There's the legal definition of spam—as outlined in CAN-SPAM—and then there's the real-world definition used by many of your subscribers: any piece of email I'd rather not receive. Even recipients who went to your website, signed up for your newsletter and confirmed their subscription might hit the spam button over an irrelevant message.

To help marketers keep that from happening, Marla Chupack offers this advice at the Email Transmit blog:

Manage expectations. Use a confirmation email to tell new subscribers what they can expect, the value your messages offer, and how often they will arrive. Recipients are less likely to think of your email as spam if it's exactly what you said you would send.

Make it easy to unsubscribe. "Always have an unsubscribe link in the footer," Chupack suggests, "and consider adding it to the header or some other more noticeable place." There's no upside to unengaged or hostile subscribers; it's much better to have one less address on your list than one more spam complaint to an ISP.

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