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How to solve a huge problem of e-mail marketing – blacklists?

E-mail marketing today is very important for all of those who want to succeed in business. Although it seems not applicable for all kinds of business, e-mail marketing is important for majority of them. Here are some stats that I’ve found:

1. On average, subscribers receive 416 commercial messages a month.
2. There are more than 3.2 billion email accounts.
3. Email ad revenue reached $156 million in 2012.
4. 91% of consumers reported checking their email at least once a day.
5. US internet users will average 3.1 email addresses this year, according to a July 2013 survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of MyLife.
6. According to eMarketer there will be around 236.8 million US email users by 2017.
7. Worldwide, market research firm The Radicati Group forecasts the email audience will grow from 2.42 billion this year to 2.76 billion by 2017.
8. Purpose of email marketing programs according to UK brand marketers? 78% said retention.
9. 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices.
10. 89% percent of UK brand marketers polled by the UK’s Direct Marketing Association (DMA) in December 2012 said email was important to their business strategies.
11. For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.
12. 56% of businesses say they plan to increase their use of email marketing in 2013.
13. eMarketer estimates the US adult email audience will reach 188.3 million in 2013 and will continue to climb to 203.8 million by 2017.
14. 93% of consumers also get at least one permission-based email daily.
15. 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email this year about 84% of all email traffic will be spam.
16. email ad revenue reached $156 million in 2012.
17. There are 3.6 billion email accounts in 2013.
18. Ebay made a study that if they don’t deliver 1% of their email, they loose 14 million dollars / yearly

144.8 Billion Emails Are Sent Every Day

1. 21% of email recipients report email as Spam, even if they know it isn’t
2. 43% of email recipients click the Spam button based on the email “from” name or email address
3. 69% of email recipients report email as Spam based solely on the subject line
4. IP addresses appearing on just one of the 12 major blacklists had email deliverability 25 points below those not listed on any blacklists
5. In 2010, the typical corporate user sends and receives about 110 messages daily.
Roughly 18% of emails received is spam, comprising both actual spam and
“graymail” (i.e. unwanted newsletters, alerts, etc.).
While users mostly see spam as an annoyance, for corporations it is a considerable expense. According to our projections, a typical 1,000-user organization can spend upwards of $3.0 million a year to fight and manage spam.

Despite that, there is one great problem with e-mail marketing and even the greatest experts are facing it: blacklists. You can’t even know that you’re there without checking it yourself. Most common reasons for getting there are:

1. Shared IP address

If you don’t have your own SMTP server, you can easily end up at blacklist just because of shared IP address. When you share IP address with hundreds of web pages, any of those users can be the reason for finishing up at the blacklist.

2. Bad “hygiene”

There is a possibility that certain number of e-mail addresses on your mailing list are invalid. Nothing will happen if you send a few e-mails to those addresses, but if you do it frequently, you will probably end up blacklisted.

3. Recipient report

Believe it or not, many IP addresses end up blacklisted because of recipient’s reports of unwanted mail. It might be joke, accidentally or on purpose but ISP takes it very seriously so your IP comes to the blacklist.

4. Usage of the words that are commonly used in SPAM e-mails

If you market certain products or services like watches, medications, etc. which are often met in spam emails, you’re sentenced to be blacklisted and/or filtered. This makes it more important that you respect best e-mail marketing practices.

As I’ve already mention, you won’t be informed about blacklisting your IP address so it is very important to use some of the methods for discovering it and responding.

1. Follow your user’s complains about not getting e-mails

Your loyal subscribers will now something’s wrong if they don’t get the e-mail. They probably wouldn’t just ignore it but warn you about it.

2. Check e-mail system for security gaps

If you’re not using ESP and you’re sending e-mails directly from your company, spammers can use botnets and access your e-mail servers to use them for sending SPAM. Be sure your IT section knows how to react to this problem and eliminate it.

What to do once I’m blacklisted?

If you, despite precautions, end up blacklisted, it’s most important to find it out on time. If you’re using ESP (email service provider) contact their customer support because in most cases they have good cooperation with ISP that put you to the blacklist so that can be fixed quickly. If you’re not using an ESP, make sure with your IT department that your servers haven’t been hacked.

It is important to find out the reason you ended up blacklisted in the first place so you can avoid repeating your mistakes and getting to the blacklist which might get more difficult to solve next time.
Each blacklist has its own procedure for request.

Right now, you’re probably asking this question: how can you permanently protect yourself against being blacklisted. The answer is  simple – you can’t. Your sender reputation and authentication, whitelisting, and best email practices can only reduce the risk of being blacklisted but do not exclude it.

Written by Branimir Grabovac

Branimir founded a hosting company when he was 15 and sold it three years later to one of the biggest Croatian hosting companies. Branimir has 3+ years of experience in business development and more then 8 years of experience in web design and programming.

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