Best practicesDeliverability

How Complaints and Bounces can impact Email Deliverability

By October 18, 2018 No Comments

Black Friday is among the biggest shopping days of the year… but we unfortunately refer to it as Blacklist Friday because that is usually what results for many email marketers!

This series will help you review your practices and make sure you got the best score in terms of deliverability.


If your recipients are marking your email as ‘spam’, your delivery is going to be in trouble. Spam reports are a direct reflection of how your email is received and what a lot of people don’t understand is CAN SPAM and Bill C-28 aren’t the gatekeepers; the ISP is, and the ISP listens to their users (your recipients).

If you want your email to get delivered, you cannot generate complaints. It’s as simple as that.

Here are a few ways to avoid user complaints:

  • Make sure every person on your list knows who you are and is expecting your email
  • Send a confirmation email to all new signups (if you are not doing this, you are in the dark ages of email marketing… seriously)
  • Have the common courtesy to ask people if they want to be on your mailing list, DO NOT sign them up automatically
  • Make your signup process crystal clear, explaining what someone is signing up for, when they will start receiving emails, and how often they can expect to hear from you.

Take Away: If people don’t want to receive your email or never wanted to receive it in the first place, they are going to complain.

Learn more:
How To Avoid Complaints
Spam Complaints – What’s the deal?


A ‘hard’ bounce is generated when you try to send an email to an address that does not exist. Sending to these invalid addresses repeatedly (whether knowingly or not) will seriously damage your delivery. You must ensure they are removed and stay removed.

If you haven’t used the list in a while (3-6 months) or you are thinking of reviving an old list, you need to be very careful. ISPs monitor the number of hard bounces you generate very closely and too many will affect your delivery and cause blocks.

  • Confirm the address exists on signup by sending a confirmation email
  • Ensure you are processing hard bounces correctly
  • Send on a regular basis

Take Away: If you aren’t removing the bad eggs from your hen house, it’s going to get pretty stinky.

Learn more: Complaints, bounces and unsubscribes: what you should expect

Read also:

>How Spam Traps and Blacklistings can impact Email Deliverability
>How Engagement and Content can impact Email Deliverability
>How Reputation and Authentication can impact Email Deliverability
>How Technology and Compliance with Laws can impact Email Deliverability

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Author Kevin Huxham

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