Spam legislation has been introduced into a number of different countries and being on the receiving end of spam complaints can not only be bad news for your email marketing, it can have extreme financial consequences for your organisation.

Many email marketers aren’t aware that even if their marketing emails are engaging, informative and their recipients have all opted to receive them, they can still be reported for spam.

Why would my emails be marked as spam?

Reporting doesn’t just happen to dodgy spammers, genuine email marketers can also get reported for spam if their recipients click on the ‘mark as spam’ button, even if they have opted in and the emails are legitimate.

Recipients might mark emails as spam as a way to unsubscribe from emails they don’t have time to read, or if they aren’t sure who the sender is.

What are the consequences if my emails are marked as spam?

Once an email has been marked as spam, it often automatically generates an abuse report which is sent to the internet service provider (ISP).

If you get more than a very few spam reports you run the risk of the ISP blocking your emails in future.

As long as you can prove that your emails were sent for legitimate reasons and with the consent of the recipients you shouldn’t have to face having your account closed down or pay financial penalties but your overall deliverability could be seriously affected.

It’s worth taking a bit of extra time to check that your emails are not only spam law compliant but they have an easy opt out facility. If your emails don’t have a clear unsubscribe facility, readers may be  tempted to click on the ‘mark as spam’ button if they no longer want to receive them and this could have consequences for your reputation.

It’s also a good idea to clearly identify yourself as the sender and ensure that emails are well written and don’t use typical spammer language.

How can I make it easier for readers to opt out?

Make sure there is a clear way for readers to opt out of receiving further marketing emails. This is a legal requirement in many countries but it’s a good thing to do anyway.

To make unsubscribing as easy as possible, you can:

• Place the opt out link at the top of the email in a prominent position.
• Ensure the link works and still continues to work for at least 30 days after you send the email.
• Make the unsubscribe process easy and straightforward. One click is best.

Most recipients don’t have the patience to hunt around for an opt out button or spend time following complicated instructions. By making opting out as easy as possible for them, you can help ensure your users don’t have to resort to marking your emails as spam to unsubscribe and protect your reputation as a genuine email marketer.

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