What does spamming mean? Anyone who’s spent more than a few minutes on the internet has at least a vague idea about what it means.
It’s virtually inseparable from the internet experience, something we’ve come to accept as normal.
First of all, the main hallmark of spam emails is that they are always unsolicited.
They’re annoying, promotional in nature, sent in bulk, and they come whether you want them or not.
So, if we define spam emails as unsolicited mass messages, how do we define spamming? Well, spamming can be defined as the act of sending these messages. Thus, the person who engages in such activity can aptly be called (you guessed it) a spammer.
As mentioned above, spamming is typically commercial (and annoying) in nature. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always fraudulent or malicious, but it certainly can be.
So, what does spam actually mean? How does it differ from other emails? What does spamming mean in the context of email marketing?
Read on to find out the answers to all of these questions and more.
Why Is It Called Spamming?
So, what does spamming mean? Where did it come from?
The term “spam,” which describes this type of invasive bulk messaging, refers to a Monty Python skit.
The skit depicts a group of loud diners in Viking costumes repeatedly proclaiming that everyone present must eat Spam, like it or not.
An email spammer will flood your inbox with unwanted messages in a similar way.
Whenever it’s spelled with a capital S, the word “Spam” refers to the canned pork product that the Vikings mentioned above enjoyed. When speaking about the endless stream of unsolicited emails you never asked for, use a lowercase S.
What Are the Different Kinds of Spam?
Email spam comes in a variety of different shapes and forms. We’ve compiled a brief list of what you can expect to encounter in the world of spam:
This is the most common type of spam. Email spam clogs up your inbox and gets in the way of reading the emails you want to read without distractions. On the bright side, you can just ignore these emails and move on.
Also referred to as “spamdexing”, this type of spam involves exploiting search engine optimization (SEO) methods for ranking purposes. The goal is to artificially increase search rankings for a website belonging to the person doing the spamming. Generally, SEO spam falls into two categories:
Content spam occurs when spammers stuff their pages full of popular keywords, usually unrelated to their own niche. As mentioned above, spammers do this with the purpose of ranking their site higher in search results. Another form of content spam is rewriting existing content to add substance to a given website.
Ever stumbled upon a forum post or a blog comment with irrelevant links? It’s called link spam. That’s spammers trying to drive traffic to their websites using a mechanism known as “backlinking”.
Social Networking Spam
Social spam is a form of unwanted content that typically appears on social networking services. It can also appear on social bookmarking sites, and on any website featuring user-generated content such as comments, chat, etc.
Social networking spam can appear in a range of shapes and forms, including:
- Bulk messages
- Malicious links
- Hate speech
- Fraudulent reviews
- Profanity, etc.
This type of spam usually comes in the form of an SMS message. It can also pop up as a push notification, which spammers use to draw attention to their offers.
This type of spam is similar to email spam, but it is quicker. It involves sending spam over instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Snapchat.
Why Are You Getting Spammed?
The sad truth is, you can’t completely prevent getting spam in email unless you quit the internet. But why do you keep getting it even though you didn’t sign up for anything?
Blame it on corporate greed. There are a lot of companies that sell email addresses and all kinds of contact info to whoever is willing to pay for it.
The problem culminated in 2018, prompting the EU to finally pass legislation to stem the bleeding.
The so-called Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) consists of a series of rules and regulations. These regulations outline what companies are “allowed” to do with your personal contact info.
But what makes spamming so attractive for less-than-ethical email marketers and advertisers? Well, it’s cheap.
There is almost no cost involved for spammers in sending emails to as many people as they can find. They will easily see a return on their investment even if a few recipients respond favorably to the campaign.
In addition, spammers are difficult to prosecute. They often use spoofing to hide their identity from internet service providers and recipients.
Email Marketing VS Spamming
So, what does spamming mean in the context of email marketing?
There’s a thin line separating spamming from email marketing. As mentioned above, some of the main characteristics of spam emails are that they are unsolicited and sent in bulk.
However, sending unsolicited or bulk emails on their own does not necessarily qualify as spam.
Because unsolicited emails can simply be cold emails that companies send to prospective customers.
As for bulk emailing, big companies often do that to get their newsletters or promotional materials in front of their potential clients and customers.
It is when you combine “unsolicited” and “bulk” that you are officially crossing that thin line separating email marketing from spamming.
As an email marketer, you should also keep in mind that recipients can mark your messages as spam even if they subscribed voluntarily.
It could be that:
- They don’t recall opting in for your email list
- They don’t find your content engaging
- They can’t find the unsubscribe button
Whatever the case, that can seriously hurt your sender’s reputation and harm your business long-term. So, what is the solution?
How Not To Become a Spammer
Creating valuable, more engaging, and personalized content for your customers is a great place to start.
According to a survey, 58% of recipients won’t open an email if it doesn’t look interesting or relevant to them.
Moreover, 64% of all respondents said they are more likely to open an email coming from someone they know and trust.
So, how to prevent your emails from landing directly in the spam folder?
Create short and catchy subject lines
Short, catchy, and easy-to-remember subject lines tend to get higher click-through rates (you should really do your CTR calculation on a regular basis).
They need to be attention-grabbing and clear so that recipients know exactly what the content of the email is about. Check out these tips for writing subject lines for newsletters that will skyrocket your open rates.
It’s also a good practice to use a company’s logo in your email signature to identify yourself as an official representative of your company.
Most people can easily tell that they are receiving an email from a business because of the sender’s logo.
Another important tip is to make sure you don’t include any spammy terms like “Free” or “Limited” in your subject line. Also, keep in mind that subject lines ALL IN CAPS don’t fare well either.
Last but not least, you should consider using professional email templates to ensure consistency.
Send Personalized Emails
Many companies use automated email marketing software to send personalized emails to their customers.
These tools are ideal for any email marketer looking to:
- Save time and money
- Get rid of manual tasks
- Automatically segment their lists and send personalized content
So, how does it work?
A tool like Mailvio will allow you to segment your entire email list into smaller groups based on a number of criteria, such as:
- Previous purchases, etc.
Using this information, you can create personalized content that matches the recipient’s interests and needs. More personalized content means better engagement, which means people will be less likely to send your emails to their spam folder.
Include “Unsubscribe” Button
Do you give your subscribers the option to unsubscribe? If you don’t, you are actually committing a crime.
The CAN-SPAM act of 2003 stipulates that you provide that option at the bottom of your newsletters. Make it easy for people to unsubscribe and send them
Otherwise, you not only risk legal issues but also furious email responses or something even worse.
Send Relevant Content
If people enjoy your emails, they will less likely mark them as spam. It is as simple as that.
That’s why you need to ensure that each message you send adds value for recipients.
Once again, segmenting your email list with a tool like Mailvio will help you do that. Make sure you segment your lists properly and send only what your clients need. Sending emails that don’t pertain to them will lead to them stopping opening your emails altogether.
You should aim to abandon the bulk emailing practice in favor of a more customized strategy. Adding value to customers, rather than annoying them with irrelevant content, will keep toy emails away from the spam folder.
Send Your Emails to Organic Lists
Buying lists has long been the go-to method for organizations that don’t have the patience to build their subscriber lists organically.
That process, however, can increase your spam rates, and in most cases get you blacklisted from email clients.
Sure, it might take longer to build a list of subscribers who opted to receive messages from you. However, it’s definitely the right way to go.
Because doing so will significantly cut the number of recipients who mark your emails as spam.
As mentioned above, spam emails are an unavoidable part of the internet experience and the modern email marketing world.
Spam emails can certainly be annoying if you are on the receiving end.
On the other side of the spectrum, every email marketer dreads ending up in the spam folder, and for good reason.
If it happens one too many times, you can easily get blacklisted by major email clients like Gmail and Outlook.
You don’t want that to happen, do you?
So, take the time to learn how to send personalized emails. Using a tool like Mailvio will help you create personalized emails that people will be happy to read.
Have any questions? Please feel free to get in touch with us via the comments section below.
Vladimir is a passionate content writer and digital marketing enthusiast. With over 3 years of experience in the field, he loves sharing his insights on topics ranging from content marketing and SEO to social media strategy. When he’s not writing, you can find Vladimir exploring the great outdoors or experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. Connect with him on LinkedIn to stay updated on his latest articles and adventures.