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eMail Marketing Best Practices Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Do's and Don'ts of email marketing

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Getting your email blocked or landing on an email blacklist has a direct impact on your email delive­rab­ility. Unfort­una­tely, you don’t have to send spam to have your email blocked or be blackl­isted.

A blacklist is created by indepe­ndent spam organi­zations who put together a list of emails and IPs that have been previously seen sending spam. In fact, some ISPs (and other companies) even have their own internal blackl­ists. As a result, every email admini­strator has the ability to choose to block things that are on the blacklist and they can also block any other emails or IPs they think look spammy.

Do's for eMailing

Do use double opt-in to confirm email list subscr­ibers. This helps ensure that subscr­ibers are signing up with their own email addresses and that those email addresses are valid.
Do include inform­ation on how to unsubs­cribe in every email.
Do watch your sending frequency. Send email regularly while being careful not to overwhelm reader­s.(we recommend at a bare minimum to send a message at least once every six months to keep your email list fresh. Unless you are a daily sender like Groupon, most email senders should avoid sending more than once or twice a week.)
Do send email from a legitimate address that is checked by a real person. Email addresses with random letters and numbers trigger spam filters and can lead to your email being blocked.
Do ask subscr­ibers to add your email address to their contact list.
Do practice good list hygiene. Regularly clean your email subscriber list to avoid repeatedly sending email to bad or non-ex­istent email addresses.
Do protect your email server from malware. An infected email server can be used as part of a botnet to send spam.(We once had a prospect come to us with severe delive­rab­ility problems not explained by their mailing practices. When we looked into it, we found that their web server had been infected and was sending out email spam. They’d had no idea. Once we cleaned that up, their delive­rab­ility improved a great deal.)

Do's & Don'ts


Don’t buy email lists. Ever. The people on these lists are likely to mark your unsoli­cited emails as spam, and there’s a good chance that a spamtrap is included in the list. Sending email to a spamtrap will usually land you on a blacklist.
Don’t repeatedly send the same or similar content. Every email you send should consist of unique content. Not only will this help keep you stay off of blackl­ists, but it will also keep your subscr­ibers engaged.
Don’t string readers along with vague content. Include a clearly written subject line and call to action.
Don’t send attach­ments, it’s a sure way to get blocked. (Sending attach­ments may get your email blocked, but not blackl­isted. The effect on delive­rab­ility may be the same, but the remedy is to simply not send attach­ments rather than working to get removed from a list).
Don’t use punctu­ation (such as exclam­ation marks) or words that are often used by spammers. These include free, win, and opport­unity.
Don’t blind carbon copy (BCC) your list.
Don’t use too many images. Strive for a healthy balance of images and text to avoid triggering spam filters.
Don’t use all caps in your subject line – or any other part of your email. Instead, use bold, italics and underline to show emphasis.