How Your Email Marketing Habits Could Get You Blacklisted

posted this in
Content Marketing
on May 9th, 2013

Habits are hard to break, especially when it comes to email marketing.

But your bad email marketing habits are causing your customers to lose trust in you and your brand and file complaints about your business.

We’re here to break you free of those habits. Take a look below at four common email marketing no-no’s and what you should do instead to avoid being blacklisted.

Your mail Is unsolicited

Never, ever add email addresses to your list that haven’t opted in to receiving marketing emails from your business. This is one of the quickest ways to get blacklisted by the CAN SPAM Act, which prohibits shady email marketing behavior.

What to do instead: Never add random email addresses to your list and verify that all subscribers want to receive your information.

One of the best ways to do this is to have a double-opt in for your email list, which means that those that DO want your emails will give you a firm “yes” after they’ve been added to your list. Double opt-in helps confirm you have active subscribers (not just bots) as well.

You send every email to everyone

I hate to break it to you, but not everybody wants to receive emails about everything you do or have to say. The more you bombard readers with emails they do not want to receive, the more spam complaints or unsubscribes you’ll receive.

What to do instead: Find out what your customers want to receive information about. A great way to segment your list so you can avoid bulk emailing people is to add a section on your opt-in form to find out what your customer is interested in receiving.

Mailchimp conducted a study on campaigns sent to over 9 million recipients and found that lists that were segmented had a 14.4% higher open rate than other lists.

Your behavior Is spam-like

If your readers feel like you are sending them spam, they might report a complaint about your behavior. A few actions that can look like spam to email providers include:

  • Spammy subject lines: Some words or phrases (like “free” or “click here”) can set off alarms for spam-filters, so avoid using words that cause issues for spam-filters.
  • Image-only emails: Many spam filters block emails that are image only to protect the user, so think first before sending an image-only email.
  • Old lists: Sending to an old list might make email providers think you’re sending to a purchased list, so remove subscribers that are not active with your campaigns.

If your content or subject lines are spammy or the reader hasn’t opted in, you’re at a definite risk for receiving a complaint.

According to Mailchimp, if an email receives more than one complaint per 1000 recipients, the ISP could block future emails from the sending server.

What to do instead: Again, make sure your email subscribers have opted in to receiving your emails, be honest about your offers and don’t bulk email every person in your address book.

You don’t let readers unsubscribe

Not allowing a customer to unsubscribe can cost you. In 2006, the Federal Trade Commission ordered a company to pay $32,000 for not abiding by the CAN-SPAM Act and not allowing readers to unsubscribe from future emails.

What to do instead: Always allow your readers to easily unsubscribe and honor all unsubscribe requests within 10 days as specified by the FTC (although you should be able to do this immediately.)

When in doubt, educate yourself on the best practices about the habits that you should and should not be doing.

Have a question about email marketing best practices? Send us a comment on Facebook!