You have configured Exclaimer Cloud and are experiencing issues with emails being delivered to the Spam/Junk folder, or you are proactively looking to find out what can be done to prevent this issue.
There are many factors which can contribute to the spam classification of an email. You may find that a single factor causes a spam classification or a combination of multiple factors.
Some spam causes can be rectified through configuration or signature design changes, while others may require you to report false positives or contact antispam vendors.
How to prevent emails from being marked as Spam/Junk:
If you do not update your SPF record, your email headers will be marked with SPF: Fail or SPF: Softfail. Many antispam agents will immediately deliver emails that fail SPF checks to the spam folder.
You can easily look up your SPF record using a free online tool like MXToolbox's SPF Lookup.
- Enter the domain from which you are sending your email.
- Click SPF Record Lookup.
- The results will be displayed below.
This is your SPF record.
- Check that your SPF record includes the Exclaimer Cloud's SPF include mechanism include:spf.<region code>.exclaimer.net
Where <region code> is replaced with the region code for the subscription (see How to check your region code).
- If your SPF record does not have the Exclaimer Cloud's SPF include mechanism, please ensure this is updated as soon as possible to avoid problems with getting a bad IP address reputation.
For more information on updating your SPF record, please see How to update the Sender Policy Framework (SPF)?
Validity issues in the SPF record can lead to SPF: Fail, SPF: Softfail and SPF: Permerror in your email headers. Many antispam agents will immediately deliver emails that have SPF failures or errors to the spam folder.
You can easily check your SPF record's validity using a free online tool like MXToolbox's SPF Lookup.
- Enter the domain from which you are sending your email.
- Click SPF RECORD LOOKUP.
The results will be displayed below.
- Check that your SPF record passes all of the tests.
- If any tests fail, click More Info for guidance on how to correct the fault.
Some common spam contributors:
Avoid doing any of the following:
Use the "fax:" prefix for fax number hyperlinks.
The fax prefix on fax/telephone numbers was deprecated in 2004 and is known to cause emails to be classified as spam.
Leaving incomplete hyperlinks in the signature
Having incomplete hyperlinks like https://exclaimer in the signature can cause spam classifications and worse!
Using the HTTP protocol when HTTPS is available
You're much less likely to have an email classified as spam if you use the more secure link.
Use redirected, shortened and excessively long URLs
A link is much less likely to be classified as spam if it leads to exactly where it appears to go.
Avoid using punctuation and symbols where they wouldn't normally be, using numbers or symbols in replacement for letters
Such as avoiding:
- Click_____________Here ^^
- B0nu$ C0ntent
Please don't use particularly spammy phrases. Hubspot have a great list of these here: https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30684/the-ultimate-list-of-email-spam-trigger-words.aspx
Avoid using images that contain words. These will increase the spam score.
You may accidentally create multiple groups/tables while creating your signature design. These can lead to an excessive amount of pointless HTML coding.
An exaggerated example of too many tables:
Try to keep things tidy within the signature design.
Tip! Dragging this group of fields outside these tables will automatically clear the unused groups.
Avoid using anything other than padding to create space within your signature design, and then keep padding to a minimum. See How to use padding to space the signature elements.
Ideally, you should stay within 30% of the space taken up by images.
- Content is detected as spam
- Authentication checks such as SPF fail or error
- Recipients mark the email as spam
- The recipient is invalid
- Bouncebacks occur
If you end up with a bad IP address reputation, it can be an unpleasant task to deal with, so it's essential to keep on top of it.
The best way of troubleshooting Spam issues:
If your emails end up in spam, it can be a daunting task to try to resolve it; however, you can follow a straightforward process to eliminate possible causes.
- In Outlook, you can view the message headers by opening an email in its own window and then navigating to File >Properties.
- In Outlook on the Web (OWA), you can view the message headers by clicking the '...' button and then navigating to View > View message details.
- In Gmail, you can view the message headers by clicking the '…' button and then clicking Show original.
Examine the Authentication-Results, Received-SPF and other similar headers for failures or errors for SPF, DKIM, DMARC and ARC.
NOTE: Exclaimer Cloud only requires that you update your SPF record. If you see Authentication failures other than SPF, it is unlikely to be related to your Exclaimer Cloud configuration.
CAUTION! While online header analysers such as MXToolbox might seem very helpful and more accessible to interpret than plain-text headers, they can be prone to overzealous warnings about DKIM results.
These tools aren't well-suited to interpreting DKIM results after the fact. The bottom line is: If the plain-text headers show a DKIM: pass, that's how the mail server saw it too, and it's not a contributor to the spam score.
- If you have configured server-side signatures for your subscription, it's wise to establish whether the additional routing to Exclaimer Cloud servers and back into your mail servers is a factor in email spam classification.
The best way to do this is to stop your Exclaimer Cloud signatures from applying to a single sender that you can test with; then send an email that routes through Exclaimer Cloud but doesn't receive a signature.
If the email is delivered successfully, you know the signature content is the problem.
If the email is still classified as spam, you know there is an email routing issue.
- If you have only configured client-side signatures for your subscription - your emails aren't routed to Exclaimer Cloud, and the signature content is the likely cause of the spam classification.
You should exclude a user or temporarily disable the mail flow/content compliance rule in Exchange Online or Google Workspace. This will allow you to confirm whether the Exclaimer Cloud mail routing is definitely the cause of the spam classification.
In many cases, the issue will turn out to be an overzealous antispam filter giving false positive results; however, it's best to raise a ticket with Exclaimer Support for further guidance.
Unfortunately, anything in an email can get classified as spam, so it's good to have a methodical approach to troubleshooting.
Check for and resolve the following common contributors as per the sections above:
- Bad hyperlinks
- Excessive tables and whitespace
- A high image-to-text ratio
- If your emails are still marked as spam after checking the common contributors, remove all hyperlinks from your signature and then retest.
- If your emails are still marked as spam after removing all hyperlinks, remove all images and then retest.
- If your emails are still marked as spam after removing all hyperlinks and images, remove the remaining parts of the signature line by line. Test each time until you establish exactly which part of the signature is causing the spam classification.
- Once you establish the part of your signature causing the spam classification, try inserting that content directly into your mail client (in the body of the email and not in the signature) to see if that still causes an issue.
You may need to contact the email provider if you find that they are blocking content in your emails.
If you need help with some content causing spam in your Exclaimer Cloud signatures, please don't hesitate to raise a ticket with Exclaimer Support for further guidance.