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How To Reduce Email Marketing Spam Complaint Levels

Oct 21, 2007
Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo have a report as spam button. The number of times this function is used is collected by the ISP and used to score for filtering and potentially to block emails.

The number of spam complaints an ISP gets from users plays a major factor in the ISPs filtering of the email to junk or even not delivering the email at all. Too many people hitting the spam complaint button and your emails will be blocked.

Firstly you need to know how many spam complaints your emarketing efforts are getting. A good email service provider will be able to report for you on how many spam complaints were made.

It may be someone signed up for your emails and has simply forgotten then uses the spam button as an easy way of getting you out of their inbox. The legal definition of spam is not the same as the user's definition of spam.

If you have a problem with too high spam complaint level what you can do?

There are actions you can take to reduce the number of users wrongly thinking your email is spam and potentially affecting future deliverability.

* Send an email to people who have neither opened nor clicked in the last year asking them to confirm they still want the email. If they don't reconfirm, then remove them. Inactive people won't be adding value to the list.

* Look at the profile of the people reporting email as spam. Are they recent subscribers? If so is a double opt-in needed might help (where you double check their opt-in with them before you start to send), or is the subscribe mechanism not clear enough as to what people are subscribing too. Did they subscribe through a common source? Did they subscribe a long time a go? This could help define a strategy to reduce spam complaints.

* Ensure the email branding is clear so that your company is identified. That the email branding is the same as the branding the user would have seen at time of sign up.

* Include a statement in the email to remind users they did ask for the email. EG 'You are receiving this email as you subscribed to X on the Y. If you no longer wish to receive this email you may unsubscribe using the link at the bottom'

* Put your company name, address, registration number, contact details in the email footer. This is also a legal requirement in many countries, including all European countries
About the Author
Tim Watson is the Operations Director of Email Reaction. A UK based professional email marketing technology solution provider.
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