Staying on Good Terms With Recipients

Email Marketers all share the same fear: what if the recipient flags my email as spam or, worse yet, reports my email to the “abuse” address of their mail server, thus causing me to get blacklisted?

While this is a very real concern and can happen to even the most experienced and largest email marketing firms, there are several things you can do to assure that this won’t happen. Here are some tips and tricks to stay on good terms with the people on your email list.

  1. Only send emails relevant to what they signed up for. If the recipient signed up for a weekly  newsletter about dog care, don’t send them an email entirely about a special offer from your software affiliate.
  2. Don’t send your email to a generic recipient such as “support”,”webmaster”, or “admin” unless they specifically signed up for your newsletter.  These recipients are more likely to report you to their mail server admin because they are in part responsible for the business’ operations.
  3. Always remind the recipient why they are on your mailing list, with a sentence such as “You are receiving this email because you have signed up for our weekly newsletter at”  More and more, a lot of businesses are putting a sentence right at the very top of the email (above any design templates) that says “Please do not report this as spam. You are receiving this because you signed up for our newsletter. To unsubscribe, click here.”  This brings us to our third tip.
  4. Always make it plainly obvious how the recipient can unsubscribe from the newsletter and also provide your physical address as an alternative means to contact you. This is the law!
  5. Recipients have the power to correctly or incorrectly flag your email as spam, which then records this in their settings and prevents future emails. Another counter-measure is to remind the user to enter your email address into their address book and link them to instructions on how to do so. This prevents your email from going into the Junk/Spam folder.
  6. Another trick, to prevent them from reporting you, is to include a line such as, “This email was sent using Email Marketing Professional. To report abuse of this software, click here to send an email to”

Make sure your email doesn’t look spammy.  We’ve all seen those one sentence messages with a link and immediately wonder how they made it to our inbox. Also, take the time to send the email to This will send you a reply email that tells you your spam score and will help you correct any phrasing or email headers that might be suspicious to spam software.

Remember, for each mail server there is a mail admin who has the ability to create his  or her own rules about what spam is, including using your mail server’s IP Address. You’re not going to get your message through 100% of the time, but by following practical guidelines, you should be OK.

If you think you’ve been blacklisted, go to Enter your domain name and the tool will list your mail server. Run the blacklist check, and this will query 122 known blacklists.

Or, the problem may be that your own ISP or mail server admin has blocked your outgoing mail. Usually, you can unblock yourself by explaining that you have been sending legitimate business communications in bulk and that a recipient erroneously reported you. As who the recipient was, and if they know, simply remove them from the list and explain to the admins that you have taken measures that will prevent this from happening again. If you have your own mail server, a company called can help you get unblocked.