Image of Spam folder with 175 messages
Image of Spam folder with 175 messages

Is Your Email Reputation at Risk?

Guest blog post by Patrick White, Constant Contact Compliance Associate

Image of Spam folder with 175 messagesAs an email marketer, the last thing in the world you want is to have your email marked as spam.

After all, receiving spam complaints is like getting detentions in high school; if you get enough of them you could be expelled, or in the case of email marketing: blocked!

That’s why you want to make sure you’re building and maintaining a strong sending reputation.

Here’s how you can do that:

It all starts with your list quality

Your list quality is the most essential part of your email marketing reputation. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) look at how contacts interact with an email when judging the reputation of a sender.

This means that senders with high opens rates, low bounce rates, and minimal spam complaints will gain the best reputations. Senders who produce the opposite results run the risk of having their email blocked or filtered into a junk folder.

So what helps you keep a quality list?

Get permission first

Whether you’re collecting addresses online or in person, you want to make sure people want your newsletter.

Most online checkouts have a field for an email address, but that doesn’t mean those customers expect to get newsletters. They might just think you’re going to send them transactional emails.  Giving them an unchecked box specifically to join your newsletter list makes sure they want to get additional information.

The same type of transparency can be applied to offline collection methods as well. If you are collecting at a checkout counter, you should provide a signup sheet just for your email marketing list.

Set expectations

No matter how you get your email addresses, it’s important to let your customers know what type of information you intend to mail and how often you’ll send it. Once these expectations have been set, it’s also important to stick to them. If your signup box says you’re going to send monthly emails about new products, you wouldn’t want to send daily emails with sales and specials.

Get sending

If you wait too long to send your initial campaign, your contacts may forget they signed up– and that can lead to spam complaints. It’s a great idea to customize the Welcome email your contacts receive shortly after they sign up. This gives you an opportunity to show your readers what they’ll be getting and keeps you fresh in their mind.

You can also set up a series of Autoresponder emails. This way, when new contacts are added, they’ll start receiving a series of timed emails that you’ve already set up!

How much is too much?

As for how often you should email your contacts after that initial welcome, the frequency depends a lot on your industry and what you’re sending. Since your goal is to get readers to open your email, you want to make sure you’re sending often enough that they are expecting it, but don’t want to mail so often that they ignore it or mark it as spam out of frustration. That is why setting a mailing frequency expectation ahead of time, like we talked about earlier, is so important.

Let them know it’s you with branding

Now that your contacts are collected and your email is landing in their inbox, make sure they recognize your emails and open them, instead of clicking the Spam button.

  • From Name – Make sure the From Name matches your organization name. This way your contacts will immediately recognize you.
  • Subject Line – Make sure your Subject Line doesn’t look all spammy. You want to be as clear and concise as possible. Avoid things like ALL CAPS and excessive punctuation!!!!! This will help avoid spam filters and your customers will trust it isn’t spam.
  • Permission Reminder – The permission reminder allows you to remind your customers how they signed up for your newsletter. It also includes an additional “unsubscribe” link at the top of your email. This can help you avoid spam complaints, since your customers will not need to search for the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.

Get organized and see what works for you

As you can see, all it takes is some organization and preparation to keep your email reputation clean while your newsletters or promotions go into the inboxes you need. To keep things running smoothly, be sure to monitor your reporting. Try different things and see what works best for you!

Do you have any questions about spam? Ask them in the comments section below and we’ll answer them in a future blog post!

Comments:

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  1. Melanie •

    It always bothers me when I get spammed, my list is all permission based and I can’t understand why a person would spam me instead of simply unsubscribing. A friend told me he sends a personal message to anyone who spams his email expressing that they actually signed up to receive them – do you recommend that?

    As far as bounced emails are concerned, should I remove them? I don’t because I notice the bounce rate changes from campaign to campaign.

    Reply
    • Jaime McCall •

      Melanie,

      It’s definitely frustrating when your emails get incorrectly marked as spam. Unfortunately, it’s something that happens to pretty much everyone at one point or another.

      There are a few reasons why. Sometimes if people don’t see an unsubscribe button right away, they are too impatient to search for it. That’s why we recommend turning your permission reminder on.

      As for sending a personal message, we typically advise against that. Marking someone as spam is usually an indicator that someone does not want to continue communication with you, and it’s best to honor that choice.

      And, while bounce rates can fluctuate, non-existent bounces tend to remain steady. Those are the ones you’ll want to definitely remove.

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

      Patrick White and Jaime McCall

      Reply
  2. When an email recipient reports your email as spam does that automatically opt them out of your list in Constant Contact?? I would hope it would.
    And does Constant Contact maintain some sort of Spam rating on our overall emails where we can see it?
    Thanks,
    JP Powel
    Salt Marsh Pottery

    Reply
  3. Jaime McCall •

    JP,

    Customers who mark your emails as spam (as seen in your spam reports) are taken out of your lists in Constant Contact. While we keep track of the spam complaints on each email, and you can check each email for the potential of looking like spam, we don’t have an overall rating for your emails in general.

    That’s a really interesting idea though. I’ll make sure to pass it on to our developers.

    Thanks for taking the time to read our blog. If you have any more questions about specific types of spam complaints, definitely feel free to get in touch with our Customer Support Department.

    You can reach them through any of the methods mentioned on our Contact Us page (http://www.constantcontact.com/contact/index.jsp)

    Reply

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