Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) is an email service that allows you to send marketing messages, transactional emails, bulk communications, or other high-quality content to your customers.
In fact, Netflix, Reddit, and Duolingo are some of the popular platforms that use the Amazon SES to increase email deliverability, drive end-user engagement, or help millions of people learn a new language.
This was based on the featured companies and brands on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) website. AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon.
But as much as marketers benefit from using Amazon SES, others encounter problems in the email delivery and their message does not reach their subscribers’ inboxes.
If this happens to you too, don’t worry. In this blog, we are sharing with you everything about Amazon SES emails going to the spam folder instead of the inbox.
In addition, you will learn the simple solutions and the best tools to use to avoid the spam folder!
Understand Why Your Amazon SES Emails Land in the Spam Folder
Email deliverability – the ability to deliver emails to your subscribers’ inboxes – depends on various factors and is a joint responsibility of the Amazon SES and your sending program.
In most cases, your Amazon SES emails will be delivered successfully to your recipients, especially if they’re expecting them. However, in some cases, a delivery may fail or the recipient you’re sending may not want to receive the message.
You may encounter obstacles with your email delivery if your email bounces for invalid addresses, you’re sending to inactive email addresses or spam traps, your email generates recipient complaints, or your content contains spammy fingerprints.
What happens if you send an email to an address that’s on the global suppression list?
The Amazon SES global suppression list comprises recipient addresses that Amazon SES blocks because it caused a hard bounce for an Amazon SES sender.
The Amazon Web Services put this in place to make Amazon SES more intuitive to its users. Even so, Amazon SES will treat the email as a hard bounce, and just like any hard bounce, each suppression list bounce will count towards your bounce rate as well as your sending quota.
[You may also like: How to Improve and Maintain your Email Deliverability]
The Keys to Great Email Deliverability
So, what will you do to prevent your Amazon SES emails from going to spam? Your first step is to authenticate your email.
We encourage you to authenticate your email because when you do, you’re telling the email providers that you are truly who you claim and say you are.
Lack of email authentication, like Sender Policy Framework (SPF) or DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) can lead to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) flagging your Amazon SES email as spam.
When you authenticate your email, you are proving to the email providers that you are indeed the owner of such an account and your email communications or transactional marketing messages have not been modified during transit.
Meanwhile, if you’re using your own email server, putting the records in place while sending emails can spell a difference. Using the Amazon SES makes the process a whole lot easier because it already has an easy DKIM feature.
Speaking of the DKIM feature, it makes the configurations automatic, even behind the scenes.
To learn more about authenticating your email in Amazon SES, check out this guideline from AWS.
Another important mechanic that will make scammers’ lives difficult is the Reverse DNS. This technique was mentioned in In a Stack Overflow forum – a Q&A platform for professional and enthusiast programmers and with user contributions licensed under CC By-. To follow this Stack answer, follow the link here.
Setting reverse DNS for your email means that you will have all the domain names for all IP addresses you have. This will work as a spam filter by ensuring that the IP you use is corresponding to the domain name.
A spammer can spoof an authentic email address or falsify an email header to make it appear that it originates from another source. That’s why Amazon SES requires its users to verify their email addresses as it will help protect their sending identity.
To do this, use the Amazon SES API or the Amazon SES console. Some factors involved in the verification process include the identity that you use in the “From” field, “Sender,” “Source,” or “Return-Path.”
Keep in mind that email addresses are case sensitive and that the verification status of one email address is not the same for each region. It’s simply because Amazon SES has endpoints in several AWS regions.
So, if you’re planning to send emails from the same identity but in more than one region, it is important to verify such an identity in each region.
An email list cleaning is important to keep your database free of unwanted contacts, which may eventually taint your IP reputation and damage the relationship of subscribers who are really interested in receiving the content from you.
But before you purge unresponsive contacts from your Amazon SES email list, define first the timeframe that will make sense to your business. If the recipient does not interact with your email within such a time frame, it is a wise move to stop emailing them.
Another good reason why you should remove the non-engagers is that you may be sent to a spam trap, which, by the way, is a silent reputation trap too!
If you continue to email to spam traps, your emails will not just end up in the spam folder, the worst that can happen is that your domain or IP address will be blacklisted and the AWS could even suspend your email service.
Double Opt-in Rather than Single Opt-in
The tactic shared above (maintaining list hygiene) would be a great complement to double opt-in. It is a subscription process whereby a new email address will be added to a mailing list only if the email address owner clicks the confirmation link in the activation process.
This helps you validate the email before adding it to your AWS SES list.
Many email service providers, including Amazon SES, use content filtering to know if the incoming emails are spam. These filters look for questionable content and will automatically block an email if it appears like spam.
At best, you can use a mail tester to check your newsletter’s quality and spam score prior to sending.
Various email service providers have different email sending limits. A free Gmail email, for instance, allows 100 messages maximum via SMTP and 500 emails via browser. For Office365, it allows up to 10,000 recipients per day.
If the email provider detects sudden spikes in the rate or volume of emails, it may suspect it is coming from a spammer and block that email. That’s why the Amazon SES account also set sending quotas for its users to restrict the number of emails received within the 24-hour period.
Sending high-quality emails from your AWS account lessens the risk of termination.
And the effectiveness of your email will be dependent on the effort you put into your message. It’s not a place to ramble (with attention spans already at all-time lows). So, your best approach is to make your message as concise as possible.
To get the maximum benefit of your campaign more than just avoiding the spam folders, it is important to pinpoint the audience in your sales funnel. That way, you can determine the type of content to send. It could be a:
- prospecting email,
- welcome email,
- lead nurturing email,
- promotional email,
- transactional email,
- cart-abandonment email,
- post-purchase email, or
- branding email.
An ISP assigns organizations an email sender reputation or score, which is a crucial component of email deliverability. Achieving a higher email sender reputation score means that your emails are more likely to reach the inboxes of your recipients.
To build your reputation with Amazon SES, you need to send high-quality content to your recipients. Over time, your reputation becomes more trusted and Amazon SES will even increase your sending quota.
On the other hand, excessive spam complaints and bounces negatively impact your sender’s reputation and may cause the platform to reduce your account’s email sending quotas. Worse, it could terminate your account.
To avoid such from happening, test your emails first using a Mailbox Simulator. This will not count toward your complaint and bounce metrics but you will have the idea about your maximum throughput without having the need to create a fictitious email address just to see how your mail looks.
If you want to get ISP feedback quickly, you can also check out Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS).
Reach Your Subscribers’ Inboxes
Amazon Simple Email Service is one of the most popular AWS services nowadays. With it, you can send your email marketing campaigns without maintaining your email servers. It is easy to use, cost-effective, and scalable.
In order to avoid landing in a junk folder, you need to do more than just verify your domain.
What we shared above about Amazon SES emails going to spam may have hopefully given you insights about the technical details on how you can avoid the spam folder and increase your email deliverability.
InboxAlly’s email deliverability software can help deliver your message to the primary inbox from the very start! Book a Live Demo today to find out how.