How do I lower my complaint rate?

If you find that your complaint rate is getting a little too high, it's important to take a look at what might be causing it.

Keep in mind that a high complaint rate can affect the deliverability of your messages, and if your complaint rate remains at an excessive level, your account may be terminated to prevent further unwanted messages from being sent.

While each list is different, there are some common solutions that you might consider when you are working to lower your complaint rate.

When Collecting Subscribers

  1. Use Confirmed Opt-In

    Sometimes it takes only one incorrect email address on a list to cause issues. If someone repeatedly receives messages from you they did not request, they very well could mark each message they see as SPAM.

    The only way to know 100% that each and every address receiving messages on your list belongs to someone who requested your information is to use the Confirmed Opt-In feature.

  2. Don't Take Permission For Granted

    When adding subscribers to your campaign, take a moment to think about what kind of permission was given to receive email messages from you.

    Has each and every person specifically requested to receive email messages from you? Was it clear to them that they were doing this when you got their permission? If not, simply don't add them to your list.

    Read more on acceptable and unacceptable lead sources in our Knowledge Base.

  3. Check Your Traffic Sources

    Just as you need to make sure that people on your list have asked to receive email from you, you also need to ensure that the people who are coming to your website are coming for the right reasons.

    Purchasing traffic can have negative consequences, as many services that sell traffic, even if that traffic is marketed as being "targeted" or industry-specific, often generate a lot of bogus results or people who did not come to your website intentionally. Even if these people do sign up to your list, they often won't remember visiting your site in the first place, causing them to not recognize your messages and potentially mark them as spam.

  4. Set Expectations

    Tell your subscribers what they can expect to receive.

    If subscribers sign up thinking that they will get one thing, and you end up sending them another, they may report your messages as spam. Laying out the basics up front can avoid this problem - include information about the content you'll send, and how often you will be sending it to them.

When Sending Messages

  1. Make It Easy To Unsubscribe

    People are going to unsubscribe from your list. That being the case, you want to make sure that they know how to do that, and feel comfortable with the unsubscribe process. If they can't easily unsubscribe, or they don't trust your unsubscribe method, they are likely to mark your message as spam.

    One strategy for making the unsubscribe process easier is to place an unsubscribe link at the top of your message. In AWeber, just use {!remove_web} anywhere in your message to create an unsubscribe link.

  2. Watch Your Frequency

    Sometimes, subscribers mark messages as spam because they feel they are getting an overload of messages, which is obviously bad. On the other hand, rarely receiving messages can cause subscribers to forget who you are and why you are sending them messsages.

    Testing different frequencies will help you to see what performs best for your campaign.

  3. Include Only When Appropriate

    If you are including multiple lists in your broadcasts, be sure that the information you are sending is applicable and related to what subscribers in all the included lists signed up for.  If it is not exactly what they originally requested, this may cause complaints.

      If you include lists, make sure that your "from address" is the same so subscribers recognize where those emails are coming from - seeing an email from an address they don't recognize can cause subscribers to think that you are sending spam.

  4. Maintain Consistency

    Maintaining a consistent image, along with sending consistent content, makes sure that your subscribers will recognize your messages - if your campaign becomes inconsistent, your messages may be seen as spam.

    • Permission is a required foundation for getting email messages delivered, but it is not the only necessary component of an effective campaign that avoids complaints.

      SPAM may have many definitions dependent on the perspective of its definer, but for deliverability the most important perspective is that of the ISP delivering your messages. Increasingly these services are defining SPAM as anything their users have expressed that they don't want in their inbox using the "Mark as SPAM" button.

      Read more on how to maintain relevancy once you've gotten permission from subscribers - hold to the expectations that you set when your subscribers signed up.

    • When subscribers receive email and they do not know why they got it, they are very likely to think that the message is spam.

      So remind them! You can use personalization options like {!add_url} to provide the URL of the website that your subscribers signed up on, or just explain the purpose of the list.

    • Finally, make sure that you are using a from address with a domain (that's the part after the @ symbol) that is the same as your website. For instance, if your website was you should have an email address like "".

      Using a from address that your subscribers will recognize will not only improve your deliverability, but also help maintain a consistent message to your subscribers, letting them know who is contacting them and giving them an address to reply to.

List Maintenance

  1. Launch a Reengagement Campaign

    Subscribers who have been on your list for a long time may lose interest in your messages, or even forget who you are, especially if they haven't heard from you in a long time.

    Sending a message targeted specifically towards these people can help you recover those subscribers - for more advice on setting up a campaign like this, take a look at this blog post on reengaging inactive subscribers.

  2. Remove Inactive Subscribers

    If you can't get those subscribers to reengage with your list, it may be best to stop sending to them.

    Sending to subscribers who are no longer interested in what you have to offer are much more likely to report your messages as spam. For a step by step walkthrough on identifying and removing inactive subscribers, consult our knowledge base article.

Contact Us

Finally, if you have any questions about lowering your complaint rate in general or any of these methods specifically, ask us!

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