Managing Bounces, Complaints, Low Opens & Unsubscribes Follow

If you're reading this article it's probably because you've received a written warning from us, or because your account was suspended for a large bounce, complaint, unsubscribe rate or low open rate.


What is a complaint?

A complaint occurs when a recipient clicks on "report spam" in their email program. If their ISP (internet service provider) has what is called a "Feedback Loop" they are registered as a complaint in the report. The abuse complaint causes the recipient to be automatically unsubscribed from your list and they will no longer receive the email campaigns.

Why are complaints bad?

Complaints signal to the ISP and email program (e.g. Gmail) that the sender of the email is sending spam. Over time, this will negatively impact your own sender reputation as well as the sender reputation of our broader client base, as the email marketing program utilizes shared IP address ranges.

This is why we take complaints so seriously and why it is important that you do everything you can to avoid receiving repeated or excessive complaints.


What is a bounce?

There are two types of bounces. A temporary bounce usually indicates that the email is temporarily unable to be delivered. In this instance, we will usually attempt to resend the email.

A permanent or hard bounce on the other hand indicates that the email is permanently blocked from delivery. This can be because the email address you are sending to no longer exists or that you are not authorized to deliver email to that address or domain.

Why are bounces bad?

Over time, ongoing permanent or hard bounces indicate to the email program (e.g. Gmail) that the sender may be sending spam. This includes sending emails to a list where you have not obtained express permission or consent from them to do so.

Like complaints, this can negatively impact your own sender reputation as well as the sender reputation of our broader client base, as our email marketing program utilizes shared IP address ranges.

Low open rates & unsubscribes

What are unsubscribes?

An unsubscribe is when a recipient clicks the unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email, or the 'unsubscribe' option from their email program (if offered).

Why are unsubscribes & low open rates bad?

If you are receiving high unsubscribe rates or low open rates, this is indicative to us that the contact list is quite old (stale) or has been obtained without the subscribers permission.

Sending to old contact lists and contact lists where permission has not been obtained can also cause you and our customers deliverability issues. When ISP's or email programs notice a large amount of mail being sent which seems to be of no interest to the recipient, they can start filtering the mail to spam or blocking it entirely.

How to avoid bounces, complaints, low open rates and unsubscribes

If you’ve noticed a trend of poor results for your email sends it could be because subscribers do not remember opting in to your list.

In this instance, you should attempt to make some improvements to your contact list to avoid future complaints, warnings or account suspension.

Some improvements you can make are listed below.

  • If your subscribers have not confirmed their subscription through double-opt in, you might like to ask them to confirm now. Double-opt in is when someone subscribes to your database and receives an email asking them to click a link to confirm their subscription.

  • If you haven’t emailed your subscribers in more than 6 months, or you collected their details more than 6 months ago, the contact list may be stale. You might like to consider running a search on your database and removing anyone who hasn’t opened your emails in the past 2 months.

  • If your subscribers did not give you permission to email them (as in the case of purchased lists, or lists obtained through other means like internet / phone book harvesting), you should stop sending to them straight away and delete their records.

    The email marketing program is strictly permission-based - only subscribers who have provided their consent to receive emails from you should be sent marketing communications from your account.

  • Ensure that your content is relevant and the email design is consistent with your brand. People may mark your email as spam if they don’t recognise you or your company, or the content is not relevant or what they expected to receive from you when they signed up.

  • Always include an unsubscribe link in your emails. The system includes this by default on all emails.

Not only will the suggestions above, when implemented, reduce your complaint rates, but they will also optimize the sending experience and results you get out of your email marketing service.

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