Your Guide to Managing Subscriber Complaints
Your digital reputation is key to the overall success of your marketing efforts. Collecting subscriber complaints and managing appropriately is integral to maintaining a positive relationship with your audience.
Return Path recently published The Marketer’s Guide to Subscriber Complaints, a comprehensive guidebook to help email marketers navigate subscriber complaints. The manual explains everything you need to know about grievances, including how complaints are registered, why subscribers complain, and tactics to avoid ongoing issues.
First, it’s important to understand how subscribers register a complaint about your email. One of the easiest and most common way users can complain about your email is using the Junk/Spam button located in their inbox, indicating your content is undesired. If multiple people report your email as Spam/Junk, your emails are more likely to be routed to the junk or spam folders.
Users can also register your email as spam by going through a postmaster or spam agency. This method is less common, but often used by more experienced email recipients. Therefore, these complaints are often taken more seriously by ISPs and affect marketers more than traditional Spam/Junk categorizing.
So, what happens when you start looking at user complaints?
First step: avoid denial. Grievances happen for a variety of reasons, and you’re not always to blame. Common user complaints include (but aren’t limited to):
I didn’t think I signed up for your emails
I only signed up for your emails, but I’m receiving others
I only gave you my email address to create an account with you
I don’t know who you are
You’re not sending me what I thought you would
You’re sending me too much
I can’t find your opt-out link
You didn’t honor my opt-out request
Many of these complaints can be remedied by refining your opt-in process. To avoid confused users, certify the language that explains your email correspondence is clear, transparent, and honest. Even better, allow users to optimize correspondence by offering different levels of engagement – including frequency or types of emails.
Confirm users want to be getting your emails by installing an email validation process in which users must double-verify their email.
Once you have them on your list, make sure your email content aligns with what was promised at the time of sign-up. If you’re making changes to content and editorial, give your subscribers a heads up that they may be receiving new material.
It’s also important to evaluate if your emails look legitimate or if they look like spam, and always monitor for any suspicious phishing activity.
If a user is trying to opt-out of receiving your emails, let them go (and make it easy!) User complaints increase when people have difficulty finding an opt-out link or when they continue to receive emails, so make sure you process unsubscribe requests immediately and monitor “no-reply” emails.
To avoid future spam complaints, it’s imperative to critically assess your own work.
Do new subscribers know exactly what you’ll be sending during the opt-in process?
Are you sending what you promised?
Are you including an easily accessible unsubscribe tool?
Once you’ve checked these boxes, be proactive and employ feedback tools to avoid long-term complaint activity.
Finally, implement survey and rating tools to allow your users to provide real-time feedback to avoid future complaints. It’s in your best interest to listen to the wants and needs of your subscribers to improve overall deliverability.
For more on this, download the Return Path guide here.