Re-Engagement Versus Spam: Drawing the Line

Re-engagement versus spam

 As we continue our series on re-engaging the B2C customer, the question arises as to where the line is drawn between sending enough emails to remind subscribers that you’re still around and inundating their mailbox to the point you become spam. Sure, once you cross that line they will remember exactly who you are, but that probably won’t be a good thing. With that being said, let’s address both schools of thought on the concept of where re-engagement ends and spam begins:

The Legally-Motivated School of Thought
Many email marketers are well-aware of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003, otherwise known as the CAN-SPAM Act, that states that all unsolicited commercial emails must be labeled and provide opt-outs for recipients. What many email marketers are not familiar with are the requirements for labeling and how the law defines “unsolicited” – Mainly because the law itself never outlines these definitions, therefore making the law difficult to enforce. Since spam is pretty much in the eye of the beholder, this leaves a lot of room for interpretation. In turn, some email marketers subscribe to the belief that “as long as I provide an opt-out, I can send to my heart’s content without legally being defined as spam.” Although this may work for a little while, eventually it will leave a dent in your deliverability rates.

The Practical School of Thought
Since there is no detailed description of what spam is or isn’t, it is understood that the gatekeepers that define spam are actually the recipients. Even if they did in fact opt-in to receive your emails, they can still flag your messages as spam. Obviously your subscribers will be more inclined to do so if you constantly blow up their inbox with marketing messages, which you should always keep in mind when determining the frequency of your mailings. Although, legally you could run re-engagement campaigns until deliverability begins to fail or spam reports start rolling in, it would behoove you not to operate your email marketing campaigns this way.

Regardless of which school of thought you choose to follow, always keep in mind who is the one controlling the definition of spam. We, our clients, Congress – Each of these entities has very little say in what is deemed as spam. Rather, it’s the owner of the email inbox you are sending to that has access to the “Flag As Spam” button and is the true decision maker. Therefore, when looking to re-engage your customers, approach it from this perspective: “What is the best way to draw them back in, not push them away?”


Sarah Zibanejadrad
Inbound Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts

More to explore...

Ready to See WhatCounts in Action?