Uh-oh, it looks like your cold email campaign is causing some severe bounce rates.
Hey there, is your domain or email blacklisted? No need to panic just yet though! Let’s first take a look at how email blacklists function and how you might have ended up on one before we discuss a solution.
Blacklists are like the bouncers of the email world, keeping out unwanted and spam messages. They’re a list of IP addresses or domains which are flagged for sending unsolicited emails or having poor email hygiene practices. And unfortunately, getting on one can seriously damage your email reputation.
But don’t worry; getting off a blacklist isn’t rocket science. If you didn’t intentionally spam people, most email blacklist operators will remove your IP address or domain after a few days or weeks. The real challenge is rebuilding your email reputation once you’re off the email blacklist.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so the most ideal option is to stay away from blacklisting in the first place. It can be simply done by using the following methods:
- Keep your email list clean
- Keep your list up to date to prevent bounces
- Have a transparent opt-in process and don’t trick people
- Refrain from using language that can be considered spam
Even after following these, if you find yourself on the blacklist then don’t sit back. Take action immediately to prevent any further damage.
How Do Email IP Blacklists Work?
If you visit hotels frequently, then you might have noticed some guests being turned away. They were told that no rooms are available, but when another guest asked for a room change, a new room magically appeared. This is because the first guest was blacklisted by the hotel or the hotel chain. This happens when a guest has previously broken the rules of the hotel or has skipped payment.
Now that you understand what email blacklisting is in terms of hotels, let’s use the same knowledge to get a better understanding of IP blacklisting. Just like guests get blacklisted by hotels, IP addresses and domains get blacklisted by email service providers. When you are blacklisted, you are not allowed in the recipient’s inbox just like blacklisted guests are not allowed in hotel rooms.
Once you are on a blacklist, every time you send mail to someone, the recipient’s email service provider checks it against the blacklist and your mail id is denied entry. If you are still confused, think of it as getting into a Hollywood party, without any connections or invitation. You will be kicked out, just like your email.
Whenever an email is sent, the internet service provider of the recipient checks for the sender’s IP address in the blacklist. If the sender is on the blacklist, then the email is not allowed in the inbox.
Additionally, the email also has to pass through spam filters. If the email meets all the criteria and looks legit, it’s allowed into the inbox. But if it seems suspicious, it’s flagged as spam and sent to the spam folder.
How Do You End Up On The Email Blacklists?
It’s like a virtual hall of shame for spammers. Whenever someone marks an email as spam, it’s like adding a yellow card to the sender’s file. Get enough of these cards, and the sender’s IP or domain gets blacklisted, earning them the ultimate red card of shame.
But there are other ways to end up on the list. Sometimes, people make personal requests to blacklist specific IPs or domains, usually with proof that the sender is a notorious spammer. And if your bounce rate is too high, that’s also a red flag to email and internet service providers, who may then tip off an email blacklist.
And don’t forget about engagement level. Keep an eye on whether your emails are getting opened and replied to. If that’s not happening it’s time to put on your detective hat and check if the content of your emails is the problem or you’ve been blacklisted.
Sometimes sending emails to purchased or rented email addresses would violate anti-spam regulations. This could potentially blacklist your email domain. If the IP address used is being shared by others who engage in spammy activities then there are high chances of your email getting blacklisted.
If your email contains any malicious links, attachments, or any kind of suspicious content, then it would trigger the spam filter and lead to blacklisting.
When You Are Not A Spammer, Yet You Are Blacklisted
Well, you can find yourself on the blacklist even if you are not a spammer. Don’t fret, as it is as common as finding fans of ‘FRIENDS’ on social media. Here are several common mistakes that could get you blacklisted –
- Sending emails to unverified addresses
- Neglecting email database quality
- Bombarding inboxes with a high volume of mail are just a few examples that can land you in hot water.
And let’s not forget the dreaded spam words. Avoiding them can be challenging, especially for finance and real estate email marketers. But fear not; we’ve got some tips to help you navigate those treacherous waters. If you get yourself into the blacklist don’t start the blame game and keep calm. Each email blacklist has its own set of criteria for flagging an IP. So, just try to understand what could have been the reason behind getting blacklisted. If you are lucky then it could be a technical or policy issue that can be resolved within minutes.
How To Do An Email Blacklist Check?
So, you think you have been blacklisted? Don’t start googling random ways to find out if that’s true. Instead, just observe the rate at which your emails are opened. If there is a sudden decrease in the same, it is highly likely that you have been blacklisted. However, to be 100% sure that this is the case and that you are not just being paranoid, here are some reliable sources you can refer to.
- Email Service Provider: If you are in luck then your email provider provides you with built-in tools to check if you are on the blacklist.
- Your ISP or Internet Service Provider: Not only ESPs but your ISPs keep track of the blacklists, making it easy for you to check if you have been flagged.
- Blacklist databases: You can search for your domain or IP blacklist in several public and private databases.
Suppose you’re feeling lost in the dark abyss of email blacklists. Know that there are services that compile several anti-spam lists, making it easier to find out whether your domain or IP has been blacklisted. The most notable include the Spamhaus Block List (SBL), SpamCop, and Senderbase. If you find yourself on Spamhaus, then brace yourself for a ton of work as it is one of the most renowned sources, and getting off their list is no piece of the cake. However, if you put in the work and prove to them that you are not a spammer, you will be off the list and into people’s inboxes in no time.
In addition to these popular blacklists, there are Real-Time Blackhole Lists (RBLs) such as SURBL and Uribl, as well as diagnostic tools like MXToolBox and MultiRBL. These tools can help you identify if your IP is listed on any blacklists and take necessary actions.
SmartReach.io auto notifies and if found necessary pauses your campaigns if your email domain gets into a few of these popular email blacklists. This prevents your email domain from getting further affected. You could then take corrective measures for email blacklist removal.
However, not all blacklists are created equal. Some of them, like SORBS-SPAM or China Anti-Spam Alliance, are unimportant and can be safely ignored. So, use these services wisely and get yourself off those blacklists!
How Do I Get Off an IP Blacklist?
You’re on a blacklist! That’s like getting sent to email jail. But don’t worry; there are ways to get off the list and back into your subscribers’ inboxes.
First, determine which blacklist you’re on and check their unlisting process.
The process can be tedious and might include sending an unlisting request and filling out a form, but for some lists, self-service procedures are enough. The most important thing to remember here is that before you start with the unlisting process, find out why you ended up there in the first place.
Diagnose the reason by reviewing your email-sending practices, email content, and subscriber list and try to identify any potential issue that might cause the email blacklisting.
Avoid sending emails to unverified email addresses, neglecting your email database quality, and using spam words.
Some blacklists automatically remove your IP after a set period, but being removed from the list is like being on parole – your email behavior is being watched closely.
Ensure you don’t end up back on the list by following email best practices and keeping your subscribers happy.
Is Getting Off The Blacklist Enough To Regain Good Deliverability?
Regaining good email deliverability after being blacklisted is no easy feat. It’s not like you got off the blacklist and ended up in heaven. You need to make some effort to turn things back to normal, and that my friend won’t be as easy as you think.
The first step is sending emails slowly, like a toddler learning to walk. Test the waters by emailing your friends and family and gradually increasing your email volume.
Encourage your recipients to reply to your emails so the conversation looks natural, and spam filters note that your emails are relevant and legitimate. This would help you get out of the spam folder, but that’s not enough. Your priority should be on finding out what made you end up on the blacklist in the first place and starting fixing from there.
Was it the high volume of emails in a short time? Or was it a high hard bounce rate due to an outdated email list? Identifying and fixing these issues will help you avoid getting blacklisted again.
In addition, maintaining a good email reputation requires consistent effort. Avoid spam-like activity, keep your email list up-to-date, and ensure your messages are relevant to your target group. If you stay committed to the recovery process, your email server IP and domain reputation will gradually improve.
If you don’t already then start using cold email software like SmartReach.io which focuses primarily on email deliverability. It has many small built-in features to keep your email out of this blacklist. Even its AI-recommended content is optimized for enhanced deliverability. It also provides Spintax features that would dynamically combine words and phrases thereby sending and sending unique emails to the recipients. These feature helps with email deliverability and also reduces the chance of getting caught by a spam filter.
Alternatively, you could use an email warmups service such as WarmupHero, Mailwarm, WarmupBox or Lemwarm. They help with warming up a new email domain and also assist with the removal of the domain from the blacklist. Email service provider, Google, has warned businesses against using email warmup services. Hence most cold email software does not provide warmup for Google accounts, this is why many cold email professionals are flocking to other email service providers
How To Stay Clear From Blacklists?
- Personalize your emails, but don’t copy and paste generic templates. Nobody likes a spammer, so tailor your messages to the recipient’s needs and make them feel special.
- Never use an outdated email list as it can have invalid email addresses and also email ids of uninterested customers. So, always make sure to use an up-to-date and verified email list.
- Keep a close eye on the email metrics like the open rate, reply rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, etc.
- Avoid typos and keep your formatting clean. A messy email is a surefire way to get marked as spam, so take the extra time to proofread your message.
- Watch your language, too. Certain words trigger spam filters, so make sure to avoid them. (Hint: $$$, You are a winner, free money, Big Bucks are definitely on the list.)
- Limit the number of emails you send at once. Instead, segment your list into smaller, highly targeted groups.
- Taking permission from the recipient by implementing double opt-in would ensure that the subscriber has given consent to receive the emails.
- Be cautious with tracking. While it can be helpful to see who’s opening and clicking on your emails, tracking pixels can trigger spam filters. If you do choose to track, set up custom tracking domains.
- Implement email authentication protocols such as SPF, DKIM & DMARC and protect against phishing attacks. SmartReach.io provides Spam Test Reports which identify such issues with your setup and tell you how to resolve them.
- Keep checking your IP and domain reputation on a regular basis by using reputable blacklist monitoring services.
- Finally, keep your email signature simple. Avoid including links, photos, and phone numbers. Basically, don’t give the impression that you are trying to sell something.
These steps will help you maintain your email reputation and stay off the blacklist.
In conclusion, when you are blacklisted, find out the reason and deal with the cause.
Chances are, you neglected either the content or technical aspects of your emails, leading to low deliverability. Take the time to improve your email quality and remember the above tips for future success.