How to Prevent Spam Complaints

Spam complaints reflect badly on the sender and can have a direct impact on your email delivery reputation if not managed wisely. Left unchecked, they could potentially result in your account being flagged for abuse, preventing you from sending out more emails. Here we’ll explain a little more about the spam complaint function so you have a better understanding of what you can do to minimise the effects to your business.

Why are users reporting me for sending them mail?

The Report Spam function was implemented to protect email users from receiving unsolicited messages. Typically, this happens when users are getting emails from a source they never subscribed to, but spam complaints can extend to users who forgot about their subscriptions (usually due to inactivity in the sender’s side), a lack of options for users looking to unsubscribe from your list or even content that’s irrelevant to their interests.

Why do spam complaints matter to me?

When users report an email for spam, several things happen. Firstly, the user who send in the report will no longer receive emails from you, effectively removing them from circulation. Unlike the Unsubscribe function however, this action also blacklists you from their account, sending all future mail you send to them into the Spam folder while triggering a feedback loop through the recipient’s Internet Service Provider (ISP), which then sends a warning to your Email Service Provider (ESP - that’s us).

We’ll let you know if you start getting too many complaints so you can take the appropriate measures to fix any problems you may have. However, if the problem continues to persist without any improvement, we may have to put your account on hold until we identify the causes resulting in users continuing to report you.

How do I check spam complaint rates for my email campaigns?

Enginemailer’s Reports function includes detailed info about your email campaigns, and includes data regarding spam complaints. To check the rate:

  • Click on the Reports tab. A detailed chart outlining the following key figures will pop up:
    • Delivered
    • Bounced
    • Opened
    • Clicked
    • Unsubscribe
    • Spam-Complaint
  • The number of spam complaints received as well as your Spam complaint rate (calculated as the number of complaints received divided by the number of emails sent out) will be displayed as one of the data points in the chart. You can filter this data by domain, campaign, and date range.

How do I prevent spam complaints?

Here are a few tips for keeping complaints low and your customers happy:

  1. Always get consent before sending. Make sure you are transparent about including your users into your mailing list before adding them in. Did they agree to receiving marketing material from you when they signed up to your service? Are they interested in learning more about your products? Unless the answers to these questions are yes, leave their names out of your list.
  2. Stay away from purchased lists. It may be tempting to boost your numbers with someone else’s list of names, but this can only harm your reputation if the recipients have no idea why they are receiving mail from you. Worse still, if it seems like you obtained their data through unscrupulous ways, they may be more tempted to report you. Not only will building your list from the ground up help prevent spam complaints, the results are also more rewarding in the long run.
  3. Engage your active users. It may be counterproductive to continue sending large amounts of mail to users who have stopped opening and clicking through to your newsletters. Look at segmenting these users out into a separate list and target your active user base. You can always look at retargeting your inactive users through specialised offers or campaigns later if you want to bring them back in.
  4. Display your unsubscribe link prominently. Make sure to offer your users a way to opt-out of receiving more emails from you if they wish to. Removing this option or not having it easy to reach may result in them reporting you as a last resort. Enginemailer’s templates all include unsubscribe links by default so make sure to utilise them well.
  5. Send relevant content. Personalising your emails based on your subscribers’ interests is more effective than impersonal messages looking to capture your entire range of customers. Consider learning more about your target audience if you haven’t yet with our customised forms.
  6. Send out content regularly. Properly scheduled messaging to readers will help establish a pattern, reminding them to expect your content on specific times and days. Conversely, subscribers may forget why you are messaging them if your emails are sent out irregularly, with large gaps between them.

If you are experiencing a high volume of spam complaints, it’s time for you to make a change. Establishing these best practices for your marketing campaigns will help ensure your messaging can continue uninterrupted while building trust with your customers. For large volume senders, we provide delivery consultation services to help you with data segmentation, delivery throttling and reputation building services to help you get millions of emails into your customers’ inboxes. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you with your email marketing needs.