How to Minimize Spam Complaints to Your E-Mail Marketing
4 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Spam and Blacklists as Applied to E-Mail Marketing
Spam, also known as unsolicited commercial e-mail, is the bane of legitimate e-mail marketers like you. If recipients perceive your mailings as annoying spam, they can easily report you to anti-spam agencies. If enough complaints come in, you may be added to a blacklist and have all your e-mails blocked.
Most ISPs (including AOL, Yahoo!, and Hotmail) give their customers Spam buttons to use to block suspected spammers. For Yahoo! Mail users need just to click a button to deem your e-mail as spam:
Because consumers have control over the Spam button and report e-mail as spam for a variety of reasons, no e-mail marketing strategy is immune to complaints. You can try to minimize the number of complaints, however and stay below the blacklist thresholds. Understanding how consumers evaluate e-mail as spam is a first step:
They don’t want it. Unwanted marketing e-mails are perceived as spam by most consumers, especially if they feel that they didn’t authorize you to send it. Sometimes, consumers even start to perceive e-mails as spam after they receive them for months just because they no longer want them.
They can’t verify it. If consumers can’t tell whether an e-mail came from a legitimate source, they perceive it as spam. Most consumers look at the From line in an e-mail header to determine whether an e-mail is familiar.
They think it’s too frequent. Consumers tend to perceive frequent e-mails as spam when they feel that the content is irrelevant, repetitive, or too long.
Even when consumers don’t perceive your e-mail as spam, they might be inclined to click the Spam button on your e-mail for one or more of the following reasons:
They can’t figure out how to unsubscribe from your e-mail.
They don’t trust the unsubscribe link in your e-mail.
They accidentally click the Spam button while sorting through their e-mail inbox.
They unintentionally include your e-mail while clicking the Spam button on a large group of other spam e-mails.
Minimize your spam complaints over time by doing the following:
Ask for explicit permission to send e-mail when you collect e-mail addresses from prospects and customers to make sure that your customers want your e-mails.
Make your e-mail content valuable so your e-mail list subscribers continue to want your e-mails.
Make your sign-up process memorable for your list subscribers and clearly identify your business in every e-mail’s From line so your audience can verify the source of your e-mails.
Use logos and colors in every e-mail that match your brand identity so that your audience recognizes your business.
Keep your e-mail frequency in line with your e-mail content and your e-mail list subscribers’ expectations.
Use an E-Mail Marketing Provider (EMP) that provides an unsubscribe link in every e-mail you send and allows your subscribers to access their profile to change their interests:Credit: Courtesy of Wonderland Homes
Ask all the people who unsubscribe from your e-mail list to tell you why they don’t want your e-mail. You can then adjust your strategy accordingly.
Use an EMP that authenticates your e-mails.