Avoiding the Spam Box with Careful Healthcare Email Marketing

Avoiding the Spam Box with Careful Healthcare Email Marketing| HealthSoul

When done correctly, healthcare email marketing can be a goldmine for doctors and medical practices. That’s hardly a surprise given that email is a superb communication tool that lets you cut through the noise, improve patient outcomes, and automate reminders and alerts.

Healthcare practices and companies can expect a $42 return on investment (ROI) for every dollar they invest in email marketing.

That’s not to say email marketing is a bed of roses for healthcare organizations. Marketers in the healthcare industry get frustrated with this channel, as their messages often end up in the spam box. After all, what’s the point of crafting killer email campaigns if the recipients never see them?

Today, we’ll walk you through proven tips on how to avoid the dreaded spam folder with top-notch healthcare email marketing.

It all starts with the subject line

The subject line can make or break your email. It should be super compelling, yet avoid telltale elements that’ll send your email to the spam folder.

Get this: an estimated 69% of email users report messages as spam based solely on the subject line. That’s staggering. So, how do you craft a spam-proof subject line?

First, avoid excessive use of punctuation marks, especially single apostrophe, exclamations, and question marks. Never add questions to your subject line—things like “Do you wish/want…?” will give your emails a higher spam score.

Using ALL CAPS is another big no-no. It’s a glaring red flag for spam-checkers, not to mention downright rude. The same goes for using “Fwd:” and “Re:”—you should ditch these generic and cliché starters, particularly if you’re sending a cold email. Instead, ensure each email is personalized and stands out on its own, even if you’re forwarding it to multiple recipients.

It would help to also exclude spam-sounding words from your email subject lines. They include words that over-sensitize, over-promise, or use odd formatting to grab the recipient’s attention. Here’s a comprehensive list of words and terms to avoid.

Make sure you’re compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act

All email marketing campaigns in the healthcare industry must be 100% HIPAA compliant. There are no ifs or buts here. The next crucial step is to ensure your messages comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, the key piece of legislation when it comes to curbing spam emails.

As far as CAN-SPAM Act compliance goes, healthcare marketers must:

  • Clearly indicate that the email is an ad if it is a sales pitch
  • Ensure the subject line briefly explains the content of the email
  • Accurately identify in the email header the healthcare organization sending the email
  • Include the organization’s physical address
  • Give the sender an option to unsubscribe

Hit the sweet spot with the right email frequency

Email reigns as one of the all-important marketing tools for healthcare marketers. Not only does email bolster your brand and improve patient outcomes, but it can also potentially streamline your other marketing initiatives.

But bombarding your recipients with email blasts too often is a surefire way to get spam-blocked. In fact, 45% of email recipients cite high send frequency as the leading reason for unsubscribing from mailing lists. It’s a worse sin for email marketers than misspelling the recipient’s name or sending an expired offer.

Erratic mailing frequency won’t help, either. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy, so do a user study, segment your mailing lists, and determine what works for your email marketing. The bottom line is that you should be mindful of how often you email your recipients.

Test, test, test

Testing is at the core of every successful strategy, and healthcare email marketing is no exception. Before you hit send, use advanced tools like Marketo or Mailchimp to determine if your emails will pass the spam filters of various email service providers. As said by Digital Authority Partners, you should leverage the collected testing data to review and fine-tune your emails to avoid the spam folder.

Keep your emails sweet and short

Another red flag for spam checkers is too lengthy email copy. Today’s highly distracted online users prefer concise messages. It’s no surprise an average person spends around 15 to 20 seconds on an email, so don’t drag them with long, boring emails.

If you must craft a long copy, make sure to chunk it down into short, easy-to-digest paragraphs or sections. Your email should have a clear intro, body, and conclusion, making it effortless for the reader to peruse. But more than anything, give your email content some visual breaks.


Nothing can weigh down on your email content quite like spelling mistakes. They’re not only unprofessional but can also trigger email spam-checkers. More often than not, spelling errors may be reason enough for your email to go straight to the spam box.

Needless to say, you need to proofread your emails and check for spelling mistakes before you hit send. It pays to have another pair of eyes handy to fish out any inconsistencies and mistakes.

Use proper font types, colors, and sizes

The font choice might seem like a trivial decision in email marketing, but it’s crucial to get it right. Using non-standard font colors and sizes will get you in a front seat on a bus to spam town. Besides, readers hate when email marketers use odd fonts, font colors, and font sizes.

For one thing, you should avoid using something like a red font or making your text invisible by matching the color and background of your font. These are common tricks often used by spammers. To make the most impact, use your branded font or stick to traditional options like Arial, Times New Roman, and Calibri.

Avoid sending your messages via a no-reply email address

Most network spam filters and email service providers (ESPs) have settings that automatically send marketing from no-reply email addresses to the spam box. In some instances, the recipient may have set up their email security features to filter them out or send them to the junk folder. Besides, most ESPs don’t allow users to add no-reply email addresses to their address books, which is one of the few ways email recipients can white-list senders they trust.


There it is – key ways you can avoid the spam folder. You also avoid the sledgehammer of spam filters by removing bounced email addresses, asking recipients to white-list your email address, not embedding forms, and segmenting your healthcare email campaigns.