Email blacklists are a marketer's nemesis. Being blacklisted means a decimated email marketing campaign and a lengthy back and forth process to be unlisted. While there are certain positions such as IT and email marketing managers that should know everything about blacklists, everyone should be aware of certain aspects of what they are and how it works.
What’s a Blacklist All About?
They are lists of IP addresses and domains that are "known sources" of spam. Companies can be placed on a blacklist for a number of reasons, some rightfully so and some unjustifiably. As this infographic from marketing profs.com explains, "Blacklisting events are often associated with the introduction of new email lists from third-party sources, as well as with campaigns sent to long-inactive subscribers."
The study shows that the highest frequency of blacklisting occurs in November and December, during the holidays. While this does simply correlate with the highest volume of email, because it is such an important revenue time, marketers often get overly aggressive with their email tactics. When not careful, this can land a company on a list, and potentially devastate their holiday sales.
Sending an Amount of Emails that is "Just Right"
To borrow a famous line from a certain golden-haired fairy tale star, finding a frequency that is "just right" is very important to keep subscribers happy, and therefore off of blacklists. Sending emails too often, or conversely sending emails infrequently and at random times can both lead to messages being marked as spam.
Send Emails that are Relevant
When emailing lists (especially automated sending) it can be easy to send less relevant messages than is ideal. If subscribers are receiving emails about products they cannot use, or events in another country, it is likely they will be marked as spam. Maintain sublists to ensure that emails can be crafted specifically for an audience, and drastically reduce the chance of being blacklisted.
Keep Those Email Lists Clean
It is important to monitor returned emails and ensure that they are removed from email lists to prevent emailing outdated email addresses. Especially be extremely careful to never email addresses that have opted out of the list. Sending emails to either is very likely to land your company on a blacklist.
Blacklists were designed to be helpful, sorting through and eliminating malicious and fraudulent spam messages, however there are times where it can be hugely detrimental to a company's marketing and sales. Following specific protocols and using quality email automation software and services will help reduce the likelihood of being blacklisted.