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By Louis Chatoff

Nothing strikes fear in the heart of an email marketer like the thought of a recipient hitting the spam button. All that time spent on creating content, sending and reviewing test messages, only to have someone completely reject the message as “Junk.” It truly is a cold, hard world.

But what is a recipient to do? Hit delete? That’s like shoeing away a fly with the back of the hand – it will be back. Or even worse, use an unsubscribe link? That might let the sender know that they have reached a valid email address.

Do not blame the recipient! They know the definition of spam - "unsolicited commercial or bulk e-mail." And guess what? Your opinion does not count! If the recipient believes the message is unwanted or unknown, the big bad button on the top of the email client is going to be pushed.

Since you can only control what happens before you hit the send button, try these steps:

Follow the golden rule of email marketing: never send to anyone who did not give you explicit consent to email them. As I mentioned above, recipients are now conditioned to use the Spam button as a way of disposing of unwanted and unknown email messages.

Do not send to old addresses that have been sitting idle in some database. This is like going up to an adult on the street and telling them you were their preschool teacher and asking if they remember you.

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