Email Blacklists

What the heck is Blacklisted?

Blacklisting is when your IP address has been caught sending spam mail. Your IP will be put on a list and any email sent from that IP will never make it to any inboxes.

All your hard work getting the email campaign set up will be for naught.

The hard thing for business owners to understand is that this is for the entire IP address. It might not have been you that triggered the Blacklisting. It could have been any other business on the shared IP, and you will pay the price.

How to prevent getting blacklisted

If you are sending spam emails, expect to get blacklisted. The best way to prevent that is to not send spam emails. However,  this is true for anyone that shares your IP address.

Here is what I do to prevent this from happening to me (it did at one time).

  1. Get out of Shared Hosting. Shared hosting is when you share a server with many other businesses. It could be hundreds or thousands of other businesses. You have no control over what another business is going to do when it comes to sending emails. It just takes one bad apple to ruin the whole IP address.
  2. Separate your email from your hosting. If you have a Cpanel hosting account, it usually has the ability to create free email addresses. Resist the urge to do that. Pay for an email from a different company than your hosting. That way if you have hosting issues it will not affect your email. I pay for email through Google Workspace.
  3. Buy your domain from a separate company as well. I have my domain at Godaddy, email at Google, and my hosting from a third company. Find one that offers non-shared hosting. Some good ones are Flywheel, WP Engine, or LiquidGround.

What to do when your email address gets blacklisted

The first thing to do is to fix the issue that caused the blacklisting. This brings up another question – how do you know if your email has been blacklisted?

  • Your email company might send you a message telling you that you can no longer send emails. Email Service Providers (ESP) like MailChimp, ConstantContact, InfusionSoft, or hundreds of others know if your email address has been blacklisted.
  • Some of the activities that might trigger blacklisting are: Your email list growing too fast. Email lists should naturally grow over time. Adding a large number of email addresses (you uploaded a list you purchased) can trigger blacklisting. Too many complaints that your emails are spam will also trigger blacklisting. Getting high email bounce rates can also do it.
  • You can look your email address up and see if it has been listed as a source of spam. There is a great tool at MXToolbox here. 

Once you have identified that your email address is on a Blacklist, the next step is to find out why, and fix it. If it was something you did, you can fix the issue and contact the blacklist company to petition to get removed. All of the blacklisting companies list a procedure for removal on thier websites.

Good Email Marketing Practices

Email marketing does still work, but you need to be responsible with your email list.

  • Make sure your list is an Opt-In list. Do not add people that you meet at networking events, or manually add anyone to your list. Be sure there is a form they fill out to get added to your list.
  • NEVER purchase an email list. This will get you in email prison for sure.
  • Always personalize your emails and make sure they are what people expect to get from your company.
  • Never let someone else market to your email list. you can do joint-ventures but you need to remain in control of your list.
  • If possible segment your list to be sure the sent emails are on topics your segment really wants to receive.
  • Monitor your list and remove any email addresses that bounce or have not opened your emails in quite some time. When you have a responsive list (they take action by clicking on something) it indicates to the ESP you are not sending spam.

Great email campaigns can be very lucritive for your business. Just be sure you are sending quality information that your customers want and you should not have any issues.

The best thing I ever did for my email marketig was to get off of shared hosting.