Why Is Your Email Being Reported as Spam? (Part 2)

Two weeks ago, I wrote about one of the main reasons that emails get reported as spam (“I didn’t sign up for this!“). Today, we’ll be covering the second set of reasons for why someone reports spam, which has to do with every marketer’s favorite terms: frequency and relevance!

Let’s dive right in.

“You’re not sending me what I expected!”

It’s extremely important to be completely straightforward and honest about what your mailings are going to be. Let your prospects know what they can expect to receive, whether or not they’re also opting in to third-party mailings, and how they can opt down or out of receiving email. Be as clear as possible with your prospects about what they should expect to receive by signing up for your email program. What’s especially important here is honoring the expectations you set with your prospects and not inundating them with email. That brings me to my next point…

“You’re sending way too much!”

This goes hand-in-hand with my first point. No one likes signing up for a company’s emails only to get crushed by a tidal wave of email that they didn’t expect to receive. If I sign up for monthly emails, that’s all I want. Don’t try and push me into getting weekly or daily emails that I never asked for or expected to receive. Make it easy for me to decide what frequency I want to receive by asking me what my preferences are.

In the case of me signing up for an account with your service, definitely do not automatically opt me into the most frequent mailings. If I want a ton of email from you, I’ll tell you I want a ton of email from you. Start with your middle mailing frequency. What I mean by that is that if you have daily, weekly, and monthly options, start sending me emails weekly and go from there. Or, even better, ask your prospects how often they want to receive mail on your opt in form!

“You aren’t sending me enough.”

I know I just made the point about sending too often, but you also need to be aware of those you mail too infrequently as well, or haven’t reached out to in some time. Consider this: how often have you been going through your inbox and thought, “Gee, I haven’t received email from company XYZ in a while, wonder how they’re doing?” I’d wager that’s probably never really crossed your mind. Generally, we just don’t think about marketing email until it hits the inbox. If we don’t hear from a company in over a year (I once had someone email people from ten years ago!), there’s no way that company is going to stay top of mind.

Because of that, the best rule of thumb here is to not send to anyone you haven’t sent email to in over a year without running a permission pass to verify that the email address is still legitimate and prospects are still interested in receiving your emails. That way, you can be sure you’re sending the right message to the right segment of interested prospects and aren’t wasting your time marketing to people who are no longer interested!

“Your emails have nothing to do with things I care about.”

In continuing my theme of saving the best for last, let’s talk interests. For example, sign-up forms will often ask me about my interests upon signup — and then will completely ignore that information and just send me whatever they want to send me. Why even bother collecting information about my interests if you aren’t going to use it to send me more relevant, targeted content? The answer to this is simply to not collect that information if you don’t plan on using it. If you do use it, make sure you use it thoughtfully and integrate it with what you know about my purchase history and behavior around your site.

This wraps it up for today’s post exploring why people report spam, specifically because you’re sending too much, not enough, or just not what they wanted or expected. Tune in to our final post in the spam complaint series, Let me out!

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