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As an email marketer, you’ve likely heard about the changes Google and Yahoo are making to their sender requirements, which will go into effect February 1st, 2024. The requirements can be grouped into three key categories: 

  1. Authenticate your email 
  2. Make unsubscribing easier
  3. Stay below a spam threshold of 0.3%

To help you prepare for these upcoming changes, we’re sharing our top 7 tips to help you reduce potential spam complaints. Keeping a low spam complaint rate has long been considered a best practice in email marketing; however when the changes take place on February 1, 2023, it will be considered mandatory to maintain a spam complaint rate of below 0.3%. After this date, if a sender’s rate is above the 0.3% threshold, you may face deliverability issues such as delayed delivery, blocks, spam folder placement, or all of the above. 

From an industry best practice perspective, the imposed 0.3% spam complaint rate is considered high. Our team of deliverability experts are committed to helping organizations target a spam complaint rate of below 0.1%, a level that all but eliminates the possibility of complaints creating deliverability issues. 

How to work out your spam complaint rate

To calculate the percentage, email providers divide the total number of complaints during a time period by the total inbox volume during that same time period. In order to help senders calculate their rate, Google has created Postmaster Tools, a free solution that gives senders details about their IP reputation, domain reputation, and more. Yahoo recently announced that it will be building a similar dashboard – stay tuned for more details on timing.

How to reduce your spam complaint rate

To help you avoid unwanted deliverability issues, our deliverability experts have put together their top tips on how to reduce your spam complaint rate: 

  1. Manage your subscribers expectations from the beginning
    When your subscribers opt into your communications, it’s important to be clear and concise on how you intend to use their data, what types of channels you’ll contact them on (i.e. SMS and/or email), the types of messages they can expect to receive and the frequency you’ll be sending them. For example, if subscribers sign up to receive a monthly newsletter, don’t send them a weekly newsletter. Stay consistent with what you promise your subscribers.
  2. Always respect unsubscribe requests
    Make sure you unsubscribe anyone who requests to be taken off of your mailing lists. If a former subscriber continues to receive messages after they’ve sent an unsubscribe request, they may submit a spam complaint.
  3. Make sure your emails are clear and well-branded
    Maintain a consistent and recognizable sender address and branding within your messages. If a subscriber sees a message from an unknown sender, they will likely assume it is spam. For example, if you’re sending an email from your CEO, your subscribers may not know their name – rather than using their name in the sender address, continue to use the address you typically send from and create a sign off within the body of the email from the CEO.
  4. Use appropriate mail frequency
    Refrain from over-emailing your subscriber base. Instead, send based on the frequency you established during the subscriber’s registration process (see #1 above).
  5. Stay consistent and relevant
    The more relevant the messages are that you’re sending to your subscribers, the higher their engagement with you is going to be. They’ll also be less likely to unsubscribe and less likely to submit a spam complaint
  6. Customize and personalize messaging
    Similar to staying consistent and relevant, customizing and personalizing what you send to subscribers will show them that what you’re sending is in fact meant for them and not something worth submitting a spam complaint against.
  7. Sunset dormant contacts
    Our deliverability experts recommend sending only to subscribers who have been active within the last zero to twelve months. Those who haven’t interacted with your messages in thirteen or more months aren’t engaged with your content and are more likely to submit a complaint when your message hits their inbox.

By following these above tips, you’re likely to stay below the 0.3% threshold, meaning fewer spam complaints and ensuring your well-crafted content will continue to reach its intended destination – your subscribers’ inboxes.

More resources from Marigold

We’re here to help you every step of the way. When you partner with Marigold,we can support you through changes, ensuring your emails land in your customers’ inboxes. Stay tuned over the next few months for more resources to help you through the changes announced by Gmail and Yahoo including product specific guides and webinars.