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Email Marketing Blacklists

What are they and how to avoid them

Landing on an email blacklist can have grave consequences for your business. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to put things right if you have ended up on one or numerous IP or domain blacklists.

These steps include amending your sunsetting policy (this being to remove email addresses who are no longer engaging with your email marketing). Looking at your address collection practises and asking for a delist if possible. Read on to find out more about doing email marketing without being blacklisted in the first place.

Things to avoid

The key thing to avoid in any email marketing strategy is to email people who haven’t been asked to be included within your list. Sending email marketing to people who have not asked to receive it is the most common cause of your company domain name being blacklisted.

Purchased lists are more often than not the cause of your company domain name being blacklisted. The golden rule here is to avoid using purchased lists of email addressses. Typically these lists do not contain opted in email addresses, this results in a high level of email spam complaints. These complaints then filter back to the email service provider (ESP), who will then request a blacklisting for the sender.

Including attachments in your email can also be very risky and frequently leaves company email addresses stuck on blacklists. You should also test your email rigorously to make sure you haven’t unwittingly embedded a virus inside your messages. Maybe you have seen a large number of hard bounces recently? If so, there may be an issue with your data. You should include an unsubscribe option in every email you send out and make sure you are not sending out emails too frequently.

Are you on a blacklist?

To find out whether you have already been blacklisted, run your IP address through at least two or three email blacklisting checkers. You are also less likely to end up on a blacklist if you ask subscribers to add your address to their contact list. This process is known as whitewashing. Another important step to take regularly is to clean your subscriber list. If you keep sending out messages to non-existent addresses, there’s a very big chance you will end up on a blacklist.

Be careful with content

There are several words and terms that you should avoid adding to the content of your email, including the subject line. These include things like ‘free’, ‘win’ and ‘opportunity’. Many IP addresses have found their way onto blacklists because of the use of these terms. Always avoid BCCing your list and try to keep graphics, flash and images to a minimum when creating your messages. Uppercase content should also be avoided, as messages with these are often flagged for spam. Keep uppercase words out of the body of the text as well as the subject line.


Act quickly if you have been blacklisted

Various DNSBL sites will tell you whether you are on a blacklist. You can use them by entering your IP address before following the instructions for removal. It’s important to take action as soon as possible. The quicker you are to react, the more favourably you’ll be seen. Remember, the job of blacklists isn’t to make things hard for senders.

Blacklists are primarily concerned with keeping spam to a minimum and reducing frustration for recipients. You are much less likely to avoid being blacklisted if you focus on sending out useful content to people who have opted-in and who are likely to be interested in it.

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