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Email Marketing Best Practices


Using Email Marketing Responsibly

Email marketing is a very effective tool used to help promote events or special promotions your organization is presenting. However, abuse or overuse of marketing messages can get your organization blacklisted, which at best will prevent your messages from getting to your client base, and at worst disable all email flow to and from your organization.

To prevent this from occurring and to allow your organization to continue using email in a productive manner, it is best to follow the email marketing best practices outlined in this document.


Blacklists have been created to ensure that the internet is clear of unsolicited email. This is performed at the mail provider where they are given a list of email senders that are suspects of sending unsolicited email to the public. This list keeps the senders' email blasts from being delivered to any inbox. Sadly, your organization can accidentally be blacklisted through repeated use of mass marketing emails.

Services are available to determine if your organization has been placed on a blacklist. Such services allow you to enter your mail server IP address or domain name and check it against various blocked senders lists. Many are free services or will provide free trials of the services. If you suspect that your server has been placed on a blacklist, contact your IT department for details.

The most common blacklist services used are:

How to Prevent Being Blacklisted

There are many ways to use email marketing while ensuring that your organization is not placed on any blacklists. The following list is not exclusive, but these tips will assist you in performing best practices for email solicitation and help to retain the good standing of your organization's mail services:

  • Do Not Purchase an Email List from a Provider: It is suggested that you limit your email audience to solely those that exist within your AudienceView system. As such, the list of customers that you have internally has a history with your organization through purchase of your events. It is strongly urged that you do not purchase lists of customers that have not purchased any events from you.
  • Ensure Your Customers Have Opted In to Solicitation: Ensure that your email audience has opted in directly to your newsletters or solicitation emails. If the reader confirms that they want to receive correspondence from you, it minimizes the chance of your service being blacklisted.
  • Make it Easy for a Reader to Unsubscribe from Your Postings: The means for your customers to opt out of your solicitation should be made as easy as possible. Ensure that your business practice uses a 'Do Not Solicit' list within your customer base to ensure that those that do not want to be messaged are not. For more information, refer to Email Marketing Single Click Opt-Out.
  • Do Not Repurpose Emails:  Ensure that stored emails for clients are not being used for unwanted solicitation. That is, simply because a customer has a stored email address for online sales, does not mean that this email address can be used for solicitation.
  • Use a Content Checker: You can use an online content checker (e.g. isnotspam and lyris) to assess the likelihood that the content of your email correspondence will be considered spam. Some content checkers also provide reports, indicating how to improve the content so that it will not be assessed as spam.
  • Ensure that Security Protocols are Outlined and Followed by IT Staff: Ensure that IT Management has outlined their own technical safeguarding processes to ensure that no one in the department, accidentally or otherwise, is able to get your organization blacklisted. This includes frequently altering the passwords for email services, and ensuring secure access to the AudienceView application.
  • Have IT Ensure that Mail Services are Running Optimally: Ensure that your IT Department have your mail services running optimally and efficiently with the most recently available patches and updates available. An out-of-date email server can accidentally be blacklisted by not following current technical email protocols.
  • Beware Infiltration of Spambots: Talk with your IT Department to ensure that all users are protected from Spambots (programs that can infect a user or user's email account and behave like a mass mailer). Spambots can easily take hold of your mail service unbeknownst to you and get your mail service blacklisted.
  • Be Courteous if Accidentally Blacklisted: If you find yourself on a blacklist, contact the organization that has blacklisted you in a courteous and professional manner. Explain your situation and do not threaten to sue. Such behaviour can cause you further problems and breaks in service.