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Feb 12 2013

Email Marketing: What Happens If My Email Gets Blacklisted?

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Two weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of having an email list of recipients who have signed up to specifically receive email from you. Buying lists or skimming emails off of websites is always a bad idea because people often mark unsolicited emails as spam. And when your emails get marked as spam, that leads you straight to a black list.

As I was writing that article, it occurred to me that not everyone knows what a black list is and some of you may be wondering “What’s the big deal?” Allow me to elaborate.

In the world of email, a black list is a list of email addresses and domains that have been identified as senders of spam. Many email filters consult these lists when determining if they should send an email to the inbox or the spam folder. This means that once your email or IP address has been black listed, even people who want your emails may not get them because their filter may automatically send your emails to the spam folder.

There is not one master black list, but rather a variety of different lists with different methods of identifying spam (this email marketing article gives a list of the most common ones). Additionally, many Internet Service Providers have their own black lists based on what users have marked as spam. Sometimes being put on one black list only prevents your mail from being sent to some of your recipients, sometimes it prevents your mail from being sent at all. It doesn’t just block mass emails, but all emails sent from your email or domain. Imagine that you need to send an email to one client to confirm an order and you can’t because you’ve been black listed. This stops your business entirely and often takes days, or even weeks, to resolve.

What’s the big deal? Being black listed could stop your company’s email communication completely which affects all areas of your business. If you were put on a black list mistakenly, you can almost always get removed but it takes a while to resolve the issue. If you were blacklisted because you broke the rules, chances are you’ll stay there forever. It’s always best to do everything you can to stay off the black lists.

Unfortunately, even email marketers who follow all the rules sometimes get black listed. In our next article on this series, we’ll tell you how to find out if you’ve been black listed and what you should do about it.

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