Apr 2, 2007

Do your emails deserve to be whitelisted?

Everybody gets reported for spam. Yes, even legitimate email marketers, and yes, even if you have a double opt-in list.

People forget opting-in. Or they lie. Or grandma signed up 2 dozen friends and relatives for a newsletter they didn’t want. Or dad thinks the "this is spam" button is just a nice way to organize his inbox.

Whatever the case, if you send email marketing long enough, you will inevitably get reported for spam. When that happens, a copy of your email gets reviewed by ISPs, anti-spam groups, blacklist administrators, and your email service provider.

So before you send your next email marketing campaign, imagine this scenario (because it’s probably happening behind the scenes with every single campaign you send):

One of the recipients on your list has just accused you of spamming by clicking on his "this is spam" button in his email program. Or a spam
filter on a corporate server has accidentally quarantined your message for review as
"possible spam."

As a result, an engineer at a major anti-spam organization, or ISP postmaster, or an IT guy at some big corporation, gets a copy of your campaign. Now he has to sit down, read your email, and determine whether or not it’s spam.

The only thing that person has to judge you on is your design and your content. He has to make a quick decision on whether or not to block all future emails from your company, or to let you into their circle of trusted friends. If you think he’s going to call you and ask you for proof of opt-in, think again. He will most likely take all of 3 seconds to make his decision.

Blocking you is easy. He clicks a button. Done. Now he can go back to watching YouTube.

Trusting you is
hard. He’ll have to log in to a dashboard and type your domain name into a "whitelist" of trusted senders, or he’ll have to
trace your email back to your IP address, and plug that into their
email firewall, or modify a .txt file in a server somewhere.

Put yourself in their shoes. Look at your emails.

Do your emails deserve to be whitelisted?