Why People Mark Messages as Spam

Source: https://blog.returnpath.com/why-people-mark-messages-as-spam/

As you may know–or are learning–inbox positioning is a catchy, constantly changing mix of factors. One of the elements that mailbox providers take under account when assessing email coming from your program is your complaint rate. Your complaint rate is calculated by the number of people who mark your messages as spam or junk that you have mailed to. But a number of our customers ask–would they mark it? “They signed up for our email program! ”  Or…”We are a legitimate sender with a valuable service or product –we are not like the true spam you find when you venture into the spam folder” So why the ill-fated spam button was hit by DO subscribers?

First, consider your own inbox. Has there ever been a message which arises from a company you’ve never heard of or know of and you do not interact with? It’s likely that your email has been purchased or rented from another company that you’ve given your email address to. By way of instance my son played with baseball. I think prior to choosing to stop baseball to get the lacrosse that is more action-packed, he played. He has not played with baseball for years, yet I STILL get baseball mails from club programs, baseball equipment companies, and baseball teams. He played in our city’s recreation baseball program–not a private club. I was surprised that the town sold residents’ email addresses, but that is another topic. On those emails, I well clicked the unsubscribe link for a while. But I’m tired of getting completely irrelevant emails (I have enough inbox clutter with all the lacrosse emails!) . I mark those messages as spam. They are spam — I did not ask for those messages, they are completely useless to me and I get annoyed by them. I’m not ensuring I won’t ever hear from them 18, by marking the message but I am also sending a message to all those marketers that they clean up their listing practices. I found several companies proceeded to email me and weren’t calculating their unsubscribes. Marking their email was for stopping the email, my only option.

But what about readers who whine about messages from organizations or companies that they have interacted with? These contributors fall into two categories. There are the people that supplied you but did not really opt in to your marketing program. Now, what do I mean by”really?” Here I’m talking about permission. There are lots of permission levels. The one in the baseball example is zero permission. But if someone downloads or buys a product a whitepaper do you have permission to start emailing that person? The solution varies greatly by who’s on your list and where you are located in the world. If you fall within GDPR jurisdiction, explicit consent is quite clearly defined.   In case you’ve got a checkbox in your cart that asks for permission to email the individual but you’ve got that box pre-checked, that is a permission degree that is more risky. Individuals who do not uncheck the box don’t actively wish to get your messages and may not have noticed it. It is a strategy many marketers use. It certainly drives list development, but you do run the risk of having a list composed of individuals that aren’t interested in your messages. And they definitely don’t want to receive them daily…which leads me to our last complainer category.

Finally, we’ve got the people who have actively, not passively, subscribed to your app. These people are the gold on your listing. They like services or your goods and they wish to hear more. But many marketers end up abusing this segment of their list. Because it can feel that way to a lot of 15, I chose the term abuse. While you are attempting to meet with your numbers, people may be getting inundated with messages or the type of message. A purchaser will tire of receiving. For instance, I recently purchased an rug. I was on this corporation’s list. But shortly after my purchase, I got an email featuring outdoor rugs. What they should have sent were items that compliment an rug purchase — outdoor cushions or furniture or dinnerware. Now, this wasn’t worthy of a criticism. But it was a missed opportunity that can stop. Why do these kinds of subscribers complain rather than clicking unsubscribe? It’s just more easy to mark as spam.

Listed below are a few takeaways from these complaint scenarios:

1. Employ sound record acquisition practices. If you have a complaint problem, you will need to take a hard look at where you’re getting your titles from and what the permission levels are. It can be a tough pill to swallow to uncheck that box that is opt-in but you could be sacrificing conversions for record development, if complaints are affecting your inbox placement rate. Have you calculated that is more valuable?

2. Practice list hygiene. Make sure you are using feedback loops to eliminate complainers from the list and be sure that your unsubscribe processing is working and that it eliminates people as quickly as possible. Aim for faster than anti-spam law requires.

3. Have a suppression policy in place that you test and adjust. Inactive subscribers are absolutely more inclined to mark your messages as spam. A fairly quick calculation may show that it is not worth it to keep them on the list with the hopes they may someday re-engage if their potential to mark your message as spam increases the probability that your messages will get directed to the spam folder for all your subscribers.

4. Heal your many active and permissioned subscribers like the gold which they are. Do not hit them up with so much email or irrelevant messages that you push them away for good. You don’t just lose the ability to message them, when they leave with a complaint, but it tarnishes your sender reputation.

Looking for more insight on complaints? Check out our guide The Marketers Guide to Subscriber Complaints for more tactics on addressing complaints.