Warning for Email Marketers: 3 Words Could Bring You to Your Knees

the word "Blacklisted" in white, surrounded by a white box, on a black background

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You did it… You just spent the last hour writing that “perfect” email.

You press send…

Now you find yourself refreshing your browser every few minutes to see how many people have taken action.

You begin to have your doubts…

Is it me?

No, it’s not me. It can’t be me. Email marketing is dead.

Or is it?

This was the conversation I had with one of my business coaching clients. Let’s call him John (name withheld for obvious reasons).

The fact is, global email marketing deliverability has declined to 79%.

“This means for every 5 emails sent, one never reached the intended recipient,” claims Return Path. “Instead, it’s either sent to a spam folder or goes missing – most likely blocked by the mailbox provider.”

You see, the 3 most obvious factors for your email marketing success are:

  1. Open Rate
  2. Call-to-Action/Click-Through-Rate
  3. Offer

Yet, there’s one factor few people consider:

Email Deliverability.

If your email isn’t even making it into your prospect’s inbox, they won’t have an opportunity to engage with it.

And sure enough, when John and I looked into it, his jaw dropped.

It’s these 3-words that instantly kill your efforts:

You’ve Been Blacklisted

Believe it or not, this could happen to you too.

You see, John’s not a spammer or shady character – he just got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now, I ain’t no tech geek… However, I do know that blacklisting can be a result of many things that aren’t your fault, such as:

  • You got hacked and other people sent spam on your behalf (it happened to me)
  • The person who had your IP address before you was a spammer
  • Your mail server isn’t set up correctly

Whatever the cause may be, take these steps to make sure your email marketing is getting the results you expect.

Step 1: Check Your Domain Against Blacklists

It’s free. Just go to http://mxtoolbox.com/blacklists.aspx, enter your domain name, and it’ll check your mail server IP against over 100 different blacklists. You could also send an email to ping@tools.mxtoolbox.com.

If you do find your domain on a blacklist, first make sure that all your devices are free from any viruses or malware, then contact where your IP is blacklisted and ask for removal.

Step 2: Keep Your Email Marketing List Clean

When you do any sort of email marketing, you’ll likely get a certain number of hard and soft bounces (these are emails that have a problem).

Your hard bounces can cause the biggest problem.

In fact, “a hard bounced email may be invalid, non-existent, or blocked entirely – it’s a great candidate for a spam trap, which is an inactive, deliverable email address owned by an ISP to catch spammy senders.”

And it’s one way to hurt your email deliverability and potentially put your IP on a blacklist.

While most email marketing providers make it easy for you to delete these hard bounces, make sure you eliminate them immediately.

Step 3: Don’t Buy Lists

As a business coach, I get this question all the time: “Can I just buy an email list?”

While tempting, the answer is no.

Unsolicited emails will likely get flagged as spam. The more emails you send that get labeled as spam, the more you increase your chances of hitting the dreaded blacklist.

Step 4: Make It Easy To Unsubscribe

“In the First Age of Email Deliverability, there were no rules and few if any consequences for bad behavior.

In the Second Age, ISPs armed their users with ‘report spam’ and ‘junk’ buttons and senders that received too many spam complaints had their emails junked or blocked.

In the Third Age, which we are in now, ISPs also factor engagement metrics into their filtering decisions and make those decisions on the individual level as well as on a global level.” –Chad White, Research Director, Litmus

All too often, email marketers bury their unsubscribe button – or hide it so people won’t unsubscribe.

Lookie here… If they can’t find your unsubscribe button, they’ll just hit the “Report as Spam” button within their provider.

And you don’t want that…

If your subscribers want to stop hearing from you, make it easy for them to unsubscribe.

Better yet, by only emailing peole that want to hear from you, you’ll increase your engagement, improve your deliverability, and increase the effectiveness of your email marketing.

Step 5: Don’t Be An Idiot

To be blunt, don’t be an idiot and spam my inbox. Don’t send promo after promo, hard-selling me on buying this is only a short-term fix… however, it’ll act like a cancer and slowly eat away at your ability to succeed email marketing.

Your subscribers trusted you with their email address – so treat it with respect.

Use email as a method of communication to deliver real value, build the relationship, and ensure that each email is meaningful (and relevant) to your user.

Establish trust and earn the right to sell to your list (not the other way around).

what now?

Continue reading for more resourceful information.


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