Complaints about spam are one of the most damaging things to a marketing company’s reputation. When a company’s emails are repeatedly marked as spam, the sender risks being blocked by many of the major ISPs. While most businesses do not deliberately send out spam emails, there are many avoidable things that can contribute to a higher than average spam score. Here are some points to consider that should help reduce the amount of email spam complaints:
1.The Mailing List
Purchased mailing lists should be avoided as the people on them have not signed up to receive emails and will not recognise the sender’s address. It is important to keep the mailing list up to date. An out-of-date list could contain old email addresses and some subscribers may have forgotten that they opted in to emails from the company.
Senders need to be sure that the recipients of their newsletters are aware that they have opted in to receive them. Otherwise, they will classify those emails as spam! When a customer opts in to receive updates by email it pays to use a double opt-in system. Sometimes, people will sign up for something using a fake email address, which may be already being used by someone else. The recipient will then perceive the emails they receive as spam. To avoid this problem, customers should be asked to click on a link within an email to ensure both that they did not sign up using a fake address or had checked a box in error.
Companies should ensure that it is made clear to clients what they are signing up for and how often they can expect to receive emails. This may scare off some customers, but it is better to have one opt-in who wants to receive emails rather than twenty who would mark them as spam.
2. Sender Identification
Marketing companies should strive to make it crystal-clear who the email is from. Companies should not just use an email address such as email@example.com, but identify themselves, for example, Business X. They should also make the subject of the email clear. The email pre-header, that often consists of one or two lines explaining that the subscriber has opted-in to receive this email, can be used instead to offer the recipient some information about the content they can expect.
It is an excellent idea to personalise the headers and body of the email. It may take longer to do so, but it will make the email look more professional and credible.
3. Expired Opt-ins
There are many reasons why recipients might no longer wish to receive emails, such as losing interest or changing jobs. It is important to monitor and remove expired opt-ins from the mailing list. Recipients who have lost interest will lower a company’s open rates and may also eventually mark the emails as spam. It is good practice to email these opt-ins once or twice to check whether they still wish to receive updates and newsletters. If there is no reply, these contacts should be deleted from the mailing list.
4. The Unsubscribe Button
The unsubscribe link is a company’s best defence against spam complaints. It may seem a good idea to hide it away in the midst of the small print at the foot of the email, but this is not correct. Customers receiving unwanted emails often mark them as spam simply because they cannot see an unsubscribe button. It is much better for a customer to be able to unsubscribe easily, as they are then less likely to mark the email as spam. The unsubscribe link should be easy to find and very visible, at the top of the email and perhaps in a larger font. ISPs have made it easy to mark an email as spam, so marketing companies need to make it even easier to unsubscribe.
5. The Feedback Loop
If a company sends a lot of emails, it makes sense for them to subscribe to a feedback loop that is provided to businesses by email clients such as Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo. When a recipient marks an email as spam, the feedback loop automatically removes them from the sender’s mailing list.
Signing up to a feedback loop will not prevent customers marking emails as spam, but it will allow companies to remove them from the mailing list, thus reducing the potential for complaints.