Ronny Jackson is a Republican Congressman representing Texas’ 13th district. Earlier this month he posted a tweet accusing Gmail, and by extension “Big Tech”, of suppressing Republicans by sending their messages straight to Spam. While I’m sure this will rile up his supporters, this tweet is patently false and easy to debunk if you’ve ever been involved in the email marketing industry.
If you have ever made a donation to a political candidate or cause, you most likely remember the inundation of email solicitations that follow. Once these organizations see that you have donated to their cause and have your email address saved, they want nothing more than for you to donate again. While engaging your donors in itself isn’t unethical or wrong, the ways in which some politicians go about these solicitations earn them a spot directly in the spam folder.
If you have in fact been added to one of these political email distribution lists at any time in the past 5-10 years, you have probably noticed certain common traits that make it no surprise they are ending up in spam folders.
Use of ALL CAPS in the subject line and body of the email
Use of fear tactics to coerce subscribers to make additional donations
An incredibly high frequency of email messages sent, sometimes upwards of 4-5 per day
ineffective/non existent unsubscribe links that do not actually remove an individual from the distribution list
As anyone who has spent time working in the email marketing industry knows, these are all unethical and disengaging email marketing practices. This strategy may work in the short term, but eventually these messages are going to be flagged by both individual subscribers and ESPs as spam. This is not a Republican vs Democrat issue, but rather an issue of email marketing ethics. Gmail isn’t making decisions based on political affiliations, they are making decisions based on the content and frequency of emails being sent.
My recommendation for Congressman Jackson, and any other public figures experiencing spam issues, is to read Loop7’s 2 part blog regarding Spam and Spam Traps as well as David Campbell’s RightInbox article, Gmail Spam Filter: Everything You Need to Know. As always, remember the golden rule: Email list health = email list wealth.