each organization and person, so it is crucial to understand the underlying laws and regulations regarding this topic.

The US passed the the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which outlines the practices you need to take in order to be compliant legally when sending commercial emails.

Some of the main points covered in the act are:

  • To never use deceptive headers, from names, reply-to addresses, or subject lines.

  • Always providing an unsubscribe link.

  • The unsubscribe link must work for at least 30 days after sending.

  • You must include your physical mailing address.

How to avoid spam filters?

Spam filters act as another barrier to existing spam detection by an email client. These are set up by the companies IT admins and take into account a number of criteria determined by them to deem emails as relevant to their employees.

The restrictions themselves will vary depending on the company and their specific policies, so there is no surefire way to avoid a spam filter for all emails. However, there are some best practices that you and your company to engage in, in order to make sure you are avoiding the spam folder as much as possible.

Best Practices (at the organization level):

  1. Set an email throttle at the team level so reps are limited in how many emails they can send per day. The fewer emails that a rep sends out, the less likely they are to be marked by popular spam filters as a questionable sender.

  2. Insert an unsubscribe link at the team level. This will assure each email sent from flows has an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email for certain teams. Gsuite lists this as a way to improve email deliverability.

  3. Increase the buffer time between emails sent from a flow. This is something we can do on the backend that will slow the rate at which emails are sent from flow. When emails aren’t sent out as quickly, they more closely mimic a normal email rather than an email blast, so it will not get marked as spam as frequently.

  4. Create a custom domain. This can be especially helpful when sending emails that include links so that they match the sender domain.

Best Practices (at the individual level):

  1. Personalize your emails. By including the prospects name in the To: field and within the email too, it will show spam filters that you know the person you are emailing. In addition, the more personalization you have, the less likely you will be flagged for a bulk-sent email.

  2. Avoid spam-like email subject lines. This can be done by keeping subject lines shorter when possible, avoiding misleading subjects, avoiding anything in all CAPS or with odd characters etc.

  3. Avoid spam-like email bodies. Be mindful of the number of links, images, bold type, and the amount of formatting in general.

  4. Send emails from a trustworthy name. You will have an easier time not being flagged as spam if you are sending emails from ( than from (

  5. Don't email people who have repeatedly bounced. If emails are being Hard Bounced, then the email has most likely been shut down. These emails will never successfully deliver and your Internet Service Provider will reevaluate your email reputation.

  6. Don’t email blast many leads/contacts from the same company in the same day. Their server may quickly detect this and mark this activity as spam.

  7. Notes on Composing Emails: Don't have too many exclamation points, avoid large attachments, avoid certain attachment types like: .exe, .swf, etc., and don't use spam trigger words and phishing phrases.

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