Web Marketing All-in-One For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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To avoid having your web marketing e-mails reported as spam, understand how consumers evaluate e-mails. When you think about whether your audience is likely to perceive your e-mail as spam, remember that spam is in the I of the receiver:

  • I don’t want it. Unwanted marketing e-mails are perceived as spam by most consumers, especially if they feel that they didn’t authorize the sender to send it.

  • I can’t verify it. If consumers can’t tell whether an e-mail came from a legitimate source, they perceive it as spam.

  • I 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.

Keeping spam complaints to a minimum is a matter of adhering to professional practices and consumer preferences in your e-mail marketing strategy.

You can minimize your spam complaints over time by doing the following:

  • Say thanks. Send a welcome e-mail immediately after the subscriber joins the list.

    [Credit: Courtesy of Wonderland Homes and Constant Contact]
    Credit: Courtesy of Wonderland Homes and Constant Contact
  • Send e-mail reminders. Insert a paragraph of text at the top of every e-mail reminding the recipient how you obtained his e-mail address.

  • Keep your e-mail frequency in line with your e-mail content and your e-mail list subscribers’ expectations. You can read more about the relationship between frequency and content later in this list.

  • Reinforce branding. Include your logo and colors on your sign-up form and make sure that future e-mails match your brand.

  • Reinforce familiarity. Make sure that every e-mail’s From line is memorable and familiar.

  • Send a reminder letter. Send a permission reminder letter periodically that tells your subscribers exactly how you obtained their e-mail address and gives them links for updating their preferences and unsubscribing.

  • Make your e-mail content valuable so that 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 that your audience can verify the source of your e-mails.

  • Ask everyone who unsubscribes from your e-mail list to tell you why he or she doesn’t want your e-mail. You can then adjust your strategy accordingly.

  • Use an EMP that authenticates your e-mails.

  • Include a description of your e-mail content and your typical frequency in your sign-up process. For example, if you send a monthly e-mail newsletter along with periodic promotions to your e-mail list, your e-mail list sign-up form might include a sentence that reads

    Signing up allows you to receive our monthly e-mail newsletter as well as periodic special offers related to our newest products.
  • Send only the content that your e-mail list subscribers expect you to send. For example, if potential e-mail list subscribers share their e-mail address to receive a quote for your services, don’t send them offers unless they gave you permission as part of requesting a quote.

  • Allow your e-mail list subscribers to choose their own interests. If you send several distinct types of e-mail content — such as coupons and event invitations — give your e-mail list subscribers a list of categories to choose from when signing up. Make sure to give them a mechanism for changing their interests in every e-mail.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

John Arnold is the author of E-Mail Marketing For Dummies and coauthor of Mobile Marketing For Dummies.

Ian Lurie is President of Portent, Inc.

Marty Dickinson is President of HereNextYear.

Elizabeth Marsten is Director of Search Marketing at Portent, Inc.

Michael Becker is the Managing Director of North America at the Mobile Marketing Association.

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