Spam is essentially unsolicited email. However, when it comes to the business of email marketing, spam is whatever an email recipient marks as spam. Every person you email is empowered to report any email to their Internet Service Providers (ISP) as spam. The ISP then informs Keap through a Feedback Loop where the spam complaint came from and who sent it.
Spam complaints can happen in two ways:
- External spam complaints
- Email recipients make these complaints within their email client (Outlook, Gmail, etc.) by clicking the "Mark as spam" button. Most of the email clients will report those spammy emails back to the ESP to opt the user out of the list.
- Internal spam complaints
- Email recipients have the option on all marketing emails to click the "unsubscribe" button in the email. Following that, many unsubscribe lists allow the recipient to choose why they unsubscribed and gives them the option to "mark as spam" on the unsubscribe confirmation page.
It is generally accepted in the email marketing industry that spam rates over 0.1% (1 complaint per 1000 emails sent per provider) are excessive. This metric is tracked per email provider and not as global rate.
To get an idea of your spam percentage you can look at your list of spam complaints and submitted feedback then determine how many are from each provider. You can also look at each email broadcast report and manually tally your rates.
Common Causes of Spam Complaints
Lack of Permission
When a contact shares their information with you, make it absolutely clear that they are signing up for email marketing from your company. We recommend using a checkbox and a double opt-in sequence to ensure that permission has been granted.
- A list of email addresses was purchased from a third party.
- The list of email addresses was borrowed from another user/business.
- The list of contacts was obtained from a trade-show or event
- Someone gave you their business card
- A customer purchased a product from your company and they are automatically signed up for a weekly newsletter
- A customer requests a free e-book and they are automatically signed up for the weekly newsletter as well
For more details on email marketing expectations grab a copy of our Email Marketing Best Practices Handbook
Contacts will often mark unexpected emails as spam. Set expectations for the recipient about your emails in regards to what, when, how often, and from whom.
Specific examples of poor expectations observed at Infusionsoft:
- The contact opts-in for ONLY the monthly newsletter, but they unexpectedly receive weekly or daily promos/offers
- You inform your recipient that they will be receiving monthly newsletters, but you don't get around to it for a few months, then suddenly start to 'blast' emails to make up for lost time.
- You keep a very consistent pattern of a weekly newsletter then decided to send daily with no warning or consent from your customers
- Customers sign up for what appears to be an informative newsletter, but the emails only consists of ads or promotional material
- The content of the email does not relate to the content of the landing page
- The customer receives great email marketing for a time, but on occasion they get emails not relating to what they signed up for
- From address changes or is different from the landing page or business name
Remember, Keap has great tools to help keep your email frequency consistent and within the expectations you set. For more details on email marketing expectations grab a copy of our Email Marketing Best Practices Handbook
Branding needs to be consistent from the signup page to the email. If the email recipient doesn’t recognize who sent the email there is a good chance it will be reported as spam.
Hiding the Unsubscribe Link
On occasion we’ve seen our customers hide the unsubscribe link so that an email recipient can’t remove themselves from the email marketing list. Not only is this illegal and a violation of the Infusionsoft Acceptable Use Policy,, but it causes more spam complaints because it leaves the recipient no other options to opt out.. Don’t do this, as you risk having your email functionality suspended.
Spammy Subject Lines
Describe clearly and directly what you are sending. People have developed an amazing ability to spot spam based on the subject line alone and will flag an email as spam without even opening it. Only use subject lines that are specific and relevant to your content.
Avoid anything that is deceiving or misleading, such as “RE:” or “FW:” Avoid vague phrases like “What’s up?” or “A quick reminder”. Avoid spam related words like “FREE” or including monetary amounts like “Earn $500 Today”.
Why Spam Complaints Matter
Infusionsoft wants to deliver our customer’s emails to their customer’s inbox. All of our customers share in our email network and if our network is deemed to send too much spam too often then we may lose our ability to do so or it will be greatly inhibited.
Keeping our spam rates low is a great way to show the ISPs that accept our emails that we are a responsible email sender and that our emails are wanted and expected by the recipient. If the ISP believes that emails from Infusionsoft and its customers is wanted then all of our customers have a much better chance of being successful email marketers.
How to Fix Spam Related Issues
If you have received an email from the Infusionsoft Compliance Team about excessive spam complaints being generated by your application then please read this section carefully and enact the measures needed to reduce your spam footprint.
- Audit your email marketing list and ensure that you have explicit permission to send email marketing to everyone on the list. If you have permission questions then reach out to support or re-read the Email Marketing Best Practices Handbook.
- Audit your webforms and landing pages to make sure that permission is voluntary, the expectations are clear and the branding is consistent.
- Audit your email sending practices to verify that your sending schedule adheres to the expectation set on the landing pages.
- Verify that subject lines are not spammy
- Double check your from address and ensure that it is consistent and recognizable
- Perform List Hygiene - We recommend removing any contacts from Broadcasts/Automations that have been unengaged for > 12 months and contacting directly and contacts that have been unengaged for 6-12 months. Identify unengaged contacts in your list by:
- Login to your application.
- Navigate to Reports > Email engagement tracker
- Sort by Time Since Last Engagement
- Select all contacts that have a Time Since Last Engagement value of over 12 months -
- Go to Action dropdown and select Update Opt-In/Out Status -
- Select Opt-Out and Process Action.
- Return to the Email engagement tracker Report
- Select all contacts that have a Time Since Last Engagement value of 6-12 months
- Go to Actions dropdown and Apply a Tag so these can be found easily later -
- Create a new tag, i.e., Bad Engagement, and then select the Apply radio button and then Save
- Go to Contacts > Contact Lists > Create A List > Add Filter; Other Fields - Tags
- Select Includes Any and enter the tag name just created
- Enter a name for this list i.e., Clean Up Engagement
- For each of these contacts, go into the Contact Record and remove any tags (Other > Tags) for upcoming broadcasts and if necessary remove them from any automations.