What’s the blacklist and why should you care about it? Ending up on the blacklist as a business can mean a dead end for your email marketing. But don’t fret! There are ways to avoid the blacklist and we can help you get off of it if you’ve accidentally landed yourself there.

The state of Ohio and federal laws state that company newsletters or email cannot be sent to a customer without permission or an express way to “unsubscribe” from the email list. We recommend using a commercial software such as MailChimp or Constant Contact as they provide a streamlined way to send email blasts and keep in contact with your community. You can also work with a company that specializes in email marketing to optimize your success. All of these options will include the ability to maintain your database as well as follow all the critical State and Federal spam laws.

If you use your Outlook or company email platform, you run the risk of having the entire service blacklisted. The progress of being blacklisted is something that can be very painful for a business. Basically, if your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or the server you use is compromised by spammers, you will not be able to send mail. See this article from PC Magazine on just how this works.

You need to pay attention to your email lists and keep them clean. Reference the definition of business relationship in the Ohio State law below.

“Pre-existing business relationship” means that there was a business transaction between the initiator and the recipient of a commercial electronic mail message during the five-year period preceding the receipt of that message. A pre-existing business relationship includes a transaction involving the free provision of information, goods, or services requested by the recipient. A pre-existing business relationship does not exist after a recipient requests to be removed from the distribution lists of an initiator pursuant to division of this section and a reasonable amount of time has expired since that request.

Previous customers may start flagging your company’s email making your email address an easy target for the blacklist. Making this not so friendly list can halt your email marketing campaigns and worse, alienate customers.  The spam filter radar does not know or care about your good intentions.

 

Here are 5 ways to keep your company’s email address and emails safe from the black list.

  1. Provide Subscribers Options
    Give your audience the choice on how they would like to connect with you. Email is not the only platform that reaches the customer. They might prefer to be connected on other platforms such as social media, direct mail newsletters, or dare we say a phone call!

     

  2. Rebuild Your Strategy
    Clean up your list and make sure you are keeping a database that is 100% opt-in (meaning they want to receive your message). Email messages must always provide an opportunity to be removed from your database. There are several options for providing prospects/customers the option to “opt-in” to receiving messages. Use inbound marketing and have them add their name to your list, often in exchange for information such as a white paper, report or article.

     

  3. Content is Still King 
    Whether you’re sending emails, direct mail advertisement, posting to social media, or writing articles for your industry, you still need to say something worthwhile. Endeavor to provide knowledge first and always have a portal for your reader to opt-in for more. Create a win-win with good content in exchange for their name, email, company and phone number. Good content will also keep customers coming back for more and situate you as a thought-leader in your industry.

     

  4. Encourage the White list
    You should remind your customers to add your email address to their white list. Many will not know how to do this, but those that do will help you ensure they receive your messages. This is especially important if you also send order status and other communications from the same email address.

     

  5. Less is More
    I think we’re all easily-annoyed by companies who spam you with newsletters, offers, and more through email. So, consider sending fewer messages. If you don’t flood your prospects’ inbox and can provide useful content, you stand a better chance of getting your message read. Consider a monthly newsletter or a weekly check-in.

     

     

Avoid these email don’ts to decrease your chances of making the blacklist.

  1. Graphic Overload
    Using a large amount of graphics will give you a one-way ticket to the blacklist. Visuals are a great way to connect with your consumers and catch their eye, but stick to minimal and purposeful images.

     

  2. UPPERCASE NIGHTMARE
    If your emails contain UPPERCASE lettering in the subject line or body, it is easily detected and will send you straight to the list. You just look like spam to the filters, stick to simple title casing (Title Casing Looks Like This) for headers and titles, and typing normally for body paragraphs.

     

  3. Long ………….. Subject Lines
    Extremely long subject lines are a death walk to the blacklist. Firstly, your titles will be cutoff especially if consumers are reading their emails on a mobile device. But people don’t want to have to read a long title! Save your important information and explanation for the email itself. Keep your titles short, sweet and to the point.

     

  4. BCC list
    Sending a blind carbon copy is a huge mistake. You are better to use a person’s name in the send field and avoid long lists of names in the CC field.

     

  5. Watch your language
    Make sure you are using safe words and phrases. Some words like free, click here or don’t delete will find your email on the non-forgiving list. Why? You look like spam!

Still having trouble? Contact IT Support Specialists. We will unravel the mess, clean up your procedures, and help you  both follow the law and get your messages read. IT Support Specialists – Your IT Department on call. (216) 771-1600 wbarlock@itsupportspecialists.net