How I Lowered My Spam Complaints By 400%

by Folusho Orokunle 39 replies
I've been paying close attention to my spam complaints in Aweber because I use single opt in and don't wan't to switch to double.

Lately I've been noticing that my complaint rate was higher than the acceptable level by Aweber. Their acceptable complaint level is .1 % or 1 complaint per 1000 subscribers.

I put up disclaimers in my emails, given my subscribers useful information and still couldn't get under the acceptable level.

So after testing a lot of different options, I finally figured out something that works for me.

The first step is that I decided to remove all tracking links from my e-mails because they look rather long and can be looked at as spam by certain people. Once I removed my tracking links my spam complaints dropped by 200% instantly.

To get it to drop another 200% what I did is I made links to domain names that didn't look like they were sales material. For example: if I'm trying to promote something as an affiliate. I would send somebody to a link that read http://domainname.com/news.html

This way people looked at my links is being user-friendly and didn't see them as being spam. And I get very few spam complaints now because of it.

I can still track my open rate by using HTML e-mails. And I can also track the click throughs by just using unique landing pages for each e-mail I send out.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on how you lowered your spam complaints let me know.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #complaints #lowered #spam
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  • Profile picture of the author Jose Delgado
    Another way is to include their email, name, last name, and ip address on the very bottom of the email.

    That will remind your subscribers that they actually subscribed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Dominic
    How did the changes affect your conversions?
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    • Profile picture of the author Folusho Orokunle
      My conversions have gone up by 150 to 200% so far. I've only been using this technique so far for about 10 days to a list of about 45,000 subscribers though, so we'll see how it works out long-term.

      I actually used to use this technique fairly frequently when I didn't have such a huge e-mail list but I didn't realize that actually tracking my e-mails could be hurting my results.

      But now that I think about it if someone gets an e-mail, and they know that it's a tracking link or a weird URL. Why would they want to click on it?

      A lot of people don't know what those weird a Weber tracking links are. So maybe that's why they are reporting them as spam.

      And I'm also making more sales because I'm not using tracking links now so I really think that it's the way to go, unless I'm proven otherwise in the future.
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      • Profile picture of the author Folusho Orokunle
        José I think putting their information at the bottom of the e-mail is a good idea as well and I may also try that. thanks...
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        • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
          Wow great stats. I've never used the aweber tracking codes for that reason. Especially for my non-IM niches. That link aweber provides scares them away. That's why I cloak all my affiliate links in all emails I send out to my list. Although my list is tiny compared to yours. :-)
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        • Profile picture of the author johntanyishin
          Another way to let them know that they have subscribed is to let them know the date they have subscribed and through which website.

          Provide a link to let them unsubscribe as well. Probably that will help.

          JTYS
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          • Profile picture of the author Folusho Orokunle
            I was amazed when I spoke to one of my mentors in internet marketing and he told me that he was kind of reluctant to click on one of my links because it was a tracking link. This is when I really have the wake-up call, because I thought if a guru is reluctant to click on my link then what about the regular guy or gal out there?
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            • Profile picture of the author Jelasco
              Can you explain your math?

              If something falls by 100%, it goes to zero.

              How is a 400% drop possible? Are you getting a negative number of spam complaints?
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              • Profile picture of the author jaenterpr
                Originally Posted by Jelasco View Post

                Can you explain your math?

                If something falls by 100%, it goes to zero.

                How is a 400% drop possible? Are you getting a negative number of spam complaints?
                LOL I was thinking the same thing. It shows you should always take numerical claims with a gigantic grain of salt.
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                • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
                  Well what do you know! This is the answer to my problem as well. I never thought about the tracking links increasing spam complaints. Usually I check the box to track links because "That would be cool to know" . I do have other ways to track clicks, but it was so simple to check that box.

                  I kept wondering how someone could double opt-in, get an email from me with a header that shows the date they signed up for the email series, and still report it as spam.
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                • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
                  I quit using the aweber tracking links because they had a lower CTR when I split test them against a page on my own domain. I noticed my complaints went down as well - I just never made the connection

                  I didn't see any differences when I added all their subscribe data at the bottom.. but I did see a drop when I used their name in the email title.
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                  • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
                    Folusho,

                    That's a nice share.

                    One of the benefits of using the aweber tracking links in addition to the metrics is that they automatically prevent affiliate link hi-jacking.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Folusho Orokunle
                      As far as the High Jacking of affiliate comissions, you could just use a redirect from your own domain name.
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                      • Profile picture of the author Folusho Orokunle
                        It looks like my math was off( by a lotta bit) but I think most people get the idea here. I guess this just proves that you don't have to be good at math to make money online... :-)
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                      • Profile picture of the author Chris Monty
                        Originally Posted by Folusho Orokunle View Post

                        As far as the High Jacking of affiliate comissions, you could just use a redirect from your own domain name.
                        Yep, that's what I do most of the time...just a simple meta refresh.
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                        • Profile picture of the author BlogBrowser
                          Banned
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                          • Profile picture of the author DougBarger
                            Yes, I was aware you can redirect and do so myself, but also use the tracking links for my own convenience and have not found any increase in complaints.

                            Never had a problem with those.

                            What I meant when I pointed out the benefit of cloaking the affiliate link with the tracking link is that it (as in using the tracking link) prevents affiliate hijacking.

                            You can also use html to do the "click here" as anchor text blogbrowser.

                            In other words, I was well aware of other ways to take additional steps to cloak links,

                            but instead was just pointing out one of the benefits of using the tracking links.

                            In any case, I'm glad you found something that worked for you.
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                          • Profile picture of the author Sean Donahoe
                            Folusho, some great points there which are really good human relationship aspects to your marketing. In general the more "Human" an email is the less likely they are going to be trashed.

                            Striking a balance between selling and communicating with the customer is a fine art. One of the best ways I have found to reduce my spam for clients is make the first line personal and human before getting into the main point of the email. I have seen much greater conversion and a lot less Spam Tags by doing this.

                            For example if it is an individual sending the mail (most relevant for marketers here) then you could start off with something like:

                            "Wow, what a week it has been. With everything going on with with our latest product X it has been very very hectic around here. However, I wanted to sit down, have a cup of coffee and write to you directly and let you know what is going on."

                            Good relationship marketing and being a little more personable can certainly help break down the barriers between you and your customer. Humanising yourself and connecting will drop a lot of resistances that your list may have.

                            Just another 2 cents in the pot...
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                            • Profile picture of the author Folusho Orokunle
                              Originally Posted by Chikira View Post

                              Folusho, some great points there which are really good human relationship aspects to your marketing. In general the more "Human" an email is the less likely they are going to be trashed.

                              Striking a balance between selling and communicating with the customer is a fine art. One of the best ways I have found to reduce my spam for clients is make the first line personal and human before getting into the main point of the email. I have seen much greater conversion and a lot less Spam Tags by doing this.

                              For example if it is an individual sending the mail (most relevant for marketers here) then you could start off with something like:

                              "Wow, what a week it has been. With everything going on with with our latest product X it has been very very hectic around here. However, I wanted to sit down, have a cup of coffee and write to you directly and let you know what is going on."

                              Good relationship marketing and being a little more personable can certainly help break down the barriers between you and your customer. Humanising yourself and connecting will drop a lot of resistances that your list may have.

                              Just another 2 cents in the pot...
                              Chikira, I like the point you made about humanizing email. When you say "I wanted to sit down, have a cup of coffee and write to you directly and let you know what is going on", that really makes the reader visualize the fact that you're actually writing directly to them.

                              Makes a lot of sense...
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                            • Profile picture of the author Sean Donahoe
                              That's it exactly, it makes them feel this is not a blast to 100,000 people but a personal message just for them. That little adjustment can make a hell of a lot of difference to a mail campaign.
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                          • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
                            Originally Posted by BlogBrowser View Post

                            How do you, in Aweber, make a normal link (http://www.YourDomain.com/AffiliateLink) look like "click here"? I cannot figure it out!
                            You have to send the message as HTML. Then make the link the usual way:
                            <a href="your link here">click here</a>

                            Put that version of the message in the HTML box on the page and be sure to put a plain text version in the other box, for those who can't read HTML emails.
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                        • Profile picture of the author MikeLantz
                          Hey Folusho, its been awhile. Nice to hear from you on here...

                          Anyway, I agree with you 240%!

                          Seriously though, aweber tracking links are simply too long and annoying, and they often break in some email clients. Even with their new system, it just adds long tracking codes onto your own domain, still making it annoying.

                          Tracking is important, but aWeber really needs to improve their system and let us choose what our links look like. This would really go a long way in conversions and higher adoption of their system.

                          Anyway, great insights. I probably would have not considered the links being related to unsubscribe rates, even though I don't use them anyway.

                          Take care!

                          Mike
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            • Great post and follow-ups - thanks all!

              I stopped using Aweber's tracking links long ago. What you may not realize, and the likely reason for many spam complaints, is that more and more email clients read encrypted links as 'fraud' or 'scam'.

              For instance, Thunderbird, Firefox's email client, will throw up a "Email Scam Alert" that reads:

              "Thunderbird thinks this message is a scam. The links in this message may be trying to impersonate web pages you want to visit. Are you sure you want to visit clicks.aweber.com?"

              For this reason, I use links with the domain from which that particular list signed up. I can always track using "Goals" in GA - more work, but less scam reports.

              Mark
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        • Profile picture of the author Jose Delgado
          Yeah It should make them feel a bit more "safe" from spammers.

          and You're Welcome.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Dominic
        Originally Posted by Folusho Orokunle View Post

        My conversions have gone up by 150 to 200% so far. I've only been using this technique so far for about 10 days to a list of about 45,000 subscribers though, so we'll see how it works out long-term.

        I actually used to use this technique fairly frequently when I didn't have such a huge e-mail list but I didn't realize that actually tracking my e-mails could be hurting my results.

        But now that I think about it if someone gets an e-mail, and they know that it's a tracking link or a weird URL. Why would they want to click on it?

        A lot of people don't know what those weird a Weber tracking links are. So maybe that's why they are reporting them as spam.

        And I'm also making more sales because I'm not using tracking links now so I really think that it's the way to go, unless I'm proven otherwise in the future.
        Very nice. Thanks for the tips in your original post! I'll have to experiment with my own lists. I admit I haven't been doing much to optimize them lately, but I think the complaint levels are acceptable.
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        • Profile picture of the author Michael Dominic
          Do you write your messages
          in a narrow format?

          I personally find it easier to
          read messages this way and
          pay more attention to the
          messages from lists that
          I am subscribed to.

          I guess it ultimately depends what kind of format the list is such as a newsletter, reports, or just simple tips.
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  • Profile picture of the author braver55b
    Thats very interesting to know and I will implement this in my campaigns.
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