Email List Hygiene

Email Blacklist 101: You’ve Been Blacklisted. Now What?

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Finding out that your email campaign has gotten you blacklisted can feel like a nightmare. You’re scared that you’ll lose email contact with your subscribers and miss out on potential business – and how do you even work to get yourself off this list? How did you even get on it? Before you start to panic, know it’s not the end of the world for your email to end up on a blacklist.

What is an email blacklist?

An email blacklist is a list of identified IP addresses or domains that have been flagged by specific spam filters. Being blacklisted doesn’t necessarily mean that you sent spam, but it does mean there are a few things to investigate.

How did I get blacklisted in the first place?

Blacklists are lists of bad email senders. Email senders on these lists tend to blast spam out to their email lists, but legitimate businesses find themselves blacklisted quite often because they fail to stick to email best practices. A blacklist is usually applied to your IP address, but sometimes it can be based on URL or domain.

Those who create blacklists are actively trying to identify spam by using spam traps, which are fake email addresses that don’t belong to real users. If you end up on a blacklist, chances are you aren’t properly acquiring email addresses or aren’t managing your email subscribers well. Also, if too many of your email subscribers report your email as spam, it can end up getting you blacklisted.

If you notice that your open rate has gone down severely, it might be a sign that you’ve been blacklisted. Read our Blacklist Check guide to learn more.

How Can I Get Off A Blacklist?

If you’ve found yourself on a blacklist, don’t panic. First, put your email campaigns on pause for the time being until you can figure out what’s going on. If you’ve been put on one of the major blacklists like Spamhaus or Spamcop, they have a clear process for getting yourself delisted, and they are typically able to tell you why you were blacklisted. Usually, it’s a case of falling into a spam trap, sending to inactive email addresses, or having poor or spammy content, which could lead to your recipients marking your emails as spam.

Once you’ve figured out why you were blacklisted, take immediate steps to remedy the issue and make sure to be more careful in the future.

How I Can Prevent Blacklisting?

There are a few things you can do to prevent being blacklisted. Reputable senders work hard to build their lists slowly over time, so if your email list suddenly surges in size, it could indicate that you’re accumulating email addresses in a way that goes against email marketing best practices and puts you at risk of being identified as a spammer. Often, purchased email lists are full of fake addresses and spam traps.

Keep an eye on your email lists and notice addresses that have never engaged with you. Make one final effort to engage these addresses, but if you are unable to, it may be a good idea to delete them from your list, as they may be spam traps.

Don’t send out emails too often. If people get tired of seeing you in their inbox, they may be more likely to mark your messages as spam. A few contacts a month is fine, but any more may be too much. Make sure to keep your content relevant and make it easy for people to unsubscribe from your list if they want to.

Blacklists exist not to make your job harder, but to protect email users from receiving annoying or harmful messages. Stick to email marketing best practices and you should be safe. Make sure all email addresses you send to are verified and be sure that everyone on your list has chosen to opt-in. If you do find yourself on a blacklist, though, it isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a sign that you need to be more careful! Take steps to resolve the issue to protect your reputation as a sender.

If you’d like to learn more about email marketing best practices, check out our guide to avoiding spam traps and how to maintain a strong sender reputation.