How to Prevent Marketing Emails from Being Blacklisted

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By Boris Dzhingarov

Crafting the perfect email for your email campaign is hard work. You have to write the copy and format it, include relevant images and calls to action, choose the correct segment to send it to, and then send it. Once you do all this, you expect the recipients to open the email, benefit from it and, hopefully, click on your call to action. All of this cannot happen if the email does not reach the recipients’ inboxes. This happens when your email is blacklisted. In this article, we will be looking at some things that can lead to your marketing email being blacklisted, and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

What is Email Blacklisting?

Email blacklisting happens when your email is blocked or stopped from reaching a recipient’s inbox. The emails that end up in these blacklists do so if the IP addresses they are sent from are known for sending spam emails. Email service providers, internet service providers, mailbox providers, and anti-spam vendors all have blacklists they use to decide if an email is spam or not.

Lots of spam complaints and bad email lists are two of the major reasons why an email or IP address is blacklisted. Spam complaints happen when people report your email as spam. This can happen for all types of email lists, even ones where the recipients have opted in and agreed to receive the email.

If a lot of the emails you send bounce, that is an indication that some of the recipients have not opted in, or your email list is not current. This is very common in cases where a company purchases an email list, something that no one should ever do because of its ramifications.

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Lastly, if your email address grows large very fast, some ISPS and email service providers will suspect you have purchased the email list and are likely sending unwanted emails.

So, what can you do to stop your email from being blacklisted?

Ensure Email Opt-in

Many email services now provide a double opt-in feature that all marketers should use. When using this feature, anyone who subscribes to an email list is sent a confrontation email. They have to click or open a link inside the email to confirm their subscription.

Double opt-in keeps your email list clean because you will be sure that everyone on the list is a real person and not a bot. Double opt-in also helps confirm that a subscriber actually wants to receive your emails. This reduces the potential for a person reporting your email as spam because someone who wants to receive your emails is less likely to do so.

Personalize Your Emails

Spammers do not take the time to personalize their emails because they send their emails to a larger number of people. Additionally, they may not have the data to do so because they might not have the names of the email address’ owners. A legitimate company should have them from when a subscriber opted in.

To personalize your emails, you can use a recipient’s name on your subject line and the salutation. Using their name on the subject line increases the likelihood of them opening the email, which is great from a marketing standpoint, and using their name in the salutation reduces the chance they will report that email as spam.

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Add an Unsubscribe List

Including an unsubscribe list somewhere in your email is one of the anti-spam laws that everyone doing email marketing should do. If you do not do this, your email and IP address might be blacklisted.

Also, ensure the unsubscribe process is as smooth as possible for your audience. If you provide an unsubscribe link and then make the process of unsubscribing convoluted, that annoys people. These annoyed people will report your email as spam the next time they receive it, therefore, leading to a higher likelihood of being blacklisted.

Be Aware of the Words You Use

The words you use on the email’s subject and inside the email can also determine whether you land on a blacklist. Certain words and phrases used by scammers such as “free” and “money-back guarantee”, especially when used out of context, will get your email blacklisted. There are numerous resources online that will tell you which words to not include in your emails.

Other issues with your content that you should avoid are using words written in all caps and using too many exclamation marks, especially following each other. All these are attention-grabbing tactics used by scammers.

Limit Use of Emojis on the Email’s Subject

Emojis can be very useful for capturing a subscriber’s attention, especially in cases where they receive a lot of emails in a day. However, using more than one emoji is not advisable because this is an attention-grabbing tactic used by many scammers.

If you have to use an emoji, ensure it is very relevant to both the subject and the email’s contents. Additionally, confirm that the use of emojis is acceptable for your niche and appropriate for your audience.

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Do Real-time Email Validation on Signup

Typos are a reality of entering information online and can happen as people enter their email addresses when subscribing to your mailing list. With how far JavaScript and CSS have come, validating email addresses as people enter them has become much easier.

Such validation helps eliminate typos that can impact your bounce rate once you start sending emails to your subscribers.

Some companies also use third-party validation tools. These tools help eliminate typos as well as “fake” addresses. If an email address is deemed to be fake, it is not added to the email list database. These tools can help businesses avoid setting up double opt-in, especially in cases where their subscribers are less likely to click the confirmation email.

Ensure Your Server is Secure

Lastly, ensure your server is secure. This will help you avoid email address hijacking by malicious actors and bots. These actors can send spam using your email and IP address, leading to it being blocked.

Being added to an email blacklist can be devastating for a business because of how hard it can be to get out of one. Use best practices and the tips above to ensure this does not happen to you.