Well, it’s that time of year again. The turkeys are being prepared, winter holiday decorations have emerged, and email marketers have started feeling the itch to remove any and all segmentation parameters to unleash a tidal wave of marketing mail upon their entire list.

I wanted to take this opportunity to remind all senders that although the fourth quarter is the busiest in terms of email volume, it’s also the busiest for email complaints. Each year, the deliverability team here at SendGrid notices this spike in spam complaints for many of our customers. It’s understandable to want to send email early and often during this time, as more than ever senders need to fight to not only make it to their customers’ inboxes, but also remain “on top” of the inbox.

But as a word of caution, there is a significant spam complaint increase (sometimes several times) during the fourth quarter. If, as a marketer, your reputation is damaged in they eyes of the receiving ISPs, you could miss out on getting any of your mail delivered during this time– let alone the huge increase in engagement and sales you were hoping for.

Reduce your email complaints this holiday season

Some may argue that recipients are somewhat trained to expect the huge increase in email, and to some extent perhaps become numb or more accepting of companies that ignore recipients’ preferences than they would during other times throughout the year. However, it’s very important that senders also understand the risk they run by becoming overly aggressive in mailing frequency and/or ignoring overt recipient signals like spam complaints or spikes in unsubscribes.

Pay attention to the more implied, less-direct signals, like drops in email engagement throughout the entire holiday season, and make adjustments when you see your engagement start to drop. Find out if you’re sending too much email.

So again, while it’s understandable that senders want to be as aggressive as possible, it’s important that the efforts are still very deliberate and considerate. Deliverability becomes that much more crucial during the holiday sending time, and it needs to be just as baked into email strategy as the product within the email itself. Make your messages as relevant as possible, with personalized content to make your email stand out from the rest.

Curious to see how your email engagement and spam complaints rate against others in your industry? Download SendGrid’s Global Email Benchmark Report. Happy Holiday Sending!


Seth Charles
An email nerd at heart, Seth has been working in the deliverability and marketing space for six years. He loves solving problems, helping educate SendGrid's customers, and being a part of the email community. As a sixth-generation Coloradan, he always enjoys being outside (especially if it means getting a round of golf in), and thinks John Elway should be the Emperor of Colorado.