49 Reasons Why Your Emails Have Low Open Rate

The general perception is that the email open rate is the number of people who open your emails. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
An email open rate is defined as the ratio of the total number of unique people who opened the email and the total number of delivered emails.
Suppose a total of 100 emails were sent. Out of those, 20 emails bounced, which means a total of 80 emails were delivered. Out of the 80 delivered emails, 20 emails were opened. That means the email open rate will be 25%.
The calculation goes like this –
Email Open Rate = Unique Open Emails / (Total Number of Emails Sent – Total Number of Bounced Emails)
25% = 20 / (100 – 20)
Emails that are not delivered cannot be opened. So, this number is not included in the calculation of the email open rate.
Tracking of the Email Open Rate
It is important to understand that the tracking of the Email Open Rate is not a perfect science. To track whether an email has been opened or not, a small one by one pixel graphics (transparent, invisible picture), also known as a tracking pixel, is inserted into the email being sent. Only when the graphics (picture) is loaded (after getting downloaded from the server), the email is marked as opened. Since the email open rate relies on the download of a graphic image, it isn’t 100% accurate. There can be multiple issues with the tracking mechanism mentioned above:
  • Many internet service providers (ISPs) as well as users never load the graphics in an email. Without the graphics being loaded, even an opened email will not be marked as an open email
  • Many users prefer to receive their emails in text format only. In this case also, the graphics is never loaded and although opened, the email will not be marked as an opened email.
  • Users who use mobile, tablets or other such devices to read their emails, read only the text version of the email. As such, the graphics never get a chance to be loaded in the email and although the email is opened and read, it is not marked as an opened email.
  • Non-HTML (text) emails are not tracked at all (as the graphics are not loaded at all in such emails). As such, even if the email is opened, it will not be marked as an opened email. Some email reading applications do not allow open emails to be reported. Some email reading applications let the recipient choose whether to allow open emails tracking as a personal setting.
Because of the above mentioned reasons, it is likely that the actual email open rates are on the higher side than the reported rate.
This feels pretty good for Marketer 🙂
If you have low email open rate, then, there could be a number of reasons for a low email open rate. You need to check the email open rate against the benchmark for your particular industry. The email open rate varies based on the type of industry, the geographic location, type of ISPs (Internet Service Providers), etc.
If you have been sending emails for a while and the open rate has declined initially and subsequently plateaued, that trend is normal. But in case your open rates have been way below the benchmark and is continuously declining, there might be some inherent issues with your campaign.
Why Your Emails Have a Low Open Rate
1. Inefficient Subject Line:
Subject lines are the gatekeepers to your emails and the first thing that the recipient sees in their inbox. A good subject line can dramatically increase the likelihood that your email will be opened. On the other hand, a boring subject line can dramatically decrease your email open rate as it implies to the readers that your email is not worth opening.
A good subject line can make or break an email.
A good subject line has two components: firstly, it tells the recipient what the email contents are and secondly, it tells recipient that the email is worth opening. The subject line should stand out and spark interest to the recipients, without looking like a spam. It should be short, clear, concise and to the point. It should tell the recipient exactly what to expect in the email content and why the email is worth opening.
Statistics points to the fact that the email subject line impact the email open rate. As per the data, 33% of the email recipients open the email based on the subject line alone.
2. Be Concise: Effective subject lines are quite short in length and concise (under 50 characters normally). They are short but descriptive, relevant to the recipient and to the point.
3. Avoid Buzzwords: Certain keywords (buzzwords) negatively affect the email open rate and thus, should be avoided altogether. Some examples are “free”, “help”, “reminder”, “percentage off”, etc
4. No Personal Touch: Adding the recipient’s name gives a personal touch to the email and the email does not look automatically generated. Adding recipients past trends and buying habits in the subject line adds to the personal touch.
Statistics shows that personalized emails are 22.2% more likely to be opened.
5. Offer an Incentive to the Recipient: You should give some incentive to the recipients to open the email. Add some urgency to the subject line, offer them something they value or something that are relevant to them so that they are incentivized enough to open the email.
6. Test and Test Some More: Although there are general rules, still, the best way to know what resonates with your recipients is to test and then, test some more. Try multiple subject lines, check the statistics as to which ones have a higher open rate and analyze what you did differently with the subject line that actually clicked with the recipients. No audience are the same. So, test what works well with your audience.
You can test your Subject line from here.
7. Create a Sense of Urgency for the Recipient: Using the words like “this weekend”, “limited offer”, “first come, first serve”, etc creates a sense of urgency in the recipients and thus it becomes highly probable that the email will be opened.
8. Remove Negative Connotation: Negative Connotation decreases the probability that the recipient would open the email. Avoid using negative connotation as much as possible so that the email open rate graph trends northwards.
9. Get Highly Specific: Use data from the recipient’s interests, past trends and buying history. Use these information to make the subject line highly specific and relevant to the recipients.
10. Do Not Use Words That Look Aggressive: Using words in capitals, exclamation marks, etc makes the subject line look aggressive, unfriendly and even spammy. Avoid using aggressive subject lines. Avoid looking aggressive.
11. Inefficient Content:
When someone signs up for your emails, they have something specific in their minds. They are looking for something which is useful for them. If on receiving your emails, their expectations are not satisfied, they will stop opening your emails next time they receive them. If subscribers are not enjoying your content, they will stop reading your emails.
Focus on the content of the emails such that it would help in solving the recipient’s problem. Thus, the recipients will be more receptive to your emails.
12. Efficient but Irrelevant Content:
Sometimes, it might so happen that the content is efficient as well as interesting, but it is not relevant to the recipient. This might happen if you have different types of subscribers in your email list. Sending same email to a broad type of subscribers tends to decrease the email open rate as the content does not appeal to the wide variety of subscribers.
Try sending targeted emails to a smaller set of subscribers in your email list who will be more interested in the contents of your email. Try dividing your email list according to the interest of the subscribers, their geography, their buying trends, their recent activities, etc. This will not only increase the email open rate, but will also decrease the “opt-outs”.
13. Sending Emails too frequently:
With very few exceptions (high value content), the greater the volume of email sent to an individual, the lesser number of times they will open the email. In general, the more the volume of emails, the lesser the level of engagement with the subscribers for an email campaign. If your email open rates are way below the industry average and you send multiple emails, you may want to evaluate if you are sending too many emails to the subscribers for their liking.
When people first subscribe, set their expectations as to how frequently they would expect your emails. Even better, if you can ask the subscribers how often they would like to hear from you. This could be done with an online survey or through a questionnaire at the time of subscribing. Moreover, it is a good idea if you can provide them with a preference page in which they can update their interests as well as the frequency of receiving emails.
14. Unsegmented Email List:
If you send generic emails to all the subscribers in your email list, you will not be able to engage with your subscribers and the email open rate will be on the lower side as the email content will not be relevant to most of the subscribers. Sending targeted emails to specific subscribers, segmented on location, interests, buying history, latest trends, recent activities, age, language, gender etc will engage them thoroughly and would increase the email open rate as the emails will be relevant to them.
The aim is to send targeted emails to segmented subscribers so that the content of the emails are more relevant to them, as against sending email blasts which lacks relevancy for the subscribers.
Statistics shows that segmented campaigns perform 14.4% better in terms of email open rate as against not segmented campaigns.
15. Recipient not Interested in your Emails:
There might so happen that initially, the subscribers were interested in your emails, but in due course of time, due to a change in their lifestyle, job changes, changes in priorities, they have become less interested in your emails. [ This might also happen in case you have bought an email list and the subscribers have not explicitly given you their authorization to receive your emails. ]
In such cases, the subscribers will not be interested or willing to open your emails. Moreover, subscribers will be more likely to mark your email as spam as opposed to just unsubscribing. Inactive emails will tend to bring your email open rates down.
Unclean and old email lists will contribute to low open rates, bounces, spam flags and can lead to marking of your emails as spam.
16. Emails Getting Struck in the Spam Filter:
If your email gets delivered in the recipient spam folder, rather than the inbox, the recipient will not even get a chance to open the email. There are multiple reasons why an email gets filtered into the spam folder of the recipient. Some of the most frequent reasons have been enumerated below.
Test your email newsletter template and find any issue from here.
email-spam-test

17. Avoid Keywords Which Trigger Email as Spam:
Certain keywords in the subject line trigger the email as spam. Avoiding such words will land the emails in the recipient’s inbox, increasing the probability for the recipients to open them. Avoid using keywords like “Free”, both in the subject line as well as the email body. Instead, use words like “complimentary”, “at no charge”, etc. Some of the spam triggering keywords are as mentioned below:
Guarantee, 100% free, FREE, ALL CAPS, $$$, !!! or excess of any symbol, Attention!, Act Now!, Re:, FWD:, T e x t w I t h g a p s
18. Avoid Being Deceptive:
Do not use words like “Re:” or “Fwd:” in your subject line. These used to a good hack few years back, but, not now!
19. Keep a Simple Email Body Format:
Do not cram too much information in the email body or use complicated email layout that might impact email rendering in mobile devices.
20. Have Optimum Text to Image Ratio:
Do not cram images in the email body. Maintain the ideal 60-40 text to image ratio. Avoid having single large image in the email body. Have as much text as possible, instead of images.
email-template
Source: themeforest.net
21. Avoid too many Links:
Avoid cramming too many links in the email body. Prefer text instead of links.
22. Use Links from Credible Websites:
Use links from credible websites. A link from a non-credible website may trigger email as spam.
23. Include Date and Time in Emails:
Including a date and a time in your emails shows that your emails are recent. This can lead to more email open rates.
24. Avoid Attachments in Emails:
Avoid attaching files or images in emails. This helps in avoiding the spam trigger.
25. Avoid Grammatical Errors or Spelling Mistakes:
Casual grammatical errors and spelling mistakes does not create a good impression to the recipients. Moreover, they can trigger spam filters too. Try to avoid them as much as possible.
26. Include Physical Mailing Address in Email:
Adding a physical mailing address gives credibility to the email and thus, there are less chances of such emails triggering spam filters.
27. Avoid Purchased Email List:
Subscribers from a purchased email list have not given their authorization to receive emails from you. As such, they would unsubscribe from your emails and may also opt to report your emails as spam which can deteriorate your reputation. Moreover, a purchased email list might be stale with lots of inactive users.
28. Avoid Using “test” in the Subject Line:
Using “test” anywhere in your subject line renders your emails casual. The recipients will not be prone to open such emails.
29. Avoid frequent change in the “from” name:
Using a constant “from” name lends credibility to your emails and helps your subscribers remember and recognize your emails. Frequent changes in the “from” name loses that credibility factor from the recipient as well as the spam filter perspective.
30. Request Subscribers to Add your Email Address in their Safe List:
Request your subscribers to add your email address in their address book or in their safe list so as to avoid the spam trigger as well as to get the graphics tracker download easily for better traceability of the open emails.
31. Keep Subscribers Engaged:
Keep subscribers engaged through frequent product review requests, order follow ups and general feedback requests, so that they remember you, are interested in you and keep opening your emails.
32. Include Easily Accessible “Unsubscribe” Button:
Provide easily accessible “unsubscribe” button to the subscribers who wants to opt of your emails. This will help clean your email list of uninterested subscribers, satisfies the CAN-SPAM act and lends credibility to your emails and helps avoid spam filters.
33. Avoid Bounced Email Addresses:
Removing email addresses which have bounced multiple times helps in cleaning your email list, increase the email open rate as well as enhance your reputation as an email sender with lower bounce rates.
34. Avoid Links having One Giant Image:
Avoid creating links which contains one single giant image. This can trigger spam filter. Avoid images as much as possible.
35. Avoid Addresses as “noreply@company.com”:
Try to avoid “reply to” email addresses such as “noreply@company.com”. Use a genuine “reply to” email address in all your emails so that recipients can interact with you in case they feel so. Moreover, the presence of a genuine “reply to” email address in your emails lends credibility to your campaign and help your emails avoid spam triggers.
36. Respect “unsubscribe” Requests:
Make sure that the “unsubscribe” option works for up to 30 days from the day the email is sent and fulfil all the “unsubscribe” requests. This enhances your credibility as well as satisfies the CAN-SPAM act.
37. Use Recognized “from” Name:
Use a “from” name which your recipients recognize easily. This will help them open your emails and will thus increase your email open rates.
38. Use Double opt-in:
Double opt-in means that the subscriber will confirm that they want to receive emails from you. You would not like to send emails to people who are not interested in your emails. This will lower your email open rate, increases the chances of your emails being reported as spam as well as reduces your reputation as an email sender thus reducing deliverability of your emails.
groupon_confirmation
39. Reference your Domain in Emails via SPF:
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is a standard for email authentication. It compares the sender’s actual IP Address to a list of IP Addresses authorized to send emails from that domain. If you reference your domain in your emails via SPF, there will be more probability that the emails will be able to avoid the Spam folder and make it to the inbox of the recipient, increasing the open rates.
DKIM record should be also be added properly for verification of from email address, from which email has been sent.
40. Stale List of Subscribers:
If your subscriber’s list is a little old, it is time to clean up the inactive or outdated emails. Email open rates tend to decline gradually, over the years as people tend to switch jobs, their interests and lifestyle changes, etc. It means that the email list gradually becomes invalid. You need to weed out such emails so that the inactive recipients do not bring your email open rate down.
41. Not Attracting New Subscribers:
If you are not attracting new subscribers regularly, the issue in the previous point is enhanced. With time, the old subscribers will become inactive or outdated and the email open rate will go southwards. Gaining new subscribers takes continual effort.
42. Tracking Issues:
As already discussed in the above topics, the tracking mechanism employed for marking an email as opened, is far from being accurate. It depends on the loading of a tiny graphics pixel in the email body. In case the graphics is not loaded in the email body, the email will not be marked as an open email. There can be multiple reasons why the graphic image is not loaded in the email body.
The email client generally blocks the images by default. Also, the email clients in applications like mobile or tablet only receive the text version of the email. The plain text version of the email does not support the tracking image download capabilities. The recipients may choose “not to download image” option.
Always request your subscribers to add your email address in their “address book” or in their “safe sender” list so that the graphic image can be downloaded automatically. Also, use “jpeg” images instead of “png” images as “png” images and not compatible with many email applications.
43. Mobile Optimization:
As the number of people using mobile devices to check their emails continue to grow explosively, a responsive email design becomes all the more critical. A responsive email design means that on whatever device an email is opened, the email will automatically adjust to fit itself based on the dimensions of the mobile device.
As per the statistics, 48% of emails are being checked on a mobile device (mobile, smartphones, tablets, etc). Moreover, 69% of people checking emails on their mobile devices tend to delete emails which does not render well on their devices. If your emails are not looking good on the mobile devices, people won’t bother to open them and you will be missing on the email open rate.
improve-email-clickthrough-rate01
Source: seopressor.com
Make sure that the email layout, design and images look good on the mobile device. Also, make sure that the images being used are compact and efficient so that it won’t take forever to load them on a mobile device. Use “jpeg” images as much as possible as “png” images are not compatible in many mobile devices.
44. Time of Delivery:
The time of delivery of the email can influence how many people open your email and thus can impact the email open rate. If you send your emails on a weekend, people are less likely to open them, at least not right away. On a Monday morning, people take time to catch up from the weekends. Also, after business hours, people are less likely to open their emails. So the best bet to send your emails is on a Tuesday after 12 pm.
As per the statistics available, the best day to send an email in order to get best email open rates is on a Tuesday after 12 pm.
Moreover, 23% of all email opens occur during the first hour of delivery. After 24 hours of delivery, the chances of opening an email drops below 1%. Mondays, Fridays and weekends are not the best days to send emails.
45. Seasonal Factors:
Seasonal factors too can have an effect in your email open rates. In the periods when the email volumes are high (like festivals, celebrations, important events), people might get choosy as to what to open in their crowded email inbox. As such, the email open rate might deteriorate. In contrast, when the email volumes are too low (periods like long holiday season, weekends), people do not bother to check their emails. In this case too, the email open rates go down.
46. Enhance Your Sender Score:
If you have a low sender score, this means that your reputation is not good in the ISP domains. A low score sender can be marked as a spammer and their email will get trapped in the spam folder rather than the inbox. As such, there will be no chance for your emails to be read or even opened.
senderScore
You can increase your reputation and can increase your sender score by adding credibility to your emails. An authenticated domain name, lower bounce rates, presence of an opt-out link, genuine content, credible links, engaged subscribers, lower reported emails, genuine and authenticated “reply to” email address, presence of a valid physical postal address adds credibility to your emails as well as enhance your sender score and reputation as an email sender.
You can check Sender Score from here.
47. Use of Automatically Triggered Emails:
Automatically triggered email are those emails which are triggered by some events or actions taken by the recipient. These emails can be triggered by events or actions such as:
  • A purchase made
  • A download done
  • A recipient joining a community (a welcome email)
  • A recipient becoming inactive (a reactivation email)
  • A recipient leaving their cart with an item in it (a purchase email)
Statistics shows that these types of automatically triggered emails have a 71% higher email open rates and 102% higher click rates than non-triggered emails.
Triggered emails are not only segmented but are also sent at a time when the recipient are interested in such types of emails, making them more relevant to the recipient.
48. Manage Your Email List:
An email list that is not well maintained and managed suffer from lower email open rates, higher inactive users and lower subscriber engagement. When the email list contains bad email addresses and inactive subscribers, email open rates will fall and bounce rates would increase. This can lead to the below mentioned two results:
  • Subscribers receiving emails which is not relevant to them
  • ISPs not delivering your emails because of reputation loss due to higher bounce rates
ISPs look into multiple factors while sending your emails.
  • Whom you are sending the emails
  • How frequently you are sending the emails
  • The bounce rate of your emails
  • The number of complaints for your emails
  • Your email open rate
  • Your email click rate
All these factors determine your reputation with your ISPs and affect whether your emails will be delivered in the recipient’s inbox or spam folder, if it is delivered at all.
49. Introduction of Separate Tab for Promotional Emails:
Gmail has introduced a new feature that which filters promotional emails into a distinct separate tab. The three tabs are titled “Primary”, “Social” and “Promotional” tabs. Gmail tries to filter the emails and put them into the third tab, the “Promotional” tab. This separates the promotional marketing mails from reaching the “Primary” tab, the inbox which the recipient generally checks.
gmail-inbox-tabs
The special feature of this new tab is that this tab is only visible in the browser view. It is not visible in the mobile devices like smartphones, tables and mobiles. Moreover, if a person is checking his or her promotional tab, that means they are genuinely interested in special offers and marketing messages and are more receptive to such emails.
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The concept of Micro-Deliverability in Email Marketing


Micro-Deliverability is a relatively new concept in the email marketing domain. It involves drilling down into deliverability by domains, or ISPs or SMTP Relay servers and then segmenting the email list or campaigns based on the results to get best deliverability and performance for the marketing campaigns.
The best SMTP relay service providers have the overall deliverability rates of above 96%, but these deliverability rates keep on fluctuating based on ISPs as well as time. By carefully tracking these fluctuations of deliverability trends based on ISPs and time, one can route their emails for different segments using SMTP delivery servers that deliver the best performance for that particular segment. Thus, using more than one email delivery system (Hybrid System) can significantly enhance your email marketing performance.
The concept of Micro-Deliverability in Email Marketing
Redundancy
By redundancy, we mean, having more SMTP relay servers ready for use than you actually use. This redundancy can be a great asset to have at the worst of times. When there is a temporary outage or significant drop in deliverability for a specific SMTP relay server (for a certain segment), redundancy gives you the flexibility to immediately switch the relay server for that segment without impacting performance and deliverability.
Email Filtering by ISPs and Deliverability Issues
Email filters are a fact of life, especially for an email marketer. They are a necessary evil to filter out spam. But sometimes, legitimate email messages are mistakenly filtered as spam or sent into junk box. This is the collateral damage of email filters. Many deliverability issues are caused by the sender’s reputation but some issues are related to the SMTP relay service providers too.
Why Email Filters are required in the First Place?
According to Symantec, nearly 70% of all email sent is spam.
These include phishing messages, malware, emails coming from spammers who leverage this channel for nefarious purposes. If no filter existed, all these emails would be delivered to the inbox. For every useful email, there will be two spam emails. This would make the whole email channel useless. This is the reason the ISPs filter emails.

Causes of Email Deliverability Issues

There are multiple reasons why a legitimate email ends up in a spam folder rather than the inbox. Some of these are related to the sender’s reputation while others are related to the email service provider the sender is using.
Sender Issues
Sender’s reputation is considered in deciding whether an email will reach an inbox or the spam folder. There are multiple factors that determine the sender’s reputation. These factors are as mentioned below:
1.Authentication
ISPs rely heavily on authentication to make sure that the stated sender is the actual sender of the email. There are three different authentication methods that are used by the ISPs to do the authentication:
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • Sender ID
  • Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)
These authentication methods allow the ISPs to compare email information with the DNS records about the sender. If the email information does not match the DNS information, there are more chances of the email landing in the recipient’s spam box rather than the inbox. If the sender’s authentication is not in place, the sender’s reputation will deteriorate.
2. Spam Complaints
If the recipients are reporting sender’s emails as spam, the sender’s reputation will deteriorate. Spam complaints should be less than 0.1% of the total sent volume for every email. If this rate is more than the 0.1% on a consistent basis, the sender’s reputation is bound to deteriorate.
3. Bounce Management
Repeatedly getting their emails bounced will reduce the sender’s reputation. It shows the ISPs that the sender’s email list is not clean. The industry standard is to remove hard bounces after one occurrence and soft bounces after three consecutive sends.
4. Recipient Engagement
A sender’s reputation gets damaged when the recipients to whom the sender is sending emails aren’t opening those emails. In other words, the clicking / opening rates are low. This shows that the recipients to whom the sender is sending emails are not interested enough about those emails.
SMTP relay Issues
There are SMTP relay issues due to which the email deliverability might get hampered. The most common issue is related to shared IP addresses. Although the ISPs are moving towards domain specific filtering, most ISPs still filter at an IP level. This means that if an IP address is sending emails which are perceived to be spam, all emails from that IP address will be blocked regardless of the domain it is sent from. Even from a dedicated IP address, which is used by a single entity, one can experience SMTP relay side deliverability issues.

Hindrances to achieve Optimized Micro-Deliverability

1.Scarcity of Micro-Deliverability Data
SMTP relays publish their overall deliverability rates on a monthly or a quarterly basis. They do not have resources to publish them more frequently. Even in these publications, the deliverability rates are overall rates, not by Domains/ISPs. These overall rates cannot be used for Micro-Deliverability optimization purposes.
2. Lack of Time
Even if the data would have been available for Micro-Deliverability Optimization purposes, the time taken to arrange that data and then use it for email segmentation purpose is unfeasible for the email marketers to practically carry them out.
3. Single ESP or SMTP Model
Most organizations tend to have a single ESP or SMTP model. This is because learning and using multiple ESP or SMTP relay interfaces, sending emails from multiple SMTP interfaces and aggregating the performance data from each one of them is time consuming and unfeasible, to say the least.

About Operion MailBlast

Operion MailBlast is an email marketing platform for digital marketing team. It integrates with multiple SMTP relay service providers and enables delivery of email campaigns to a list of opt-in emails. You can split test email deliveries across the relay servers and check reports, track email clicks, opens of each email campaign. It also has smart autoresponder and email list segmentation.
To support Micro-Deliverability in Emails, currently, Operion MailBlast allows integration with SMTP relay gateways like, Mandrill, SendGrid and MailGun. If you are sending email to a list of above 25,000 email subscribers, then, Micro-deliverability of the email through multiple SMTP gateways provide high email open rate.
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What is Warmup process and how to do it?

What is warm-up process ?
  • Warmup process is a name given to the process to build a good reputation for IP address.
  • This Process involves sending regular but small campaigns over a period of time & gradually increasing the volume of emails as ISP’s begin to form a positive reputation for the IP address.
  • Once you have warmed up your IP address successfully, you can send out much higher email volume & get it through the ISP’s filter effective.
  • If you are using Operion M, then there is need to warmup the IP address of your email relay delivery server, like Operion MailBlast, Mandrill, SendGrid, Sparkpost, Leadersend, Elasticemail and MailGun.
Why it is needed to Warm up the IP?
  • Certainly, it seems easier to send all your normal traffic over a new IP. Ramping up of cold IP will require some changes to your sending schedule, but mostly it’s a minor inconvenience.
  • IP warming is only needed if you are using your own dedicated IP address to send out emails campaigns.
  • If we’re sending less than 10,000 emails per month then it is unlikely that ISP’s will be concerned with your deliverability and therefore IP warming is necessary. If too much volume is sent too quickly, than many of the ISP’s will get concerned & the mail server will be compromised, and they will most probably route the messages to the spam folder instead of Inbox.
How to do Warmup Process?
  • First check whether warm up of your IP is required or not, incase of shared ip address, like for Operion MailBlast, Sparkpost, slight warmup is required if you are observing low email open rate.
  • After that, ensure your Email List is strong enough i.e no purchased lists or emails from people who have not opted in.
  • Split your list into smaller Segments. This will help in staying under your locating devices until you make a good sender score.
  • Make sure that SPF record for your sending domain name is appropriately verified.
  • Send emails to the most active customers first. This helps in having less Email bounce and more expected to open your messages, both of which are more essential for warming up IP address.
  • The key to warm up the IP address is to spread out initial sends over a multiple days. For example, If you plan on sending 40,000 emails a week, you recommend that you split your lists into at least four sublists with limit of no more than 10,000 recipients in each list. Email only one subscriber lists per day over the first few days.
  • A good rule of thumb for larger ramp-ups is to start your sending at 10,000 prospects per day. Assuming your bounce rate stays below 0.5% and your spam complaint rate stays below 0.1% on those sends, you can safely double your sending per day over the next few weeks until your intended sending volume is reached.
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High Email Spam Complaint Rate

What do you understand by a spam complaint?
A spam complaint takes place whenever a recipient clicks on the ‘report spam’ button in their email program.
How determination of “account reputation” and “email sending quota” carried out?
While you configure SMTP delivery server in your Operion MailBlast account, it automatically adds bounce and complaint files to your related SMTP delivery server account. After this, once you start sending emails through SMTP relay, it communicates the bounce and complaint information with your Operion MailBlast account list and campaign.
At your SMTP relay server, based on your bounce and complaint, your account reputation is calculated.
How to build reputation and improve quota?
After taking the steps towards preventing spam complaints, your account reputation will enhance and quota will improve automatically based on the new content sending patterns.
If you have been directed to this article, the Operion MailBlast Application must have noticed that you have a bad “spam complaint rate” record and need assistance to improve the same. You need to ensure that you adherence with transactional or bulk email best practices. It is very important that you go through this guide so as to improve your account reputation and sending quota, and to ensure that the emails you send through Operion MailBlast Application conforms to the Operion MailBlast Terms of Service”.
What is the normal complaint rates
Although spam complaints are an inevitable phenomena while sending emails over a period of time and is considered normal, industry standards state that the overall complaint rate should normally be below 0.1% of the total email volume. A large number of complaints can indicate that the email recipients do not recognize or recollect why they are receiving your emails, do not recall signing up for email from you, or their email addresses were not provided directly.
At certain spam complaint thresholds, ISPs may start routing all of your emails to spam folders, completely block your email or you as a sender, or blacklist Operion MailBlast’s sending IPs. Your SMTP delivery server actively monitors and manages the IP addresses being used for sending emails from the system. The application needs to send mail quickly, efficiently and with as little delay as possible from the receiving servers. The reputation of the IP addresses are of utmost importance for ensuring deliverability with high success rate for all of our users.
What causes a higher complaint rate
  • Usage of purchased, rented or third-party lists. These types of bulk email list sources are generally considered a bad source of email addresses because the intended recipients have not agreed directly to receive information from you, and may not be expecting your email at all. These recipients are less likely to read such emails and more likely to mark them as spam.
  • Lack of an unsubscribe link. A spam complaint is generally considered a very negative action, while using an unsubscribe link is considered a little less harmful. Giving recipients the option to unsubscribe or manage notification preferences (even for transactional emails) is recommended.
  • Old, nonfunctional / stale recipient email addresses. Normally, an email address has a very short lifespan. Recipients keep on changing jobs, changing names, and creating newer email addresses and deleting the old ones at will. As a result, there is a high probability that an email address can become invalid over time. As a rule of thumb, the emails which were collected more than six (6) months ago should be considered stale by default and should not be used for sending bulk emails.
  • Contents irrelevant to recipients. Content relevancy is important, especially for bulk or marketing emails. Recipients are normally overburdened with massive amount of emails and spam. If your content resembles a spam, are of no interest to them, or are not related to their business relationship with you, you run the risk of the subscriber reporting your message as a spam.
  • Sending too frequently. Only transactional emails should be triggered by an action (a purchase, password reset, username reminder, receipt, shipping notification, etc.) While sending bulk or marketing email, instead of sending huge amount of general content to all of your recipients, consider using merge tags and dynamic content to send more specifically intended personalized emails to your recipients.

How to prevent or at least reduce the spam complaints

Inclusion of unsubscribe link for all bulk and transactional emails. Although it seems that in many cases it might not make sense for recipients to unsubscribe from transactional emails, it is recommended to always give an unsubscribe link in all your emails. Including an unsubscribe option even in your transactional emails will let you get a feedback about how people are engaged with your emails and prevent sending to someone who has signaled that they do not wish to receive more emails. If you are sending bulk email, most countries require an unsubscribe link or other unsubscribe process. The United States, for example, requires the ability to unsubscribe in all bulk, commercial emails under CAN-SPAM.
Operion MailBlast application provides a List-Unsubscribe header for all emails sent through our system that include our automatic unsubscribe merge tag. The List-Unsubscribe header is actually a fallback option for recipients who do not want to receive emails but also do not want to classify them as a spam. If you prefer, you can use your own unsubscribe process or add your own List-Unsubscribe header in your message API request via the headers option.
Relevant marketing content. As for example, you would not like to send someone who registered for your “daily news headlines” website, updates from your “daily jokes blog”.
Do not use purchased, rented, or third-party recipient lists. Using a confirmed or double opt-in process for getting email addresses is considered an industry best practice although it is not strictly required. When you use the double opt-in method, you are targeting only those recipients who really want to hear from you and are expecting your emails.
Double opted-in lists have much higher engagement levels which translates to more opens and clicks and fewer spam complaints and bounces. You should always ensure that you are sending only to those recipients who have a prior business relationship with you or who have consented to receiving marketing emails directly from you if you are sending bulk email or newsletters.
Use of a proper reply-to email address. When setting the Reply-To header for your emails, make sure that proper authority in your organization has access to this email so that the recipient’s concern can be addressed in a proper way.
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