The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email
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Marketers Challenged by Consumers' Perception of SPAM


In growing efforts to combat email SPAM, ISPs continue to put more power into consumers’ hands. Consumer desire for controlling SPAM (or perceived spam) is what drove Gmail and Hotmail to introduce priority in-boxes, a way for the user’s interaction with emails to be used to determine future in-box placement.

The key word in this trend is “perceived.” Many marketers following email best practices still find themselves managing SPAM complaints through feedback loops. So why is this happening?


The truth is that subscribers don’t have to care if an email fits the true definition of SPAM. They can – and will – complain about emails that lack relevancy. Even the White House has been accused of sending "spammy" emails. People simply don’t have time to read everything. (Proof: The Hampster Revolution and Taming the Email Beast)

Subscribers only really care about relevant emails. For example, over time a retailer’s email content may prove to be way off-base – still showing only maternity items instead of baby clothes. In cases like this, people click the Junk button or delete the message before reading. This action, recorded by the ISP, then determines future deliverability (priority in-box, regular in-box, spam folder, deferment or black lists).

Frequent complaints affect sender reputation and degrade deliverability. Without successful delivery, the medium loses its value and customers become skeptical of all email marketing messages. Therefore it all starts with relevancy.

For better deliverability, start by injecting relevancy into email campaigns.

Only email to people who want to hear from you.
Don’t continue to send to people who haven’t opened a single campaign in the past three years, for example.

Only email people what they want.
Establish a good subscription center or preferences page, and send the same amount and type of content that you promised.

Personalize content.
Use dynamic content to deliver messages that appear to be customized for each individual.

Use your data well.
Segment lists, target subscribers, and integrate data from multiple sources so that you paint yourself a picture of each individual subscriber. Only then can you begin to deliver the right content at the right time to the right people.

Successful deliverability is dependent on a wide host of variables that need to be understood and monitored. With new inbox categorization, subscriber engagement is fast becoming a new component of reputation. For more information about new deliverability rules, download our new white paper, an essential guide for email deliverability, “2011’s Deliverability Nuts and Bolts : Your first step to getting into the inbox,” for free through Gold Lasso's Facebook page.


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