Avoid Being Called a Spammer: 3 Categories of Spam Labels

January 17, 2012 | Spam Compliance

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Everyone hates spam in their email inbox. If you’re trying to run a successful email marketing campaign, you want to avoid being called a spammer. But… What is a spammer? How do you avoid being labelled a spammer?

It’s helpful to realize there are 3 categories of spammers.

1. A Spammer in the Eyes of the Law

The law is clear, you need permission to send email marketing messages to people. If you did not get their explicit consent to email them, you’re not following the law. That is why at Mail On The Mark we specifically ask you to let us know where and how you built your email list and confirm that again when uploading new lists.

Therefore, the first way to be labelled a spammer is by doing things like buying a list of people’s email addresses, or scraping email addresses from web sites or even networking events and entering them into your email marketing database. These kind of actions can immediately label you as a spammer and can compromise all of your email efforts by immediately shutting down your email marketing.

2. Marked as a Spammer by Recipients

There are several email clients that have buttons within their email programs that allow the reader to mark an email as spam. AOL and hotmail both have very easy-to-click options where a reader can quickly and automatically send a report that they feel the sent message was spam.

The email services do this as a way to help them track and reduce spam. However, there are people who click these buttons accidentally. Some click it because they think this is the way of unsubscribing to an e-newsletter. Some literally click it accidentally.

Either way, there have been documented stories of organizations who are using email marketing properly, but get inadvertently labelled as spammers this way. There is no real nice way around this problem. Unfortunately, the problem is mostly caused by uneducated email users. We’ve heard of a few organizations that no longer send to AOL or hotmail accounts. Another, less drastic measure is to always use an opt-in measure, even for people who specifically requested information. This helps them to remember who you are and why you are emailing them.

The second idea is to make your unsubscribing information more clear so that anyone who wants to get off your list finds that link, before finding their email provider’s “mark as spam” button.

3. Being Called a Spammer, Just Because You’re Annoying

The third way that you can be referred to as a spammer is in a more unofficial way. We all know of email lists we joined and then regretted because we felt they emailed us too much. We feel we are being spammed to, even if the organization is working within the legal bounds of the law.

Over-sending emails creates ill will between you and your readers. Too many emails is often the number one reason someone unsubscribes from an email marketing list.

Another way to annoy people is by sending information that is not relevant to them.

When people receive emails from you that they don’t want, you may be doing more harm than good with your email campaigns. So make sure you’re sending worthwhile emails. Otherwise people may perceive you and your brand as “spammy” even if you are working within the legal bounds of email marketing.