Before You Hit That Spam Button…

Friends, I want to have a frank discussion with you today.  It has to do with email lists you’ve opted in for, but now don’t want anymore.  If you are reading this blog, you are most likely interested in marketing your business through social media.  And if you’re interested in doing it well, you’re using a content marketing strategy.  This means that you provide a ton of free content that provides value to your target market, and embedded within that you include the occasional offer.

If you’ve signed up for newsletters on the web, many other people are employing the same strategy, and you’re enjoying a lot of free content.  And when you give someone permission to put you on their list (and you have given permission…you’ve opted in by clicking the link in that confirm email), this is NOT spam.  If you are not interested in receiving the occasional offer from that person, then don’t consume the content, and unsubscribe from the list.

But when you hit the “report spam” button on an email from a list you’ve opted in for, you’re actually harming both the sender, as well as all the people who DO want the content.  Because each “report spam” click affects the deliverability of that sender’s messages. You make it a lot more likely that the sender’s emails will wind up in the junk/spam boxes of others, if the email gets delivered at all.

For example, I have a newsletter with a lot of free content.  However I do need to make a living, and I occasionally offer classes that people can purchase.  Most people on my list want to know when these classes are offered, because they’re interested in the content. However it makes me shake my head when someone hits the spam button on a class announcement.  Folks, you’ve signed up for the list.  You’ve opted in.  My list is completely in compliance with all CAN-SPAM laws.  If you don’t want to be notified of classes, then unsubscribe with the link in every single email I send.

When you click the spam button, then people have a harder time receiving the content they’ve signed up for.  It’s not just about you.  And you’re not just harming the sender.

Now I’m not talking about spam that you didn’t sign up for.  That’s what the spam button is for.  But if you’ve signed up for a list from someone who supports themselves through selling content, and gives you a lot for free, then simply unsubscribe if you’re not interested. That’s being a good web citizen, and being considerate to all.

OK?  Rant over.

Your thoughts?

10 Responses to Before You Hit That Spam Button…
  1. Nadine
    February 11, 2011 | 5:01 pm

    Jennifer,
    I agree! I’m a novice at the social media, newsletters and such so how do I know if my newsletters that I send out are sent to spam. I as well only send out to people who have given me permission but you never know when someone has a cranky day and decides to spam your information. Another question is, if someone does send your content to spam does this mean that it goes to spam for recipients? Thanks for all your great information!

  2. Cheryl
    February 25, 2010 | 10:25 am

    I am a bit of a novice I guess but do you have to be using a certain program to see if people reported what you sent out as spam? Or how do you tell if this is happening?

  3. Michelle Nist
    February 24, 2010 | 8:31 pm

    Wow – this is great! Can I copy it and send it out in my next newsletter?
    Would it even help? I doubt it! Like all of us reading here, it is preaching to the choir, so to speak.

  4. MeLissa
    February 24, 2010 | 6:34 pm

    I wanted to jump in here because I have, on occasion, been one of those people that accidentally hits the spam button when I meant to just delete the message. It makes me feel just awful because I am aware that it causes a “you’ve been naughty” report where it certainly isn’t due.

    That said, I agree wholeheartedly. I wish that when one of those reports happened, it wasn’t so much of a “guilty – no chance to prove your innocence” sort of thing…not that it would really be worth the time we’d all spend sending the “see, they signed up for it info” to the powers that be. 🙂

  5. Deb Bixler
    February 24, 2010 | 5:54 pm

    Great points-well taken! This is a good topic that I rarely see posts about. I personally check every email coming in. No spam blockers at all. It is quick to just highlight the spam by holding down the control key then click on each link based on the subject bar and delete a whole column. I found that using spam screening and blocking I often miss emails that I wanted. So, if I need to check my spam folder periodically, why not deal with it as it comes in. Think about this, real spammers and people who spread viruses are really criminals. What kind of criminal would they be if the internet did not exist?

  6. Linda Stacy
    February 24, 2010 | 4:55 pm

    I think most people who hit the “report spam” button just forgot that they really did opt in. I include a note at the top of all my mailings explaining where they opted in in hopes of reminding them.

    Also, I don’t know if it’s still true, but there was a time when a popular ISP had the report button right next to the delete button and people just hit it by mistake.

    Of course there will always be those few cranky people who decide they shouldn’t have to get your offers and they respond by hitting that report spam button. They’re probably sticking out their tongue at us when they do it. :p LOL!

  7. Scott Ryne
    February 24, 2010 | 2:30 pm

    I understand completely what you are saying, but my comment was going to be word for word what Grace said. Sometimes the way sites are linked, you opted into something without knowing it. I have never hit the spam button on anyone no matter how annoying, I just keep deleting!
    Bottom line, I agree.

  8. GraceAnderson
    February 24, 2010 | 12:35 pm

    Totally agree. Now how do I get off real span lists? They say I subscribed, I did not. If I try to unsubscribe it only confirms my email is legit. I don’t want nor do I need Viagra or pain meds….

    Thank you for all the great content you provide in your newsletters.

    • Jennifer
      February 24, 2010 | 1:34 pm

      I typically use the block email feature in Outlook to block messages/senders I don’t want. You can also use the spam button within Outlook.

  9. Barb Orozco
    February 24, 2010 | 9:52 am

    Excellent points! Can only hope those who need to know this will read this… thanks, Jennifer!

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