If you send email communications to users of Microsoft email services — and chances are you do — you’ll probably notice an increase in spam reports coming from these contacts. This trend will include Hotmail, MSN and Outlook customers alike.
A big challenge for YNOT Mail users — and for email marketers in general — is a constantly shifting landscape. Engaging customers with ongoing and effective email marketing requires contending with a few dominant tech companies that wield a disproportionate impact on the end results, and who routinely affect the process needed to be successful. It’s a reality that isn’t unfamiliar to search engine marketers, who have faced a similar reality for decades.
If you looked at the email list of any typical adult entertainment company you’d likely see that a significant portion of the email addresses are served by some combination of the “Big Four” providers: Google (Gmail), Yahoo, Microsoft (Hotmail/Outlook/MSN) and Apple (iCloud/Mac). Given the importance of these companies to the success of email campaigns, it’s a good idea to stay alert to any changes they make that might impact your ability to get emails into your customers’ inboxes.
So, what has changed at Microsoft that could be driving an increase in spam complaints? To be plain, Microsoft has made it a lot simpler for their mobile users to classify your messages as spam. This has come primarily through changes to its mobile UI, where Microsoft has added prominent “Report Junk” buttons to its software clients. And just to pile on a bit, when a user manually moves email from the inbox to the junk mail folder, Microsoft is now treating that behavior the same as a spam report.
Given that mobile technologies are typically responsible for more than half of a company’s email engagements, the changes from Microsoft won’t help your spam complaint ratios look any healthier.
Now comes the hardest part of this news: There are no easy answers to how you might address these changes. That’s why it’s important for your company to be absolutely committed to best email marketing practices.
The Big Four are always looking for new ways to keep unwanted emails out of their customers’ inboxes, and if your messages are being classified as “spam” at a rate that exceeds what these companies consider to be normal, your “sender reputation” will take a hit. The lower your reputation, the more the chance that your emails will arrive in the spam box instead of the in-box. You can try to move around to new IPs or email services, but that tactic is getting increasingly less fruitful, and — quite frankly — more dangerous to your bottom line than it has ever been before.
That said, let’s cover a few of those “best practices” that you can implement to keep your spam complaints low and your reputation solid.
First and foremost, don’t share, purchase or trade email lists. The Big Four are pretty smart; you don’t get in position to dominate the world because you’re dumb. Accept that they’re smarter than you, know more than you, have more resources than you and have the algorithms they need to tell when you’re emailing people who didn’t ask to receive your emails in the first place.
This is perhaps the number one problem with email marketers from the adult industry. Many have a hard time resisting the urge to reach for the “quick sales boost” through a bought or shared list. A week or two of new sales isn’t worth an ongoing inability to get important messages into the inboxes of those who want them.
Say Something Worthwhile
Second, review your content and make sure it’s both valuable to recipients and that recipients understand who is sending them the message in the first place. Tie your emails back to your company brand and be consistent in that approach when you send out messages to your customers. If they don’t understand that they’re receiving the content they requested, or they find your content lacking any value, your spam report ratios will be high.
Don’t Be a Pest, Don’t Be a Ghost
Third, manage your send frequency. Sending too often, or too seldom, both tend to have a negative impact on spam ratios. It’s pretty obvious that customers who feel badgered by email campaigns are more likely to flag your content as spam; but it’s also true that if you take too long between communications they might forget they signed up for your emails in the first place.
If you’re struggling with email marketing in general, a damaged send reputation due to honest mistakes, or just need a good partner that shares a commitment to your email marketing success, take a look at YNOT Mail and get in touch. As email becomes an increasingly sophisticated endeavor it pays to have experts on your side who care about your business, are always accessible, know and love your industry, and want to help you achieve good returns on your email marketing investments.