How to get Whitelisted

July 12, 2017

Tim Starr

Tim Starr

From concept to coding, email marketing takes a lot of effort.

This why there’s no worse feeling than having your email end up in the recipient's spam folder.  

As email marketers, we’ve all experienced this disappointment, despite our best efforts to adhere to deliverability guidelines. However, there’s one practice you might not be using that can make all the difference between getting in the inbox or being marked as spam.  

It's whitelisting.  

If you’re not familiar with the term, whitelisting is when subscribers add your email to their address book. But why is it so important?  

Whitelisting is a great way of letting ISPs know that subscribers value your emails. More than that, it means all the effort you put into your emails is less likely to be wasted. Getting your list to live up to its full potential means always aiming for better deliverability and there’s no easier way than this. 

There are two main ways you can go about getting in your subscribers good (address) books, both of which require little effort, but offer big inbox placement rewards.

How to get Whitelisted:

1. The Traditional:

It may seem bold, but being upfront with your subscribers can often yield the best results. Simply asking to be added to the address book works surprisingly well.  

The benefit of this approach is that after you ask, each subscriber can go about adding your address however their ISP requires. Without getting into detail, you’ll be able to spur subscribers into action.  

If you opt for the traditional approach, taking the time to incorporate this request into your welcome email greatly increases your odds of being whitelisted. Welcome emails have some of the best deliverability rates of any email format and you can leverage this to your advantage.  

But even if they don’t add you to their address book on the first email, incorporating a brief reminder and instructions in the pre-header of your emails offers provides further opportunities for whitelisting.   

Keep in mind, this method has drawbacks, namely that it requires subscribers to manually input your address. While it might not seem like a big hurdle, it’s one more action your subscribers need to take and may not know exactly how to do.

2. The Custom: 

Which brings us to the second option for being whitelisted -- The Custom.  

The basis of a good customized whitelist request starts with building a dedicated page on your website to describe the process and benefits of adding your email to the address book.  

But don’t stop there. Use this page as an opportunity to educate visitors and position your company as an informed and legitimate company. By building this authority of your site, subscribers are more likely to trust the emails they receive from your company.  

If you’re wondering where to put this page, look no further than your thank you page. Reaching subscribers at the perfect moment, the thank you page (like the welcome email) lets you leverage the increased engagement of new subscribers to your advantage.  

Once you've made this page, make it work for you by adding a link in your subsequent emails that lead back to it. Leaving a short reminder in your emails will allow subscribers plenty of opportunities to add you to their address book when the time is best for them. 


- After all this work to get whitelisted, be sure you don't waste your efforts by sending terrible emails 

- Being added to the address book is a sign of trust from your subscribers, trust you can't afford to abuse

- Once you've been whitelisted, earn your place in the inbox with creative, compelling content that offers your subscribers something interesting

- Email marketing is always about your subscribers and what value you give them in exchange for access to their inbox

Now that you know how to improve your email deliverability by pushing recipients to add you to their address book, take the next step by downloading our FREE Guide to Email Marketing to boost open rates and click-throughs: 

Neil Patel & Maropost