Originally posted by Salsa Labs

by Brett Schenker, Senior Deliverability Manager, Salsa

It’s an election year and whether you’re a campaign or an organization no doubt you’ll be feeling pressure about building your supporter email list quickly. You’ll be tempted by to leverage lists from campaigns past or other lists, thinking it’s best to not know where they’re from. I’ve been there, I’ve succumbed to temptation. But, short cuts can wind up hurting you in the end when it comes to sending email.

Determining if Your Email is Spam

There’s a few things that email providers look for when it comes to determining if your email is spam. Content, technical set-up and how people react help determine this dark art.

BIG Dangers in Using Non-Opted in Lists

First two big dangers: how those individuals react and also if the email address even exists. We’ll start with the latter. There’s an email status known as User Unknown. This is a designation that email providers use to indicate that an email account doesn’t exist. User Unknowns to email providers are a pretty big indication that an email isn’t an organic sign up, it’s not opt-ed in. Enough of these happen and automated processes are triggered that might get you blocked.

How individuals react is important too. If people receive an email that’s unwanted, they’ll unsubscribe, delete it without opening it or worst of all mark the email as spam. All of these are measured. All of these can affect you. Email providers are paying attention to how people interact with email.

Worst of All is the Dreaded Spam Trap

Spam Traps are a technique where by email addresses are purposely left out in the open for individuals to pick up. These email addresses aren’t signed up, they’re decoys. If you have one, it’s not an opt-in. Sometimes once used domains are purchased by companies and turned into spam traps. That’s a red flag and will often result in outright blocks.

Parting Thoughts

A block is a nightmare to deal with and can take weeks if not months to clear. Avoiding opt-in email list best practices can decrease your email’s deliverability. You’re playing Russian Roulette if you do any of the above and while you might skirt by for now, sooner or later you’ll lose the game in the end. Is the possible short term gain worth the absolute eventual loss?

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