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There’s a common belief that all email marketing is SPAM email and that promotional emails are clogging our inboxes from marketers competing to stay top of mind.

The thing is, this belief doesn’t really match up to reality. A lot of marketers will say “We really don’t want to SPAM our customers or people in our database”, but this intention seems to get lost in the weeds.

As email users, we’re still convinced that SPAMMY email tactics are still at the heart of email marketing.

Could it be that the overwhelming majority of SPAM email comes from fake websites that don’t compare to the presence of a real company trying to engage with their prospects? Well, maybe.

Here are 5 real, tangible reasons why SPAM email is dead.

SPAM Email Costs Money, A Lot of Money

If there’s a company who wants to email as many people as possible, as often as possible, regardless of how qualified they are, there are a couple assumptions we could make about them:

  • They’re new to email marketing and aren’t familiar with the cost associated with emailing contacts
  • Email reputation is completely foreign to them (more on that later)
  • They’re aware of their email malpractices but don’t give a shit – this kind of email marketing approach will get shut down by most email service providers (ESPs)

Email marketers want to email as few people as possible per send. Then, over time we evaluate contacts who haven’t been contacted in a while and send them a re-opt-in email.

Once disengaged contacts are identified and don’t re-opt-in, we remove them from my database.

Why would an email marketer want to remove people from their database?

ESPs usually base their price on the number of contacts in a database. When we’re talking about using a HubSpot Pro account with 35,000 contacts we could be paying thousands of dollars per month just for the portal.

Who has that kind of money to invest in communicating with contacts that don’t want to be contacted!?

No way sir, if I send an email to someone and they don’t engage with it, I notice. If that happens multiple times, I remove them from my database. My clients absolutely cannot afford contacts who aren’t opening my emails.

SPAM Email Destroys Reputations

Ever notice how every email in your SPAM folder looks the exact same?


The damage done by SPAMMY practices is difficult to recover from. Campaign Monitor wrote an article about how to approach fixing this damage. For our purposes, the key takeaway is that it’s very, very hard to rectify. A lot of email marketers are employed at agencies where they work with numerous clients and probably don’t have time to go through the process of email reconstruction.

That said, most (if not all) of these marketers aren’t going to engage in SPAMMY tactics because they don’t have the bandwidth to deal with the repercussions.

You Email Service Provider Probably Won’t Let You SPAM

If you’re sending bulk emails you’re probably using an ESP like MailChimp or HubSpot. ESPs like these have strict guidelines in their Terms of Use (see HubSpot’s and MailChimp’s for reference).

Not only is it expensive and time-consuming to send SPAM, but in some (maybe even all) cases it’s impossible to maintain a SPAMMY email strategy.

For some context, let’s talk about why HubSpot and MailChimp care so much about SPAMMY emails.

When you send an email through HubSpot or MailChimp you’re sending it from their server. Emails that are sent from their server are going to contribute to their email reputation. These two ESPs can probably say that using their services will help you get into your contact’s inbox because they have a solid reputation.

They have an economic incentive to remove any SPAMMERS who are hurting their email reputation. So if you SPAM through these ESPs your account will get frozen and likely removed.

There is No Revenue in SPAM

It’s pretty hard to see when your emails are not being delivered. Email clients aren’t required to share where an email was delivered (for example the inbox or SPAM folder).

The only way to tell if email sends are regularly getting filtered into the SPAM folder is by watching email deliverability metrics. If you see that your email metrics are steadily declining, then you’re probably experiencing some inbox placement issues which could be due to SPAMMY email practices like buying lists.

The thing is, this kind of trend will be database wide. Meaning even email addresses that you gathered from organic opt-in measures will probably filter messages to the SPAM folder. This results in fewer opens, and even fewer clicks, which means less traffic to a website.

Email marketers know this. They also know that these email deliverability metrics are used to determine the profitability of email.

Bad email metrics mean diminishing revenue from email. Diminishing revenue from email can put a marketer in a tough spot requiring them to defend their employment. Which takes us to reason 5.

Email Marketers are Paid to Market, Not SPAM

At its core, email marketing is about nurturing and qualifying leads. In this process, we inform newly converted contacts about ways to satisfy their needs.

We’ll use information gathered from form submissions to segments contacts into lists where important traits are grouped together. Then, we’ll use these lists to send emails that contain content relevant to the contacts based on the important traits upon which the lists are generated.

Over time, we’ll introduce them to new content offers or events. Our central goal is to send qualified leads to sales and disqualified leads to a suppression list.

This process keeps our sales funnel clean and occupied by engaged, qualified contacts. This makes leadership teams happy and ensures sustainable employment for sales and email marketing teams. Hooray.

Email lists aren’t purchased and segmentation is based on voluntary information gathered from contacts.

SPAM tactics lead to needlessly stressful work environments. Some of the best email marketers will establish a double opt-in process for all email addresses. This can result in ~40% open rates on emails …talk about a happy marketing and leadership team.

If you’re very concerned about getting SPAMMED from companies, or how SPAMMY your approach to marketing is, I would encourage you to consider how dead SPAM email actually is.