Are you guilty of spamming?

by Kristy Barker, WhatCounts?

Of course not—right? Well let’s go a little deeper. You follow the CAN-SPAM laws by using accurate sender information, avoiding deceptive subject lines and making sure to include a working unsubscribe link in every message. So isn’t that enough? Legally, yes. But not if you want to actually get your messages delivered.

The deliverability landscape has shifted dramatically in the past few months, leaving many email marketers frustrated by ISP blocks and messages that just can’t make it to the inbox. Rather than just following the CAN-SPAM rules, marketers now need to be on the same page with how their recipients are thinking about spam.

You say potato, I say…spam. Everyone has their own idea of what spam is and isn’t. The marketing definition is “bulk email that is unsolicited.” However, consumers often rely on a very different definition when using the dreaded “report as spam” button. In fact, according to Marketing Sherpa, almost 60% of consumers have reported an email as spam just because it was not of interest to them!

These complaints can have a big effect on your delivery reputation. You can avoid these complaints by having an obvious opt-out mechanism (hopefully steering those spam reporters to just opt-out instead), keeping your content relevant, and monitoring frequency.

Unless it makes sense for your particular publication (such as a daily news alert or Groupon style email), most readers do not want to hear from you everyday, so make sure you abide by their frequency expectations.

Your list building methods can make a difference too. While building a house list that is purely opt-in (double opt-in is even better) will definitely produce the best engagement results, it’s not always a feasible approach. Sometimes you need to acquire data from an outside source. This approach can lead to some good outcomes, but you need to be very cautious of how the data is acquired.

All spam monitoring companies have spam trap email addresses that they put out on the internet in various places. When one of these addresses receives a marketing email, it sends up a red flag that the sender mailed to an address that was not opt-in. So be cautious when working with list rental companies—make sure that all addresses are opt-in, and that they can prove it.

Another potential delivery problem comes from sending to lists that have opted in through a third party vendor. While this is legal, it can still lead to some high complaint rates from readers who don’t know how you got their email address. Avoid third party opt-in lists if possible, but if you do use them, be sure to monitor your complaint rates.

Bottom line? Follow these guidelines to avoid being labeled as spam (unless you mean the canned meat kind…which you probably want to avoid as well).

Explore posts in the same categories: deliverability, Direct Marketing, Response Rates, Spam

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