Nothing can be more damaging to your online business than spam complaints. You may think that you’re not a spammer so you have nothing to worry about, but this isn’t necessarily the case. To be safe, you must do everything possible to avoid any accusations on the part of people you’re emailing.
There are a few steps you can take to greatly reduce the likelihood of receiving spam complaints from those you are emailing to. They aren’t difficult to implement, and they can save you a world of trouble!
Why People are Accused of Spam
Obviously, there are true spammers out there. We could have a whole folder full of spam every day. Yet every day, ordinary online marketers get accused of spamming, even though they never intended to spam anyone. How does this happen?
Most people who receive your emails are probably on lots of lists. They may get hundreds of emails every day. At some point, they may reach a point where they are stressed out and are tired of getting so many emails. They may look at a particular email – yours maybe – and think to themselves, “I don’t remember signing up for this list. I’m going to report this as spam!”
That’s why it’s necessary to make it completely clear to everyone you send emails to that you’re only doing so with their permission. Here are some of the best ways to protect yourself in this way.
1. Use a Double Opt-In Autoresponder
Most autoresponder services give you an option to make your list single or double opt-in. for example Aweber offers both options. A single opt in list means that someone can subscribe to your list simply by filling out a form. Double opt-in means that after they fill out a form, you send them an email asking them to confirm that they want to be on your list.
Some marketers prefer single opt-in because it’s simpler and makes it easier for people to sign up for your list. It’s also more dangerous, though. Double opt-in forces people to confirm their decision, making it less likely they will ever accuse you of spamming them.
2. Never Purchase Mailing Lists
You may be tempted to buy a mailing list, especially if it looks like a bargain. This is something you should never do! There is no way you can be sure where these names are coming from. Some people simply scrape email addresses from any place they can find them and sell the lists.
Even in the best case scenario, where the seller built his or her list in an ethical manner, this still doesn’t protect you. After all, these subscribers never signed up for your list. This means that they could complain that you emailed them without permission!
3. Don’t Trick People Into Getting on Your List
Some marketers get people to respond to free offers or use other tricks to gain subscribers. Surveys and contests are another tactic. There’s nothing wrong with any of these strategies, provided you are clear about informing people that you intend to email them in the future.
Likewise, you shouldn’t assume because someone purchased something from you that this constitutes permission to email them. Once again, you should only email people who have specifically given you their permission to do so.
4. Make it Easy For People to Remove Themselves From Your List
Some email marketers hate losing subscribers. They hate it so much that they make it very difficult to get off their lists.
They may have a “remove me” link in very small print at the bottom of the page. They may force subscribers to respond to the email with the message “unsubscribe”. Or, worst of all, they may not have any instructions on how to stop receiving emails. This is asking for trouble.
You only want people on your list who want to be there. Spam complaints aside, if people are trying to get off your list, they aren’t going to be very good customers anyway. So make sure it’s easy for people to click on the “remove me” link with every email you send.
5.Provide Quality Content
Finally, you have a better chance of avoiding spam complaints if you provide people with useful content and not only ads and pitches. While you have the right to use your email list to promote offers, if you only do this all the time, people are more likely to regard your emails as spam (even if they aren’t literally so).
This is a good business practice anyway, and will help you hold onto your subscribers for a longer period of time and gain a better email open rate.
When it comes to avoiding spam complaints, you must err on the side of caution. Since many people are quick to complain, even when they don’t really have the right to, you must avoid any appearance of being in the wrong.
Spam complaints can lead to having your site shut down if your web host receives too many complaints. Theoretically, the web host should give you the benefit of the doubt since you are their customer, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes even the top website hosting companies just want to avoid trouble and find it easier to shut down the website!
Keeping the above tips in mind can go a long way to helping you avoid this problem. Just maintain the practice of being very straightforward about getting people on your list, and make it easy for them to leave if they want to!