Kevin George March 26th, 2020

Impact of Abuse Emails on your Business Reputation

A typical day at work starts with a cup of your favourite beverage as you check your emails. You scan the emails quickly and notice many spam emails.

Your way to handle them is to delete them instantly, but some people take it a step further and mark them as spam. While marking emails as spam is a great tool for the recipients, from the sender’s perspective, it can have serious repercussions. 

According to Statista, the number of emails sent and received each day in 2020 is 306.4 and this number is likely to increase to 347.3 by 2023. 

This does more than just overcrowd inboxes; it becomes a source of constant stress. In an attempt to save time, people mark some emails as spam. This has a serious impact on your deliverability, which ultimately tarnishes your reputation.

Now that’s a conundrum! As a business, you have to send out emails to prospective clients to inform them of the services your business has to offer. You probably well designed email template that you circulate in your prospective client pool for convenience. However, once your emails and newsletters are marked as spam, inbox providers are informed that your business isn’t following the best practices of email marketing.

If your emails keep landing in the spam folder, the inbox providers will take strict action against you. If it happens, all your hard work will prove to be in vain. Your emails will automatically land in the spam folder of the recipient or even worse, never reach the subscribers.

So what should be your next course of action?

There are two major strategies you can follow to ensure your meticulously designed HTML emails don’t land in the spam folder and your subscribers find your content valuable. Let’s take a look at the tried and tested methods that can ensure your words reach the recipients.  

Stop Email Abuse

As a sender, the first step is to figure out who the complainer is and the best course of action is to remove the abuse emails and complainers from your list. You’ll have to use an email validation tool, which will scan your contacts to help identify the abuse emails. When you use such a system, you gain the upper hand. The tool will help you identify the email addresses that have marked several emails as spam and will likely do the same to yours. 

Here’s an image explaining how the tool works. You just have to mention the email address in the box and the tool will let you know whether the subscriber is a valid user or has marked several emails as spam. 

In case the result shows the status as “abuse”, you should immediately remove the subscriber from your list.

The industry standard for the average complaint rate of a sender should be below 0.1 percent. If you don’t want to face the repercussions of being reported, it’s the safest bet to check your email list with a validator and remove the trouble seekers as soon as possible.

You must also use this opportunity to take a look at your email hygiene. The complaint rate gives you insight into the quality of your content, too. Pay heed to the feedback and use it to devise your next plan of action.

Take Preventive Measures

The previous section talked about damage control and how you can recover from it. Here, we are going to discuss some preventive measures so your business’s reputation doesn’t take a hit. The process takes time, so you’ll need to be patient. If you follow the steps carefully, you’ll be able to avoid being in this situation ever again.        

  • Purge your email list and make sure no invalid emails or non-responders escape the cleanup. Do this at regular intervals so that your reputation score can remain high.
  • When you go for an opt-in policy, you ask the recipients how they want to receive your emails and what content they expect from your business. It is a great idea to have a double opt-in method that urges your subscribers to confirm the email address before subscribing. Doing so ensures that the user is genuinely interested in hearing from you. 

Here’s a nice example of a double opt-in email that thanks the user for signing up and asks them to verify their email address. 

  • Refrain from purchasing an email list because it’ll set you down the wrong path and can completely ruin your sender reputation.
  • Keep an eye on your bounce rate. If you ever get a hard bounce, all you need to do is add the email to your suppression list. You can even get tools that can do the job automatically for you. 
  • Give up your aggressive marketing ways and the recipients will be kind to you. Take a moment to put yourself in the recipients’ shoes and focus on how you would expect a business to approach you. Take inspiration from this experience and instead of pushing your ideas across with a salesy pitch, try and convince the subscribers with meaningful content. 
  • Make it an exciting experience for the subscribers to read your emails, by incorporating visuals. However, make sure you maintain the text to image ratio at 80:20. Sending an image-only email is a strict no-no, when it comes to bypassing spam filters. 
  • Businesses make it hard for people to leave the subscription list, which is why they resort to marking the emails as spam. In order to avoid tarnishing your reputation, make sure it’s easy for the subscribers to opt-out whenever they want. The best approach is to include the unsubscribe link in every email.   


These strategies can help save the reputation of your business and also ensure you stay on good terms with the inbox provider. As long as you work to keep the average rate within the set standard, your business will do just fine. If you’re still having issues with your email abuse and its recurring implications, it’s best to get external help. An email marketing agency would have all the tools and resources that are required to validate the status of your emails.   

Creator: Kevin George, Head of Marketing of Email Uplers

Kevin George

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, he loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *