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The Most Misunderstood Statistic In Email Delivery

Will the real complaint rate please stand up?

The spam complaint rate is one of the most important statistics in email delivery. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most misunderstood. 

It can happen if your software is measuring your complaint rate differently than the ISPs.

You see a low complaint rate reported in your email software and think “Great, people love my email. Almost no complaints!” Usually people are struggling with an Inbox delivery problem and think “it can't be because of my complaints; the complaint rate is low.” The shocking thing is that your complaint rate is low because of the poor inbox delivery: your subscribers are not getting your email so they can't complain.

David Harris
By David Harris
on January 13, 2016

9 Reasons You're Getting High Spam Complaints (And How To Fix Them)

Spam complaints happen, now what?

There you are: You’ve segmented your subscriber list.You’ve written your content, designed your template and sent test emails to your team. You start sending emails to your subscribers and then what? Spam complaints happen!

Even with a permission-based list, spam complaints can happen to good senders! The ISPs know that some subscribers will complain, so they look at your spam complaint percentage, and a high rate will cause delivery problems. For example, 0.1% is a level of complaints that great senders doing everything right often see. But a complaint rate of 0.5% is too high.

We've put together a list of the top reasons you might have a high spam complaint rate. Keep reading to see which mistakes you could be making and strategies to fix them.

Improve Email Deliverability Like Batman

Who do you call?

People think improving their deliverability is like fighting crime in Gotham City. Where they pick up the "Bat Phone" and Batman swoops in to fight the injustices of the world. Or there is a single Internet Service Provider (ISP) hotline, where we call and say, "our client is one of the Good Guys – let their email through!" BAM! POW!

Starbucks & Email Campaigns

How do you take your coffee? 

As I’m standing in line at global giant, Starbucks, I realize we’ve come a long way from a simple ‘black’ or ‘with-cream-and-sugar, please’. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you said one (or several) specialty choices, like: tall or venti, iced or hot, soy milk or nonfat, flavored, an extra shot of espresso with whipped cream or without.

How Important Is Email to Your Business?

Is it vital to revenue? Operations?

Email communication has become an integral part of how businesses communicate. It is vital in today's world. Businesses have worked hard on compiling a reliable and opt-in list of dedicated followers and clients. Online marketing campaigns can increase a company's bottom line, can be used as leverage to be referred to new clients, and can be the ticket to a new account for any business. Messages transmitted on computer appear in a reader's inbox in a matter of seconds . . . Or Do They?

Three Fundamentals of Email Deliverability

Understanding the Who, What, and How of Email Delivery:

Explaining the drivers of email deliverability can be a challenge, and there are still a number of myths about email deliverability floating around.

I recently created a new, simpler, and clearer way to explain deliverability. And this approach seems to crystallize understanding with some people. Let's give it a try:

Explain the DMARC, Hold the Jargon

How does it work? Should I use it?

There have been some big changes at gmail.com, yahoo.com, and aol.com recently regarding their DMARC policies, and this has had an effect on some email marketers. Interest in DMARC has also been growing. You may have been wondering, other than a five letter acronym, "what is this DMARC thing?"

Beginner's Guide to a Clean List, Part 2

It starts with permission. 

If you've been working in the business of email for more than a few days, you're bound to have read that permission is the key to good delivery. "Permission is what spammers don't have and legitimate mailers do have," or "Permission is the difference between the junk folder and the inbox." Of course it's not that simple, and having permission doesn't guarantee good email delivery, but mailing to folks who never gave you permission to send them email is a quick and effective route to poor delivery.

Beginner's Guide to a Clean Email List, Part 1

It's not laundry.

Let's get something out of the way right off the bat: even though I might use the words 'cleaning' or 'hygiene' when we're talking about email lists, I prefer not to. Sure, if someone says an email list is dirty, we all understand what they mean (more or less), but there's a judgment - and a suggestion of a solution - inherent in those terms that I think are inaccurate and misleading. What I tend to think of as "The Laundry Analogy" fails in a few ways.

Spam Complaints: Cause, Effect and Cure

What are Spam Complaints, and How Can You Keep Them From Happening?

Spam complaints are negative responses to an email. They are specific actions taken by the receiver of the email to let the ISP, ESP or sender know he's not happy about the email and wants to report it as spam.

Although it's almost inevitable that your email will generate some spam complaints, high complaint rates are indicative of a problem and will cause poor inbox delivery.

Spam complaints are a key driver of email deliverability, so it's important to understand them.

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