Getting on an email blacklist is a real problem for a business because it affects deliverability rates. When Gmail or another email provider decides that your email address, domain or IP address that your outbound marketing emails are being sent from is suspicious, they may block the email by placing it in a spam folder.
Also, there are services that track bad email addresses which might also be used. If you get spotted, even by mistake, it can be detrimental to email deliverability too.
In this article, we talk about avoiding getting on an email blacklist and ways to increase your mailing list’s delivery rate.
Check If Your Email Address or Domain are on a Blacklist
To avoid attempting to send emails from an address that’s already known to be on a blacklist, it’s worth checking it. But why is this important?
When an email gets flagged as spam due to being on a blacklist, it prevents many of them from even hitting the inboxes of the intended recipients. For email providers like Gmail or Hotmail, getting on a blacklist for your email address or domain can prevent thousands (or even millions of emails) from being received and seen. When a significant amount of online business is initiated through email marketing, this becomes very costly.
To address these concerns, run a blacklist check to verify that your domain and email address haven’t been blackballed incorrectly.
Validate Email Every Quarter
While it’s common for people to boast about the size of their email list, it’s no good if half of these email subscribers no longer even use that email address. It’s suggested that over one quarter of email accounts are abandoned every year for new ones, so without validation, many email addresses will become defunct soon enough.
Many email mailing list providers offer the facility to check with recipients whether they still wish to receive the email. This reduces the size of the list but leaves you with the valid subscribers who clicked a link within the email (or opened it).
Be Wary of Very Low Open Rates
When an email is sent, it’s possible to see whether it was opened. Similarly, when sending out a monthly email to a subscriber, a pattern of not opening the email can be observed over past months within mail list platforms that provide this facility.
For open rates that are very low, the reality is that the recipient is rarely bothering to look at the email.
They may even eventually tire of receiving it, and rather than look for the unsubscribe link at the bottom of one of your emails, they could just click the ‘Spam’ button within the email service to stop receiving it.
It’s a judgment call whether to offer to unsubscribe them and wait to get a response back. However, doing so can reduce the spam score rising for your email address or domain.
Don’t Buy Lists of Subscribers
Sometimes, organizations offer to sell a list of email subscribers – the idea being that they can match up their customer demographics with your company’s typical subscriber. However, this is missing the point.
People opted-in and confirmed their subscription previously. They are expecting emails to come from a certain email address or business name. When they suddenly start receiving unexpected and unwanted email from a third-party (you), it only creates confusion. They’re far likelier to hit the ‘spam’ button with their email provider. This will create future deliverability issues for all previous legitimate subscribers to the list as well.
Always Have a Prominent Unsubscribe Button or Link
While it may seem counterintuitive because you work so hard to get people to opt-in, the reality is that due to email spam ratings, you shouldn’t want people on your mailing list who don’t wish to be there. Not only will they not make money for you, but it’s very likely they’ll be annoyed enough to mark the email as spam.
It’s a requirement of the GDPR in Europe to show an ‘Unsubscribe’ option in every email. You could go beyond that by making it prominent. For people who are happily subscribed, that won’t matter. However, for those people who don’t remember signing up because they haven’t opened an email from your business in a while, it encourages them to opt-out rather than mark as spam.
Use a Double Opt-in Email Mailing List Provider Only
Anyone can maliciously add someone’s email address to a mailing list and sign them up. Then that person starts receiving unwanted email from the company. When they mark it as spam, it then hurts the company. It can even be something their peers use to hamper your future email marketing efforts too.
By only using double opt-in for email sign-ups, companies ensure that the account holder for the email address receives an email questioning whether they opt-ed in or not. They can then confirm either way without being upset about receiving the email.
Avoiding getting on an email blacklist is all about having a strong policy around email opt-ins, confirmations of a valid subscriptions, and not doing anything unsavory to deserve being placed on an email blacklist in the first place.