The Dos and Don’ts of Managing Email Subscriber Complaints

Hitting the Email Inbox: Protect your sender rep, clean up your e-list and improve design to add dollars to your email marketing ROI Hitting the Email Inbox covers all the bases of email deliverability, including everything from the very basics, to reputation management, as well as coding and design, and the connections between email deliverability and ROI. As any good email marketer today knows, there are a number of obstacles standing between you and your prospect’s inbox. With anti-spam technology becoming more and more powerful and prospects being blitzed by rapidly increasing email volume, an email marketer’s concern isn’t just open rate anymore; it’s getting the email successfully delivered in the first place. Hitting the Email Inbox: Protect your sender rep, clean up your e-list and improve design to add dollars to your email marketing ROI features five chapters full of industry-proven best practices to achieve maximum inbox delivery. You’ll also get dozens of surefire tips and methods for improving your deliverability, including: • Developing a trigger email program • Segmenting and reviewing your results by service • Understanding the whitelist/blacklist process • Using different addresses for different segments of your file • Not falling into the whole openers/non-openers/clickers trap • Test mailing at different times of the day • Being smart about timing • Use an ECOA service • Looking into certification, and much more! The report also includes four detailed case studies, providing practical examples of what email deliverability tactics did and didn’t work for four real-life companies. 100% Money-Back Guarantee Your order is risk-free. If you are not completely delighted with Hitting the Email Inbox, notify us within 30 days for a complete credit or refund, no questions asked. About DirectMarketingIQ The Research Division of the Target Marketing Group, DirectMarketingIQ ( is the go-to resource for direct marketers. Publishing books, special reports, case study stockpiles and how-to guides, it opens up a new world for those who seek more information, more ideas and more success stories in order to boost their own marketing efforts. DirectMarketingIQ has unparalleled access to direct marketing data - including the world's most complete library of direct mail as well as a growing library of promotional emails across hundreds of categories - and proudly produces content from the most experienced editors and practitioners in the industry. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to read Hitting the Email Inbox, which is in PDF format.

The following is an excerpt from the recent DirectMarketingIQ report, “Hitting the Email Inbox: Protect your sender rep, clean up your e-list and improve design to add dollars to your email marketing ROI.”

Subscriber complaints are the No. 1 reason for marketers’ reputation problems. The most common way for subscribers to report your email as spam is through the “report spam” button located in most webmail and email reader interfaces. Generating too many of these complaints can cause your email to be sent to the spam folder, or even blocked from ever reaching any of your subscribers at all.

The good news is that most ISPs and webmail providers give marketers a way to know who is complaining. Subscribers who complain should be treated like an unsubscribe request and suppressed from future mailings. If they think your mail is spam, they probably don’t want to receive your mail anymore, and continuing to mail to them will only provoke more complaints. Any email sender can sign up for feedback loops provided they have an email address to receive complaints. A good complaint rate that most senders should achieve is one complaint per 1000 emails sent to the inbox.

Subscribers complain for a number of reasons, but mostly because expectations weren’t set properly at the point of email sign-up, the messages were not relevant to their needs, they don’t recognize the company or brand, the frequency is too high—or in some cases—too low, and it’s too difficult to unsubscribe. Determining the reason for why your subscribers are complaining can be tricky, but using your feedback loop data is the key. Start by looking at complaint trends to determine problems are beginning. You should also drill down to specific segments or campaigns to determine where complaints are originating.

To maintain low complaint rates:
Do …

Tom Sather is Return Path’s senior director of email research. Tom uses his knowledge of ISPs, spam filters and deliverability rules to advise marketers on how to get their email delivered to the inbox. He began his Return Path career as an email deliverability consultant working with top-brand clients like eBay, MySpace, IBM and Twitter. Tom’s previous experience includes roles with email service provider Experian and on the abuse desks for AOL, Bellsouth, AT&T and GTE.
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