Spam Traps: What are they? How can you avoid them?
Spam traps are fake email addresses that trigger email providers to flag your emails as spam. Whether you send cold emails or do email marketing, landing in spam can ruin your campaign results. The best way to land in your audience’s inbox and get your emails opened is to avoid spam traps in the first place.
In this article, you’ll find:
→ how spam traps affect your deliverability
→ how you can identify spam traps in your email list
→ 5 email best practices to prevent spam traps from entering your email list
What are Spam Traps?
Spam traps are email addresses that don't belong to real people but are used by email providers to identify spammers. If your emails land in spam traps, it makes email providers suspicious and can ruin your sender reputation.
There are 3 types of spam traps:
1. Pristine Spam Traps
Pristine spam traps are email addresses set up by email providers only to catch spammers.
Pristine spam traps usually look like this:
2. Recycled Spam Traps
Recycled spam traps are email addresses abandoned by their owners and later converted into spam traps by email providers.
Recycled spam traps usually have real names:
- email@example.com (abandoned and converted to a spam trap by Hotmail)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (abandoned and converted to a spam trap by Yahoo)
3. Typo Spam Traps
Typo spam traps are addresses created to catch spammers who buy their email lists online and don't verify them for typos before sending.
Typo spam traps can look like this:
- email@example.com (a common typo for firstname.lastname@example.org)
- email@example.com (a common typo for firstname.lastname@example.org)
How do spam traps affect your deliverability?
Since email providers use spam traps to identify spammers, landing in these traps can ruin your sender reputation. It tells email providers you're sending emails at scale without checking your email list. This could land all your emails in your audience’s spam folder or get you blocked (blacklisted) from sending emails.
How to know if your email list has spam traps?
Here are 3 ways you can find out if your email list has spam traps:
1. Check your email metrics:
Your email campaigns’ performance will tell you more about where your emails are landing and if there are any issues with your deliverability.
Here are 3 signs that your emails might be landing in spam traps:
- High bounce rates: When you send an email to a spam trap, it could bounce back as undeliverable. A high bounce rate (> 5%) could show that your list has spam traps.
- Low engagement rates: Spam traps are inactive email addresses and won’t engage with your emails. Low open rates (< 45%) could also show that your emails are landing in spam traps.
- High spam complaint rate: Spam traps are designed to catch spammers, so they will likely trigger spam complaints from email service providers. Your spam complaint rate should be less than 0.08%
2. Verify your email list
Verifying your email list using an email verification tool like Bouncer or Debounce is a reliable way to check for spam traps. These tools can identify fake or inactive email addresses, including spam traps, by checking a database of known spam traps.
3. Monitor your deliverability score
5 ways to get rid of spam traps from your email list
1. Add a double opt-in to your sign-up process
Double opt-in is a two-step process where your audience confirms their subscription by clicking on a link sent to their email. Taking your audience’s consent to send emails ensures that the addresses on your list are valid and not spam traps.
For example, here’s the confirmation email you’ll get for the lemwarm newsletter👇
2. Clean your email list regularly
Your audience’s email addresses might change over time or become inactive. Removing these addresses from your email list will keep it clean and free from spam traps.
Here are 3 ways to keep your email list clean:
- unsubscribe all contacts who mark your emails as spam
- refine your email list every time you update your ICP
- remove any invalid email addresses (they could be misspelled, expired, or no-reply) 👇
3. Avoid buying email lists
You could reach a large audience with email lists you buy online, but it does more harm than good. Email addresses on these lists could be spam traps that won’t open or reply to your emails. This lowers your reply rates and ruins your email sender reputation.
Instead, grow your email list organically to build a relationship with your audience and increase your chances of landing in their inbox and getting replies.
For example, many people on LinkedIn, especially those working in Marketing, Growth, or Sales, include their email addresses on their profiles so people can contact them quickly. 👇
Building your personal brand and using your engagement to connect with your target audience is a great way to grow your email list!
You should check out this 6-step framework that got us 35 meetings booked in 30 days! 🚀
4. Verify your email list before sending email campaigns
Email verification tools can help you identify potential spam traps. They use algorithms and databases to check the validity of every email address on your list.
So, to protect your deliverability, you should always verify your email list and remove email addresses that are undeliverable from your email list. This way, you also reach the right audience and increase your chances of landing in their inboxes.
Here are 3 tips to remember while verifying your email list:
- ensure that your audience’s email domain is active, not expired
- remove any duplicate email addresses from your list
- use reliable tools like Debounce or Bouncer to verify your email list quality
5. Monitor your email deliverability and take steps to improve it
A sudden drop in your deliverability score could show that your emails are landing in spam traps.
Use a warm-up and deliverability booster like lemwarm to monitor your email deliverability. This helps you identify and fix any deliverability issues related to your email list (high bounce rates, for example) in time.
Here are 3 things you should check to monitor your email deliverability:
- the technical setup of your email domain
- email metrics (spam complaint rates, bounce rates, etc.)
- your deliverability score (should be > 90)
PS: based on your deliverability, lemwarm gives you custom tips to boost your score and avoid spam 🚀
What else could land your emails in spam?
Whether your emails land in your audience’s inbox or spam folder depends on your email deliverability. Your emails will likely land in spam if you have a low deliverability score. In spam, your audience won’t see your emails, and you won’t get any replies.
The safest and most reliable way to increase your deliverability score is to use a warm-up and deliverability booster like lemwarm.
A warm-up & deliverability booster helps you:
- save time by automating your email warm-up
- follow a personalized deliverability-boosting strategy
- and monitor your deliverability with detailed reports so you can take quick action to fix it
Ready to boost your deliverability & grow your business?
Here’s a complete guide to get started with lemwarm 🚀