Guest Post: How You Can Prevent Spam Complaints

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This guest post is brought to you by XVerify.

Did you recently get some spam complaints? Don’t worry: even the best of email marketers deal with getting complaints. No one is entirely safe from avoiding complaints. However, the problem is that complaints hurt.

Every time a user clicks the “mark message as spam” button on a campaign you have sent, it is damaging your reputation. The fact is your complaint rate should be less than 0.1%. That means for every 1,000 emails you send, you should have less than one person complain about your message.

If your spam complaint rate is higher than 0.1%, you have a problem on your hands, which you need to address sooner rather than later. Getting spam complaints will reduce your sender score and put you at risk of becoming black-listed or getting suspended from your email sending platform.

Review your data collection practices.

  • Don’t use a purchased list: Purchased lists are full of users who have never heard of you. Once you start flooding their inbox out of nowhere you have zero credibility. If they don’t know who you are, they have every reason to mark you as a complainer. Sure, those users might be a good fit for your products, but if they don’t know you by name chances are they will not even open the message and just click ‘mark as spam’.
  • Obtain permission to send emails: When you capture an email address, that’s great. It’s one more subscriber to add to your list. However, what is more critical is catching a quality subscriber. As a best practice, you should double-opt-in your email subscribers, making them confirm they do want to be on your list by clicking a link inside the first email you send.

Set up expectations.

When users are going through your sign-up process, make them aware that you are going to be sending them newsletters or promotional messages. Also, include frequency information, such as up to 3x per week. Once you start sending, stay committed to a schedule. If you go from mailing 3x a week to mailing every day your complaint rate will increase.

Utilize data hygiene practices.

  • Remove unengaged users: Look over your list and identify users who have not been opening any of your mailing in the last two weeks. If they are not opening them, then they have lost interest. Users who are no longer interested in what you have to offer have a higher change of marking emails as spam to get them out of their inbox. The best bet is to go ahead and unsubscribe them yourself.
  • Regularly clean your lists: Overtime good email addresses go bad, or users stop using their mailbox. It’s best to use solutions such as XVerify for email verification to identify which accounts are still valid and which ones are not. It’s best to run your entire database through verification tools on a quarterly basis. The tools offered by XVerify also cleanse the list and identify frequent complainers, so you are aware of email addresses who complain often. In most situations, these are users who do not know how to unsubscribe and just click ‘spam’ instead.

Create a good unsubscribe process.

  • Make the unsubscribe link visible: One of the most common issues when designing an email template is hiding the unsubscribe button. As a marketer, you think you are doing yourself a favor, but you are really setting yourself up for failure. A person going through an unsubscribe process is much better than them clicking the mark as spam button. If the recipient does not see your unsubscribe link they are going to just send your mail to the junk folder. This is going to create more problems for you, so place your unsubscribe link in an easy to find area.
  • Don’t make subscribers type in their email to unsubscribe: I have seen too often where marketers send the users to another page once and ask the user to again type in their email address to unsubscribe. This is just a hassle; please skip this step. If the user is clicking on the unsubscribe link, please just log the email address that clicked that link and make sure you honor the unsubscribe request as soon as possible.

You should treat spam complaints as a warning. An indicator letting you know something is not right with your campaign. Take action as soon as you get your first complaint, make sure you immediately get those users off your mailing list and improve your campaigns. If you are still struggling with your spam complaint rate, speak to a deliverability expert to help get your email campaign back on the right track.

Guest Post

This post was written by a guest author.