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How to Reduce Blocked E-Mail Marketing Messages

The reasons your marketing e-mails sometimes get blocked are many and varied, but you can reduce the chance that your e-mails will be waylaid by following a few guidelines:

  • Respond to a challenge response system: A challenge response system is a software program that returns all unrecognized e-mail to the sender with instructions only a live person can follow to get the mail delivered.

    This challenge response e-mail asks the sender to click a link and fill out a form. [Credit: Courte
    Credit: Courtesy of SpamArrest
    This challenge response e-mail asks the sender to click a link and fill out a form.

    If you send e-mail to someone with a challenge response system, the returned e-mail might ask you to click a link and enter specific characters in a form field or reply to the e-mail with a specific Subject line. Following the instructions in the returned e-mail adds your server address or e-mail address to the subscriber’s friends list or address book so that future e-mails are delivered without a challenge. Spam-blocking technology is getting better all the time, so you probably won’t run into challenge responses too much.

  • Avoid spam trap e-mail addresses: A spam trap is a false e-mail address placed on the Internet by a company with an interest in reducing spam. When a spammer who captures the address tries to send an e-mail to that address, the sender’s domain and server address are automatically added to the anti-spam company’s blacklist. Many companies share their spam trap block lists, and if you send e-mail to a spam trap address, your deliverability could be doomed.

    To avoid spam trap e-mail addresses:

    • Don’t surf the Internet to obtain e-mail addresses — it’s risky and illegal.

    • Don’t send e-mail to a purchased list.

    • Send a welcome e-mail to every new list subscriber and immediately remove e-mail addresses that return your welcome e-mail.

  • Get past e-mail firewalls: An e-mail firewall is a piece of hardware or a software application programmed to identify and block e-mails that appear untrustworthy. Firewalls can be customized and configured to block almost any e-mail element.

    Because firewalls have so many variables, telling whether your e-mail is being blocked by a firewall is usually impossible. If you use an e-mail marketing program that provides blocked e-mail addresses in its bounce report, however, you can at least find out which e-mail addresses are being blocked and then take action to try to get the e-mail delivered.

  • Avoid anti-spam blacklists: Getting on a blacklist can be a matter of sending an e-mail to a spam-trap address or having too many recipients label your message as spam. Use good e-mail collection techniques, remove bad addresses from your lists, and do all you can to let your recipients identify you as a trustworthy sender to stay off blacklists.

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