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Why Is Your Email Being Reported as Spam? (Part 3)

Today, we’ll be covering the final topic in my three-part series on spam complaints: issues with unsubscribing. This is one of my favorite topics, as I tend to enjoy going after senders for making their unsubscribe processes particularly difficult.

(In case you missed it, you can check out part one of my series here (“I didn’t sign up for this!”) and part two here (“Too much, too soon!”).

1. You ask me to reply to unsubscribe.

Full disclosure — this is one of my biggest triggers for just clicking the “report as spam” button. If you put up any barriers that prevent me from opting out, especially if it requires me to do the extra work of emailing a different address with a specific subject line and specific text in the email and a lock of my hair and a blood sample, I’m just going to go the easy route and unsubscribe by reporting your email as spam. What’s the reasoning behind having me jump through hoops just to tell you I’m not interested? Wouldn’t you rather know I’m not interested up front, instead of making me do so much work to unsubscribe that I just don’t do it out of laziness? It’s easier than ever to report spam in a single click, so your unsubscribe needs to be just as easy to do.

2. Where is the unsubscribe?

There are two parts to this particular point: hiding the unsubscribe link, and burying the unsubscribe link in your email under everything else in 8-point font.

Let’s start with hiding the unsubscribe link. I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t dispense any kind of legal advice, but if you hide your unsubscribe in white text on a white background when sending a mass email so prospects can’t even see it…well, read the guide for CAN-SPAM and you tell me if you are totally breaking point five.

Moving on to hiding your subscribe link under everything else — this falls into the category of “making it insanely difficult for me to tell you I’m not interested.” I really love scavenger hunts, but I hate having to search for that tiny link in an email I don’t even want. When did tiny unsubscribe links become the norm and why? Logically, it doesn’t make sense to waste money on people who aren’t interested enough to do the unsubscribe link scavenger hunt. Let’s change that backwards line of thinking and make it easy for people to opt out. I’m not saying you should put your unsubscribe link in 72-point, blinking font at the top of your email, but you could at least put it at the top of your email with the same font size as the rest of your text. The point is — make it easier for me to unsubscribe than it is for me to report your email as spam.

3. I have to log in to unsubscribe!

Again, I saved the best for last! Requiring someone to log in to unsubscribe is the easiest way to get reported as spam, because you’re making unsubscribing incredibly difficult. I once was on a drip program that asked me to create a free account. Upon attempting to unsubscribe, I had to log in, which would have meant creating the account I never wanted in the first place. You can bet that had me clicking spam, reporting them for abuse to their ESP — anything I could do to get them to leave me alone.

While that may be an extreme case, a less extreme case is this: I’m on my phone and want to unsubscribe from your email. The unsubscribe requires a login, which I don’t remember, so I have to request my password and go through that whole process just to get a new password….to tell you I don’t want your emails. It’s easier to report spam, which stops me from having to go through hoops, but again, this hurts your reputation as a sender. Why not just make things as easy as possible?

And that’s all, folks! This wraps it up my series on spam complaints. I hope it’s been helpful, and happy emailing!