Dmytro Kudrenko

CEO, co-founder Yespo

How to avoid spam complaints. Blog about email marketing eSputnik

How to Avoid Spam Complaints

Sometimes it seems that it is enough just not to send spam. I should say, that in this article we do not discuss cases where a delivery is carried out without the consent of the recipient. There is nothing to be done - it is a crime, and the smallest, but guaranteed punishment - is a "black mark" from the recipient. I would like to discuss why people mark messages as spam, even from properly targeted whitelisted email campaigns.

Each time when this happens to our mailing lists - I want to cry, "Why is my emails going to spam?". To answer this question, it is good to define the meaning of spam. I enjoyed a recent  blog post by Seth Godin on this subject:

«Is this spam? If you ask yourself this question - most likely yes.

The matter is that a reader is always right. If you think it is spam - this is spam (unless you are a subscriber, but if you are the sender - your opinion does not matter). And regardless whether the subscriber consent was given, if someone suddenly decides that it's spam - it's spam.

The best indicator of "Permission marketing" must be anticipated, personal and relevant messages. If this is your company asset (just as it should be), ask yourself a question: "What will people lose if they do not receive this letter?"

If your subscribers are waiting for them, do not worry about spam anymore. You built a "Permission marketing"!»

Great, isn't it?! Many companies make only promotional email campaigns to all their subscribers. They are very easy to answer the question "What will people lose if .." - customers won't find out the stunning discounts, promotions, bonuses, product or service. But ask yourself frankly: do they really need all that?

In fact, the subscriber is the one who decides, and no one but him can not affect his choice. The AWeber blog described great reasons for readers to click a spam button in their mail client. We took the main ideas of this article, supplemented it with our opinion and added some illustrations.

So here are  the 5 main reasons for tagging spam, and tips on how to avoid it::

1. They forget that once signed

forget where subscribed

Your reader: 
After subscribing to your emails, he has not heard anything from you for some time. Long Time. Such a long time that he eventually forgot that he had signed up (and this does not need too much time in the Internet world). Then suddenly there is a letter from you in his mailbox, but he does not remember anything about you, and that he once wanted the letters from you.
Send a letter immediately after the subscription. Or, perhaps, set a series of invitational letters to the subscriber, for example of three or four letters with a week break in between. If you are sending out monthly newsletters, please indicate the frequency of distribution everywhere - in the subscription form, on the subscription confirmation page, in the invitation letter, and at the end of your series of the invitation letters. The more readers will know about your schedule, the more likely they are to remember it - and you - when they receive a letter a month later.

2. They do not recognize you, looking at the sender's name

spam folder

Your reader:
Subscribed to Newsletter from “LLC Gems”. So who are those, Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith who send him an email? And, most importantly, where did they got his address?
Keep your sender's name recognizable and understandable. What is the best decision? Use your company name or the name of the blog. Readers will recognize it whenever they see. If you need to change the name of the sender, for whatever reason, make your readers know about it in advance.

3. Too many letters!

so many emails

Your reader:
Has an overloaded inbox and the 75th email from your company this week will be the final nail in the coffin!  
Do not be so impatient. Subscribers receive multiple marketing messages a day, as well as letters from friends, family or colleagues. The last thing they want is three letters per day from you.
If it's hard for you to find the right frequency to send letters, make your readers a pleasant and give the possibility to choose how often they want to receive your newsletters. If you still do not know then make the newsletter once a week, it can not go wrong.
Keep track of how quickly the subscriber reads your letters. For example, we have an opportunity to view the latest activity in the newsletter. Interestingly, there are companies which send campaigns a few times a week. And some of their subscribers have been reading emails sent a month ago.. It might be worth to reduce the frequency of sending for those who mark a message as spam.

4. Your newsletter does not meet the expectations

Your reader:
Subscribed to your newsletter "The best recipe for bacon of the week," because different delicious bacon recipes made his mouth water. But what he has to do with cauliflower recipes, he receives instead of bacon recipes?
Stick to promises in category lists. If you promised bacon recipes, then send bacon recipes. If you promised coupons, then send coupons. 
You may be tempted to add your subscribers to other lists - for example, to send them emails from your blog after they subscribed to a monthly promotional code in your store. Do not do this. Letters may be marked as spam.
If you want to advertise something else in your letter, then dedicate the small area at the bottom of your letter. So you give the readers know that you have something else for them to share. But do not send them what they do not expect and what they have not subscribed for. You can invite them to expand their subscription for additional categories.

5. Where is the "Unsubscribe" link?

unsubscribe link

Your reader:
... just wants to unsubscribe. But your letter is so long, and an unsubscribe link is written with the fine print at the bottom of the letter. However, the "Spam" button is at the top, and it's big. It is so easy to click - and the trick is done.
The ability to unsubscribe must be visible and to click on it have to be more convenient than on the "spam." Do not be afraid to post the "Unsubscribe" link at the top, above the title. Seriously! Your readers will appreciate the easy way to unsubscribe, and you will not be incurred to groundless accusations of spamming. Our experience shows that such a link at the top of the letter does not increase the number of unsubscribers.
Here is the main advice - keep your eye on those who mark your emails as spam. I will let you in on a little secret - most postal services provide such information. They do not say who exactly complained, but they send the original of the letter. If you want, check email content for spam on mail-tester. But the services like our handle all complaints determine from whom they were and provide a detailed report. How do we implement it? This is a topic for the next publication. Do you know more reasons why subscribers mark emails as spam? I would appreciate comments.

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Dmytro Kudrenko

CEO, co-founder Yespo

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