What is SPAM?
Abiding by that definition will help you avoid jail and federal fines. But it WON'T help you get your messages delivered to the inbox.
To get your messages actually delivered, you'll have to abide by the definition set by the email industry itself:
If it's UNSOLICITED, it's SPAM.
As a Result...
ONTRAPORT is a permission-based marketing tool. This means that you're only permitted to send email to contacts that have requested to get specific content from you.
A Fair Warning
If your contacts did NOT opt-in on YOUR website, or otherwise specifically give YOU permission to email them, you MAY NOT add their email addresses to ONTRAPORT.
That means, if you...
rented or purchased a list of 'opt-in leads'
got a list of names and emails from a third party
copied them off some website
...you may not email them from our system. Doing so will get your account suspended immediately.
Of course, these rules apply only to email, not postcards. Using postcards is a great way to build your email list... send 'em a card, direct them to a landing page, offer something of value as a bonus for signing up to your list, and THEN follow up with your nice, clean opted-in list.
How Do We Know Who's Abusing the System?
As a professional email service provider, it's critical to our success that we only allow quality, permission-based senders to email from our servers. So, we very closely monitor the situation all-day, everyday.
We have agreements with all the major ESPs (that is, mailbox providers like AOL, Yahoo, etc) that allow us to see who is complaining (clicking 'this is spam') about which emails. We also monitor bounce rates, which emails are getting filtered by spam systems, inbox delivery rates over dozens of mailbox providers worldwide, and more.
Further, we monitor imported contact lists and the content of your messages to catch spammy garbage before it heads out the door.
Bottom line: if you don't have permission to email the people in your list, we'll know it and you'll hear from us. If the problem is egregious, we'll close your account immediately. If it's egregious and we know you that you're deliberately and continuously violating our terms of service, we'll charge you for the time we have to spend de-smearing our reputation and will close your account.
What are Acceptable Complaint and Bounce Rates?
Acceptable complaint rates differ by ISP, but .25% is about average. Yes, that's only 2.5 complaints per 1000 emails sent. Seem low? It's really not... high-quality senders consistently keep their complaint rates under .15%
Bounces are another issue. You'll need to keep your bounce rates well below 8% to stay out of hot water. Normally, you'd only see bounce rates this high with an old list. Once cleaned up, you shouldn't see anything above 2% ever.