Request demo

Outbound sales tactics

Email spam tests - what they are and how do them

May 27, 2021

Pedro Guimaraes

Introduction to email spam testing

Low open rates often indicate that your sales emails could be going to spam. But how do you confirm your suspicion?

When it comes to deliverability, you need to act quickly to prevent any future damage to your sales pipeline.

This article walks you through a quick and simple process we use with hundreds of our customers. We’re able to check where their emails are landing and why they are going to spam - if we find them there - in less than 15 minutes.

At the end of this process, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening to your sales emails. Depending on each situation, we’ll give you clear steps you can take immediately to solve any issues your emails might have.

Ready to get started? 🚀


  1. What tools will you need to check if your emails are going to spam?  
  2. When should you check if your emails are going to spam?  
  3. The process to know where your emails are landing: primary, promotions, or spam  
  4. Recap

Tools for email spam testing - what do you need?

Only 3 things:

1. A way to monitor the open rates of your sales emails

Most outbound sales tools have open tracking set up by default. You’ll be able to see something like this 👇

Email Spam Test Process

Note: For deliverability reasons, you should always set up custom domain tracking when activating open tracking. You can see here how this is done on Amplemarket.

If you don’t use an outbound sales tool yet, make sure to manually track who opened your emails on a spreadsheet.

2. A process to monitor and identify emails at risk

Monitoring open rates will help you identify when you should worry about spam problems with your emails.

Think about a process you can implement internally to easily spot campaigns with low open rates, so you can act quickly. For example, you might set up a slack or email notification when a campaign has less than 40% or 50% in open rates 1 or 2 days after you sent an email.

3. Access to a few random email accounts

We recommend a basic setup of 4 accounts:

  • 2 personal Gmail accounts
  • 2 personal Outlook

If you want to be serious about this you can also add:

  • 1 Business Gmail account (optional)
  • 1 Business Outlook account (optional)
  • 2-3 email accounts from any other email providers you might suspect your recipients use (e.g. Yahoo, etc)

Note: Ideally, these emails shouldn’t have any history with the email from where you’re sending the cold emails. So, make sure to create new accounts or ask a friend to monitor the tests for you.

When should you spam test your emails?

You can run spam tests whenever you want. At Amplemarket, we highly recommend running spam tests when you notice a big drop in open rates or if your open rates were never high enough.

The benchmark we use for cold sales campaigns is a 40% open rate. If a campaign has less than a 40% open rate within the first 24h of the first touch, we run a spam test. We consider good open rates anything that’s above 70% after multiple touches.

If you want to be extra careful, you can run periodic spam tests. For example, you can test if your emails are going to spam every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on how comfortable you are with deliverability best practices. The less comfortable you are, the more often you should test.

How to test your emails for spam

1. The trigger

First, you need a reason to test if your emails are going to spam. As suggested above, you can run spam tests whenever:

  • You’ve noticed open rates dropping below 40%
  • It’s time to run a periodic test
  • You’re just curious to know where your emails are landing
Email Spam Test Process

2. Make sure you have all the email accounts you need

As mentioned above, you’ll need at least 4 email accounts (2 Gmail accounts and 2 Outlook accounts). If you don’t have any, feel free to create them now or ask a friend to monitor them for you.

3. Send the test emails

Create a new campaign targeted at the email accounts you just created for this test and hit send!

Email Spam Test Process

Make sure you use the same template that didn’t perform well (or whatever template you use regularly in case of a periodic test).

Email Spam Test Process

4. Open each mailbox and see where the email has landed

Time to face the truth. Open each mailbox you used to receive the email template and see where it’s landing.

This is how you should proceed for each situation:

  • The primary inbox:

Congrats, you have a healthy deliverability score! Keep up the good work 💪

Email Spam Test Process

Note: Although you have a good deliverability score it doesn’t mean that you should be happy with the lower open rates that made you run this spam test. You now know that the low open rates aren’t caused by deliverability issues, so you’ll want to perform tests for different subject lines and content in order to increase your open rates.

  • The promotions folder:

This doesn’t mean a bad deliverability score, but you can do better! We recommend you download our Deliverability Guide to learn how to improve it.

Email Spam Test Process
  • The spam folder:

No worries, we can help you with this.

Finding your emails in spam is no need to panic. We are used to bringing email domains back to life like never before, even in the most complex issues.

As for now, we recommend you reduce, or even stop, email activity - at least with the email template that is having low open rates. Then, you should explore our Amplemarket Unspam service - feel free to check it out here and reach out to our team.

Email Spam Test Process
  • Not delivered:

This is the least common situation, but it can happen to anyone. This means that you might be running into an email/domain configuration issue.

We recommend you look into this issue with your engineering team and test your emails with Solve all the issues found and test it again!

Ensuring your emails avoid the spam folder

If your messages land in spam during your tests, it is important you mark them as not spam! You can do this via the spam folder. It is also important you reply positively to those messages to improve your sender reputation.

Here are some deliverability best practices to help you maintain the health of your mailboxes and avoid spam:

  1. Set up the right technical configurations - SPF, DKIM, and DMARC
  2. Manage volume appropriately - don't overload individual mailboxes. Spread your outbound across different mailboxes and domains!
  3. Optimize your sender reputation - don't skip your mailbox preparation. Warm up your mailboxes and keep you inbound/outbound ratios balanced.
  4. Send quality content - avoid repetitive content, excessive attachments, or spammy keywords that will get you flagged.
  5. Protect your IP address reputation - remember that your deliverability could be affected by other activity on your shared IP, so consider setting up a dedicated IP address for your company's exclusive usage!
  6. Sign up for Google Postmaster Tools - keep an eye on your spam delivery rates in real-time with Google an avoid any nasty suprises.

For everything you need to know about avoiding spam and safeguarding your deliverability, check out our Ultimate Deliverability Guide and cheatsheet!

Takeaway: best practices for email spam testing

In this article, we gave you a simple formula to test if your sales emails are going to spam. In summary, the process boils down to:

  1. Identify a sales campaign with less than a 40% open rate  
  2. Create or ask for 4 email accounts (Gmail + Outlook)  
  3. Send email template to the 4 email addresses you just created  
  4. See where the emails are landing  
  5. Landed in spam? Evaluate our Amplemarket deliverability support today.

Hope you found this helpful!


Subscribe to Amplemarket Blog

Sales Tips, Email Resources, Marketing Content

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Ready to run your
business with AI?

Sign up for an amplemarket account

Email addresses ending in @gmail, @outlook or @yahoo are not accepted.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
// --------------- Scrolling Script --------------- class ScrollingSpeedManager { constructor(speed) { this.scrollSpeed = speed; this.updateScrollingSpeed(); window.addEventListener("resize", () => this.updateScrollingSpeed()); } updateScrollingSpeed() { document.querySelectorAll(".is--scrolling").forEach((element) => { const scrollWidth = element.offsetWidth; const duration = scrollWidth / this.scrollSpeed; // seconds"--scroll-width", `${scrollWidth}px`); = `${duration}s`; }); } } // Initialize with a scroll speed of 50 pixels per second const scrollingSpeedManager = new ScrollingSpeedManager(50); // --------------- End Of Scrolling Script ---------------