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How to Avoid Email Spam Complaints

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Email traffic has surpassed 300 billion per day and will increase even more by next year, but several industry reports show that up to 17 percent of all emails sent by marketers never make it to the proposed recipient’s inbox. They either land in the spam folder or don’t get delivered at all.

For businesses like yours, these are lost opportunities that you can’t ignore. So, how do you prevent your emails from going to spam? Keeping spam complaints under control is a good place to start.

Why email spam complaints are useful

As a business owner or marketer, you probably see only the downside of email spam complaints. They hurt your email marketing, so getting reported isn’t fun. But if you look at the number of spam emails that flood our mailboxes, your perspective may change. In 2021, spam messages accounted for more than 45 percent of email traffic. 

Email service providers use several filters to prevent these messages from reaching the inbox. Apart from those filters, they take into account user behavior and feedback. Having the option of reporting spam when a user sees it gives them a better inbox experience.

While the “Mark as spam” button has its clear purpose, issues arise when legitimate emails like yours get reported as junk. More than one report for every 1,000 emails can send all of your  messages to spam. Avoiding that isn’t hard when you follow some basic rules. 

Be authentic

Imagine you get an email from a company you’ve never heard of. How likely are you to mark that message as spam? Most people do it without hesitation, so if you’re thinking of buying or renting an email list, think again. Growing your own list is not just the right way to do email marketing, it’s also the only way to succeed.

Email marketing rules can be quite lax even for those who grow their own email lists. Many think that adding a person they know to their list of contacts is harmless. One rule you should stick to is emailing only subscribers who’ve expressed clear consent to hear from you. Even your best friends should go through the subscription process, not just your customers. 

Related: Reach More People with a Better Email Marketing Campaign

Make sure you’re wanted 

Double opt-in is a process that ensures that every person who subscribes to your emails wants to receive them. As soon as they sign up, a subscriber gets an email with a link they must click to confirm their consent. Using double opt-in prevents bad actors from adding random email addresses to your list. 

If someone complains about your email, remove that person from your list right away. Certain email providers automatically weed out these contacts. If yours doesn’t, make sure to check your campaign reports and archive complainers manually. 

Additionally, savvy marketers know that data doesn’t stay fresh forever. Verifying your contacts once a quarter helps you to avoid bounces and other deliverability issues. If you haven’t emailed a list of contacts in more than six months, cleaning it is mandatory. This will also help you to assess the correct email address for a recipient who may have changed companies or personal addresses and has been missing that much-wanted communication from you. 

Be clear and consistent 

You can even get spam complaints from people who willingly signed up for your emails and went through the double opt-in process. The biggest reason that happens is a lack of familiarity with your brand. To stay top of mind, email your list consistently. Find an ideal schedule and stick to it long-term. It’s also the most effective way to build engagement.

If you still get spam reports, your content could be to blame. Make sure you use your brand name in your “From” field, so your subscribers know immediately who the email is from. Also, stick to the type of content people signed up for. If you’re planning a rebranding, see that your visuals remain in line with your core branding elements. And don’t be cagey, hoping to “sneak past” filters! Clarity builds engagement, brand loyalty, and higher sales. 

Related: 5 Tips to Significantly Increase the ROI of Your Next Email Campaign

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