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Why People Who Pay to Receive Your Mailings Still Report Them as Spam

We have a customer who sends email out on behalf of a very large, very well known institution in the financial investment world.

These people send out millions of pieces of email a day, under several different titles, to several different mailing lists.

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All of these mailing lists are confirmed opt-in.

Some of these mailings lists are paid mailing lists. By which I mean that the users paid to receive these emails.

You see where I’m 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 paid, or they will realize that it’s the mailing for which they paid, and they’ll be disappointed or upset that they gave you money for one thing, but received another. 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 expections 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.

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This article originally written on May 11, 2016, and is as relevant now as when it was first written.