You may have an excellent cold email copy, complete with catchy subject lines, and actionable CTAs, but your cold email campaigns will have zero chance of generating revenue or leads if you end up on the email blacklist. 

Instead of the inbox, the spam folder will be your new destination. No openings, no deliverability, no capturing leads.

Read on as we discuss the dreaded email blacklist and how you can avoid it by practicing good email etiquette and reducing bounce rate, among other things, to ensure a successful cold email outreach, sans any hiccups.

What Is an Email Blacklist?

The email blacklist is one place where no businessperson wants to be — a real-time database of IP addresses and domains that are renowned spammers. While these blacklists are highly accurate, when it comes to warding off unwanted senders there is still a possibility of errors. 

If your IP address is there on any blacklist, your sent emails will end up as spam in the recipient’s inbox. But the good news is that you can get yourself off the blacklist by contacting the blacklist operator and proving your authenticity. It is certainly a time-consuming process, but it will get you unblacklisted.

There are two types of blacklists:

  • IP Address Blacklist

IP address blacklists contain IP addresses that are suspected of sending unwanted or spam emails. These addresses have also been reported to send other types of emails that contain malware.

  • Domain Blacklist

Domain blacklist, as the name suggests, is the list of all the domains that send spam as well as mislead users into compromising their personal data. This is often done to either extort money or get access to sensitive information to cause the user harm.

These blacklists are actually very useful since they protect users from spam, keeping their inboxes clean from unwanted emails.

How Does an Email Blacklist Work?

Every sent email contains a string of digits, also known as the IP address, to identify the email server that delivers the email and where the email was sent from.

Whenever you send an email, it’s received by an internet service provider (ISP) that checks the IP address against this blacklist. If the IP address is on the list, it’ll quickly be discarded, but if it isn’t, it’ll go forward.

When we say that your email will go forward, it doesn’t mean that it’ll immediately reach the recipient’s mailbox. Instead, the email will go through spam filters. Only after passing through every filter will it enter a recipient’s inbox.

Here are the common email blacklists that your email address needs to clear:

  • Enterprise spam firewalls or DNS blacklists (DNSBL), such as McAfee and Barracuda, that are commonly used by IT departments in the corporate sector.

  • Public blacklists that are free and can be checked on Google.

  • Private blacklists that are maintained and circulated by ISPs. Gmail, for instance, has its own internal blacklist to filter user emails.

The other popular companies that offer blacklist services include Spamhaus, Spamcop, and Invaluement. Make sure your IP address isn’t on one of these blacklists by running a check using these services, or else your email deliverability will suffer. 

Whether or not your email address ends up on the blacklist will depend on your history of sending good or bad emails. If you send good emails repeatedly, your emails will be clear for delivery, but any repeated offenses, and you’ll end up being blacklisted.

Deadly Mistakes That Put You on Email Blacklists

If you’ve been wondering how to avoid an email blacklist, we’ve got you. Just avoid the points we discuss below, and your emails should be good to go.

Malicious Hackers

Hackers have always been bad news, and today’s no different.

They can start sending spam messages or messages that contain malware after getting access to the sender’s account. Or, if not, they might spoof your email address to get a free lift of your IP address and send fraudulent emails. If you find you’re getting a lot of error messages for emails you didn’t send, it means your address has been hacked or somebody is spoofing your account. 

Like we said, always bad news.

Bad Email List Hygiene

You must clean your email list periodically, preferably every six months, to ensure your subscribers are all active email accounts.

You see, when you send emails to inactive addresses or inbox that have been converted to spam traps, it’ll hurt your sender reputation. As a result, you’ll end up in blacklist land.

Unusually Higher Volume of Mails

An excess of anything is bad – even emails. In fact, if there’s anyone who often sends a high volume of emails around the globe, it’s spammers. This is why mail servers end up blacklisting IP addresses that have an unusually higher email volume as spam. Plus, it’s always better to send quality emails instead of quantity.

Higher Frequency of Spam Complaints

Companies always receive a few spam complaints whenever they launch an email marketing campaign. 

But when the complaints become higher in number or way more than 1% of the total emails sent, it puts your IP right on an ISP’s blacklist spotlight. Do your best to avoid spammy content by ensuring your emails tick off all the right things on a good cold emailing checklist (we’ll give you some tips soon).

Unnatural Email List Growth

The organic growth of a good email list takes time – something that even ISPs know very well. Hence, when an email list experiences a big surge in a short period, ISPs start to suspect it as a purchased list and put it on the blacklist.

So if you plan on purchasing email lists, abort the mission.

How To Pass an Email Blacklist Check for a Successful Cold Email Outreach

You can luckily avoid the whole hassle of getting blacklisted by keeping a few factors in mind. Read on as we discuss them in more detail below.

Be Careful With Your Email Subscription Lists

Precaution is always better than cure, which is why it’s better to grow your list organically instead of renting or purchasing lists. Plus, there’s always a possibility of you sending emails to addresses that are fraudulent, contain typos, or are forged, which, in turn, can hurt your sender reputation.

Try to add only opt-in subscribers and include an unsubscribe link. This way, the recipients know they are on your email list, and if they want to opt-out, they can simply unsubscribe instead of reporting your email as spam. Moreover, the GDPR law has made it mandatory for email marketers to include an unsubscribe link when sending emails.

Practicing Good Emailing Etiquettes

Practicing good emailing etiquette is pretty straightforward with just two simple rules.

  • First, don’t send too many emails at one go. Trust us, nothing screams “Scammer!” more than this.

  • Second, be cautious when sending follow-ups. It’s better to avoid emailing any recipient who isn’t interested in what you have to offer or gives no response despite following-up.

You should also try to follow the guidelines of your Email Service Provider (ESP) when drafting an email to lower your chances of getting blacklisted

Keep Track of Your Email Marketing Metrics

If you want a real picture of your email campaigns, you have to keep track of important email metrics — from bounce rates to open rates. 

You can get an idea of your subscribers’ likes and dislikes, along with the type of content that encourages maximum engagement and interaction.

Personalization can help you avoid getting blacklisted too by increasing your chances of recipients viewing you in a positive light. We would also recommend using a good domain name for a low email bounce rate and setting up SPF and DKIM to verify your email address and facilitate blacklist removal.

Say ‘Hell No’ To the Email Blacklist With QuickMail

Avoiding email blacklists should be one of your top priorities. You need to work on your email deliverability by improving your sender reputation by sending high-quality emails to opt-in subscribers and dodging spam traps.

At the same time, keeping a check on the statistics of every email marketing campaign of your company is equally important, especially if you want to gain your recipients’ trust and ensure long-term growth. Make sure your cold emailing campaigns are on the right track; Start your free QuickMail trial for easy email management and improved email list handling.