Sit On The Email Marketing Couch 2

Today’s edition of Dr. Senne and the Email Marketing Couch will focus on the most damaging force in the Email Marketing world, the “Spam Complaint.”  I think of all the things that I talk to senders about, spam complaints are the hardest to mentally process.  It is tough for senders to understand the thought process behind a spam complaint, and then equate that to their specific context.

A quick refresher course on spam complaints.  Spam Complaints come from FBL (feedback loop) programs that several ISP’s have started.  Here’s how it works.  A sender signs up for a specific FBL program and agrees to unsubscribe anyone who complains.  The recipient clicks the report spam button, and the ISP then sends the ESP the email to be unsubscribed.  This was to created to give recipients a safe way to stop receiving messages without having to directly contact the sender.

Here are some of the reasons senders give for not unsubscribing complaints:

* This is a good customer, must have been a mistake
* Users report spam to clean out their inbox
* They didn’t use our unsubscribe
* They just didn’t like that specific campaign

I’ve heard them all and the reasons don’t matter.  If someone clicks the report spam button they MUST be unsubscribed.

Now let’s look at what spam complaints really mean.  With a rare exception where somebody really is cleaning out their inbox, spam complaints are clear statements of fact.

* Recipient does not remember signing up
* Content is not what they expect
* Recipient did not want partner programs
* Don’t associate the subject line with you
* Too many emails
* No longer interested in your content

All these reasons must be addressed by a sender.  This is where introspection is very important.  We all have campaigns that don’t preform that way we expect.  Having the ability to honestly look at the reasons why this happened is critical to future success.

Remember that the number of spam complaints you are looking to stay under is 1 in 1,000.  That’s a tiny number, you can’t afford denial.

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