We have a customer who sends email out on behalf of a very large, very well-known institution in the financial investment world. This company sends out millions of pieces of email a day, under several different titles, to several different mailing lists.

All of these mailing lists are confirmed opt-in.

Some of these mailings lists are even paid mailing lists, by which we mean that the users paid to receive these emails.

You see where we’re going with this, right?

Even though the users paid to receive these mailings, they get reported as spam!

Now, why would someone not only ask to receive a mailing, but pay for it, and then still hit “this is spam” on it when they receive it?

There are several reasons why someone who has asked and paid for your mailing would still tag it as spam, and they all have to do with not properly setting – and meeting – subscriber expectations.

Think about it. If your subscribers expect one thing, but receive another, one of two things is going to happen: either they will not recognize it as the mailing for which they signed up (and maybe even paid), or they will realize that it’s the mailing for which they signed up (and again, maybe even paid), and they’ll be disappointed or upset that they gave you money for one thing, but received another. In fact, if they paid, and are upset about it, they may even demand a refund or issue a chargeback.

In either case, they are likely to hit “this is spam.” (In the latter case, they may also unsubscribe and demand their money back, but that won’t stop them from hitting “this is spam”, if only to ‘get back at you’. Really, it happens all the time – especially if they perceive your mailing to be not so much a resource as a vehicle for ads and upsells.)

This is why it’s critical that you set your subscriber’s expectations and then meet those expectations (for example, make sure they know how often to expect your mailings).

And also why it’s critical that you make sure that your email doesn’t look like spam. Because even if you are otherwise correctly setting your subscribers’ expectations, if your email looks like spam, it will get tagged as spam.

Even if they have paid for it.

So if you find that your requested, opted-in to, maybe even paid-to-receive, email is getting reported as spam, well, this may well be why.

Why People Who Request Your Email Still Report It as Spam

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4 Responses

  1. There is another part of the equation that should be added; The Charge Back.

    Quite often people will purchase on impulse. When they receive the email they have paid for they will mark it as spam, and then tell their credit card compnay that they aren’t getting what they’re paying for and insist upon a refund.

    Now, not only do the spam reports make it more difficult to get be delivered, the company is facing the expense of a charge back and the risk that too many will put them into a higher processing rate.

  2. This is true. The list should definitely meet the subscriber’s expectations at all costs or risk a charge back from the subscriber. If the email is not done properly then expect to get it tagged as spam.

  3. You also have to make your company name visible in every email, multiple times. Especially in the From field and perhaps the subject line as well. People will just skim through and if they don’t know it’s from you, they will spam without even realizing they want the email!

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