Somehow I ended up on a spam mailing list. I started getting emails that were obviously spam but seemed harmless. I skimmed the email. At the bottom it said, “To unsubscribe respond to this email with ‘unsubscribe’ in the subject line.”

Now, if I had put more than a second’s thought into this before I did just that, I might have realized that this was a ploy to see if I had an active email address. Once he got my response, he knew he had a “live one” so to speak, and now he keeps emailing me. Daily. Multiple times a day.

I keep hitting the spam button to mark it as spam, but Google sends me an automated pop-up message every time: “You are marking this message as spam, but you communicated with this person. Are you sure it’s spam?”

I have to tell Google that yes, it’s really spam. Every time.

This isn’t an anti-spam post. We all know how annoying spam is and no one running a legitimate business would use that tactic. The point is, now I’m in this feedback loop with Google because I sent one email to an email address that now continues to contact me. I have only option a) delete the email, or option b) continue to tell Google that yes, it is spam even though I sent an email to that address.

There’s no option c, where Google might manually review the communication and see that I tried to unsubscribe and then the guy kept emailing me. Or where I might fill out a form explaining what the communication I had with this email was. Or for Google to just trust that the first 10 times I marked this message as spam, I was telling the truth and it really is spam.

So…how easy is it for you to offer an option c? Will you take the time to personally look into what is going on with your customer service issues or complaints? Will you create a way for people to actually get their problems solved instead of just going along in the same path simply because that’s the path you’re on?

Email marketing is one of the best ways to build a brand and maintain regular contact with your customers. You’ve grown your email list and are ready to send out emails on a regular basis. Don’t the things in this following list if you want to keep your emails out of the spam folder.

Add email addresses without their permission.
You know that everybody out there wants your emails whether they’ve opted in or not.

Send too many emails.
As soon as people sign up, send them emails multiple times a day, every day. It’s not annoying at all.

Continue to send emails after people have unsubscribed.
Tell people that you got their unsubscribe request but it will take days to process that request, because email management isn’t automated these days and you have to wait for the carrier pigeon to deliver the message to your assistant, who is on top of a mountain in Timbuktu. They’ll believe it and continue to be patient while getting even more emails they don’t want.

Don’t segment your lists.
If you’re a party planner, for instance, send your corporate events clients the same emails you send to your wedding clients. They’ll love that.

Include broken links.
Assuming your emails actually contain information your customers want, don’t check it before it goes out so that the link to get to your featured product is broken. They’ll definitely keep trying to purchase that product and won’t go to another store with links that actually work.

Include grammar mistakes.
People won’t notice or care that you didn’t take the time to proof your work before you expected them to read it.

Send the same email over and over.
Maybe they didn’t see it the first 10 times you sent it. Send it again.

Send out boring content.
If you don’t have anything useful to say, say it anyway.

Use spammy headlines.
Yeah, that will get their attention.

You wouldn’t actually do these things, would you?

Obviously, we do not recommend doing the things we’ve listed here. Blast out emails to everyone is a bad idea. Emails can help you attract customers, not push them away. Having someone’s email address is a relationship of profound trust. Personalize the email for your audience. Respect that relationship and you’ll keep your email friends on your list and keep your emails out of the spam folder.