Sometimes I reach out to professors (who are almost always significantly older than me) via email. Maybe I'm working on a specific question they asked in a publication, or I'm working on something very closely related to their area of expertise (this is easy to tell in many cases because all the papers I am building on are by the same couple of people). It seems like I only get responses about 50% of the time, and I'm wondering what I can do to improve this.
Is there a way to (a) make sure that my emails do not go straight to the junk folder, and (b) increase the likelihood of a response if they do actually get read? I have no way of knowing whether (a) is actually an issue. On one hand I write from a major university email account (good), but on the other hand my emails have lots of unusual words and I have no history of communicating with the recipients (bad).