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Email Marketing

Emails getting blocked? There's a way out.

May 24, 2016

Bob Frady

Sometimes you get blocked from a recipient’s inbox. It’s never fun. There are some things you can do to help, but it’s going to take some time before you get things fixed. The good news? If you’re acquiring properly, things are usually fixable.

Here’s what you do:

The first thing you have to determine is whether you’re getting blocked (your email is not getting delivered at all) or you’re getting bulked (the email is largely in the spam folder.) Sometimes, people confuse the terms…and one problem is much larger than the others.

If you’re indeed getting blocked, the first thing you should do is check that your sending domain is not on a spam blacklist. A great tool to check the health of your sending domains and IPs is - it’s free and does a great job of checking your status. You may say “but I’m a good emailer," however, you still have to check. If you are on a blacklist, then apply for immediate remediation.

The next thing you should do is check the content links in your email to make sure those domains are not on a blacklist. This is especially true if you use affiliate links – they can get tagged because spammers are also using the same links. If the link is causing your issue, then ask either for a new link, find the same product from a different source or simply move on from that particular product.

The third reason you’re getting blocked – and the primary reason you’re getting bulked – is too many spam complaints. If your domain and links are both clear, then spam complaints are critical to fixing things. There are two key steps to take, along with two more to consider.

The first thing to do is – for anyone who hits the unsubscribe button - to globally unsubscribe them for your emails. One of the biggest mistakes we see is people being too cute with unsubscribes – they’ll get taken off of one list but not another. If you’re having no issues with delivery, list level unsubscribes can work. But if you’re getting blocked or bulked, choose the nuclear option and get that person off of EVERY list you have.

The second thing you should do is to move your unsubscribe box to the top of your email. Make it obvious. The goal here is to have people choose the “unsubscribe” option over hitting the “this is spam” button, as unsubscribes don’t count against your mailbox-level spam score (which is a good thing.)

The third thing (and the one that people hate the most) is cleaning your list. Running an external scrub against a “known bad” database will help clean out records that may be causing you problems. Services such as Webbula, Freshaddress and Briteverify (among others) will help you get rid of the problem addresses. Inside your Maropost Marketing Cloud system you can set up automatic cleansing rules that will change the subscription of any address that simply hasn’t responded. You can set thresholds you like  - for example, any gmail address that is more than a year old and hasn’t responded to one of the last 50 emails is a common scrub we see.

The fourth thing you should do is add a welcome message. If that message bounces, then get rid of the contact. While it will give you a short term hit in list growth, it will help pave the way for inbox success.

We’re making one big assumption here – that you are making it clear to a consumer that they’re actually signing up for your email program. If you’re not doing that, then these tips will only help a little. And you’ve got bigger fish to fry!

Getting blocked is never fun. By following these tips, you’ll be back on the road to email redemption.

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