MODERN EMAIL MARKETING TIPS – Continued From April ‘16
In last month’s blog we started our discussion on how to conduct a successful email marketing campaign. This month we will continue to explore some of the tips and techniques you can employ to achieve better results from your email marketing efforts, more specifically, how to avoid ending up on an email “blacklist”.
How to Protect Yourself & Run Successful E-Mail Campaigns
Blacklists are the most challenging issue for email marketers. You should also understand that it is possible for you to follow best email marketing practices compliant with CAN-SPAM law and still end up in a blacklist. Worst of all is that you will not even know that you are blacklisted until you take some steps to investigate the issue.
So, in this article we’ll talk about the causes that may get you put on a blacklist, examine the ways how you can determine if you’ve been blacklisted or not, and give several tips for what to do if you got blacklisted.
First, let’s understand what it means to be “blacklisted”. In its’ simplest terms, a blacklist is a list of IP addresses, or domains, or emailers known or suspected of sending spam. Blacklists may be created by almost anyone including anyone who is receiving email or anyone who is processing email.
Top 3 Reasons Why You May Be Blacklisted
It’s important to remember that each blacklist has its own criteria for the sender to be blacklisted, so actions that get you put on one list may not necessarily get you put on another. The following are some of the more common reasons why your email campaign could end up on a blacklist.
1. Spam complaints from email recipients.
Most complaints are generated when a recipient hits the “Spam” button on an email they have received. Virtually everyone has done this while cleaning out emails from your in-box or junk mail. You may have done this even when you recognize, or have consented to receive emails from the sender. For this reason, it is recognized that even 100% permission based email lists can entail spam complaints.
The recipients may report the email as spam intentionally (because they believe the email is spam) or unintentionally by clicking on the “Spam” button instead of deleting the email by accident. Some email recipients do not trust the unsubscribe option. They prefer reporting the email as spam in order not to receive emails from this sender anymore.
Whatever the reason is, the ISP still counts this as a spam complaint. What ISPs and blacklists are watching for is the high complaint rate which betrays spammers and sometimes good email marketers who are not following best email marketing practices. The best way to ensure this does not happen to you it to make sure that you actually have the permission to send out e-mails by accumulating your own e-mail lists and using proper tools to give subscribers the option to unsubscribe.
2. Poor list hygiene: sending to bad and “spam trap” email addresses.
Having a few “bounced” or undeliverable emails after each email campaign is normal. But if your bounce rate is higher than acceptable, you are a candidate for a blacklist.
The bigger threat is behind what are known as “spam trap” email accounts. This occurs when an email address has been abandoned by its’ owner. Some ISPs turn abandoned email addresses into spam trap mailboxes to try and catch spammers. Because the email address has been abandoned, it is assumed that no one will send emails at those addresses. Any message sent to a spam trap address is treated as spam. Continuous emailing at spam trap accounts is one more step to get blacklisted.
Most of the time spam trap email addresses are found in old email lists. If you take a list that you have not emailed to for a year or two, it’s likely to contain many invalid and spam trap emails just like a list that you would buy from a third party. Therefore, never use old e-mail lists or lists that you have purchased. This is literally asking to be blacklisted.
3. Using a “shared” server or bad IP reputation.
In the interest of cutting costs, many small businesses may choose to use a “shared” email server. As the name implies, a shared email server is one that this being used by several businesses to send company emails. While most of the time this can be done without issue, sharing an email server is the internet equivalent of living in an apartment building. Most people who live in apartments are considerate and respectful of their neighbors, but it only takes one who is not courteous to make it an unpleasant experience for all. If you don’t have your own SMTP server and send emails from a shared mail server, your reputation depends on that server reputation. While you may be taking every precaution to avoid being blacklisted, you are at the mercy of the others who are also using the server. If a sender also using that server is blacklisted, this will affect your business too.
Sometimes ISPs blacklist the entire IP ranges. If an IP address from your IP block is suspected in spam activity, your IP may become blacklisted as well. It’s difficult to diagnose this situation because the permutation of IP address number combinations is almost infinite.
As you see being put on a blacklisted is not necessarily the result of a spam-like activity. The mail server you use may become a victim of a bot or other technical problem. Therefore, always use trustworthy e-mail marketing systems and vendors. This will help ensure that you do not fall victim to a malicious server or other complications that can interfere with your email marketing campaigns. If you are a TLC Affiliate and unsure about your choice of service providers, we will be happy to offer a recommendation.
At The Loan Consultants, Inc. our main goal is to make our Affiliates more productive with our state of the art technologies. The result is our Affiliates find it much easier and less time consuming to manage customer needs and maintain their companies with the software and the mobile technologies TLC provides. This is just one of many ways we help our affiliates spend more time funding deals and earning commissions.