White’s research has led to the conclusion that consumer’s definition of spam email is changing. Spam used to mean only emails with malicious intent, such as phishing. Now, people consider spam to include irrelevant or un-actionable content. People are marking emails as spam because they are sent too frequently, they aren’t relevant, and because they don’t work in mobile formats. Additionally, some people consider marking an email as spam similar to leaving a bad review on Yelp.
So how do you avoid being considered spam?
- Ensure permission practices are appropriate for each acquisition source. Remember the context: who are they and how did they sign up? If they signed up at an event, you may want to remind them in your welcome email to them.
- At sign-up, set the right expectations around what they’ll be receiving and how often they’re going to get it. The higher quality of your content, the more often they’ll let you email them.
- Make unsubscribe links easy to find. Follow the two-click rule: they should only have to click twice to be unsubscribed from your list. While this may seem counterproductive, it’s better than having them mark you as spam because they couldn’t figure out how to unsubscribe. Consider a confirmation page where they can unsubscribe, opt-down to receive messages less often, or change their email address.
- Use mobile-aware responsive email design. Trying to read an email on your phone when it’s not optimized for mobile is awful, and your consumers are increasingly growing intolerant of it.
- Update unsubscribe survey to include more omni-channel options. You can use responses to improve both your email and non-email issues. When asking why their unsubscribing, include an “other” field. Some people will opt-out because of a bad in-store experience that you may be able to change.
While it may seem it’s become easier to be considered spam, there is a bright side to all of this. Users are aware of overzealous spam filters and will rescue brands they like from their spam folder. There’s more good news; consumers still prefer email for commercial communications, and it has one of the highest returns on investment of all marketing opportunities. Use these tips to help tap into that potential.