How to Get Off Email Blacklist: Tips and Tricks | EasyDMARC

How to Avoid Email Blacklists and Improve Your Deliverability

8 Min Read

Email marketing is a mighty tool for connecting with your target audience. But its effectiveness depends on your emails actually reaching your audience’s inboxes. 

Unfortunately, the existence of email blacklists poses a significant threat that no one wishes to encounter.

The possibility of having your email, IP address, or domain name marked as spam is a genuine concern that can hurt the outcomes of your email campaign, leading to higher bounce rates. 

It’s important to steer clear of blacklists, as doing so ultimately bolsters your email deliverability.

However, should you find yourself inadvertently consigned to this undesirable realm, rest assured that there are few strategies for extricating your email presence from such murky waters.

In this guide, we’ll share exactly how to get off the email blacklist and boost email deliverability. 

What Are Email Blacklists and How Do They Work?

An email blacklist — also known as a DNS blacklist or Real-time Blackhole List (RBL) — is a database of email addresses, IP addresses, or domain names marked as sending spam or other unwanted emails.

Anti-spam organizations create these blacklists, which are then used by email service providers (ESPs) to block or flag identifiers as spam to avoid getting undesirable emails.

The ESPs use blacklists like an airport security check:

  • The recipient’s ESP checks every incoming email against blacklists.
  • If the sender’s IP is on the blacklist, they mark the email as spam.
  • These spam emails go directly to the junk folder to prevent clutter in the primary tab.
  • If the email follows best practices and isn’t blacklisted, it goes to the inbox.

How to Check If You’re on an Email Blacklist?

Being on a blacklist damages your sender reputation (and therefore your business reputation), so it’s crucial to regularly check your IP and email addresses against blacklists.

Often, your ESPs will notify you when you’re blacklisted. But in case they don’t, here are a few different ways to check if you’ve landed on any of these lists.

1. Verify Directly With Email Blacklist Providers

One of the simplest ways to check if you’re on a list is to verify directly with the blacklist operators. They usually provide tools where you can enter your domain name or IP address to see if you’re on the list or not.

Some of the common blacklist vendors include:

  • Spamhaus
  • SURBL (Spam URI Real-time Blocklists)
  • Barracuda Reputation Block List (BRBL)
  • Invaluement
  • Proofpoint
  • SpamCop

You may even use online tools like EasyDMARC to analyze your domain and identify problems to implement necessary fixes.

The image shows a screenshot of DMARC, a tool that lets you analyze your domain in one click.

2. Monitor Your Open Rates

One of the email metrics that easily gives away if you’ve been blacklisted is ‌email open rates. 

After ending up on a blacklist, your open rates will experience a dramatic plunge. If your click-through rates also go down, it’s a clear indicator that you’ve found your way onto a blacklist. 

There are different ways to measure the performance of your email campaigns, allowing you to pinpoint areas for improvement and identify warning signs that require prompt attention and action.

3. Look for the Warning Signs

Keep a lookout for these warning signs to avoid landing in ‌murky waters.

There’s a chance people might tell you that your emails have ended up in their spam folders or that their emails have bounced back while trying to email you.

The screenshot shows a highlighted spam folder in the email app.

You probably used an unqualified email list and blasted out emails to invalid addresses. 

A lack of personalization and use of trigger words is a common cause for landing in the spam folder, so you must look for all the warning signs.

4. Run an IP/Domain Reputation Check

If you want to be completely sure about the blacklisting, run an IP/Domain Reputation Check. Go to EasyDMARC to test the spammyness of your IP or domain.

Input an IP address or a domain that you want to check for. After a few seconds, your results will appear. 

The above examples show a domain that’s properly avoided email blacklists. However, don’t worry if your results come back differently. We’ll cover the proper steps in the next section to take corrective action.

How to Get Off Email Blacklists

If you inadvertently find yourself in an email blacklist, the first step isn’t to panic. For a moment, take a step back to tackle the situation with a clear head.

While blacklists are certainly damaging for your email marketing campaigns, newsletters, and business, there are tried-and-true methods for getting off those lists.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Look at the policy and the criteria for being on a blacklist. Sometimes, all you have to do is prove you’re human to get off the list.
  1. Send a delisting request to blacklist providers, politely requesting them to remove you from the list.
  2. You can either email or fill out a delisting form explaining the situation.
  3. Use an email verifier to make sure you’re sending your email to the correct email that exists.
  4. Fix the problem (read the warning signs we’ve mentioned earlier) that could have caused the blacklisting and inform the providers of the necessary fixes to get off the list.
  5. Clean your email list to remove unidentified addresses.
  6. Scan your devices for malware.
  7. Some blacklist providers have no delisting policy. For these providers, stop the spamming activities, and after a certain period, they’ll remove you from the blacklist.

Tips to Improve Email Deliverability

Once you’re off the list, it’s best to leverage an email deliverability platform to warm up your emails and rebuild your IP and domain reputation. This is an important step, and ignoring it might lead to a second blacklist strike.

After you’ve rebuilt your email and IP address credibility, you can follow these tips to improve email deliverability.

Focus on Quality Content

One factor that can affect your email deliverability is the quality and relevance of your content. If you send emails that aren’t engaging, informative, or useful for your recipients, they might mark them as spam or unsubscribe from your list.

This can damage your sender’s reputation and increase the chances of landing on email blacklists.

To avoid this, create content tailored to your audience’s needs and interests, providing value. 

Here’s a great example of quality SEO content from Jeremy Moser, the CEO at uSERP. The email shows genuine results and simple tips for achieving similar results.

Now, to help you put this plan into action, you can leverage operational reporting to track and analyze the performance of your email campaigns. That way, you can find ‌emails hitting the mark or falling flat. From there, you can refocus your time and energy on the top performers. 

In other words, operational reporting is business intelligence that enables real-time tracking of crucial metrics and indicators, facilitating data-driven decision-making grounded in evidence. 

That approach sounds much better than throwing a handful of darts and hoping one hits the bullseye. Plus, high deliverability rates are a key indicator of operational excellence

When emails consistently reach recipients’ inboxes without issues, it shows a well-organized email system and good practices. With that, you’re well on your way to growing your email list and boosting your bottom line. 

Use an Email Signature

The last thing you want is to send a high-quality email only for your signature (or lack thereof) to be the sole reason it lands in the spam folder. That’s a lot of wasted effort with a simple solution. 

To maximize the deliverability of your emails and prevent them from being marked as spam, take these email signature best practices into consideration:

  • Stick to essential information like your name, title, company, and contact details.
  • Optimize images and limit their use.
  • Only include necessary and reputable links to avoid spam suspicion.
  • Maintain a consistent design and formatting throughout your signature.
  • Proper HTML code improves email signature display across devices and clients, enhancing professionalism and reducing deliverability issues.
  • Avoid special characters or emojis to enhance deliverability.
  • Include required legal information, such as your physical address, to abide by regulations like the CAN-SPAM Act.

When in doubt, research successful email signature examples to help you create a professional and deliverability-friendly signature of your own. 

Final Thoughts

Every day, attackers send about 3.4 billion phishing or malicious content emails. That means your email or IP address is also vulnerable to such attacks.

And this could make you lose your domain reputation, making you suffer losses in business.

EasyDMARC is an email security and deliverability platform which allows you to secure your email domain infrastructure and increase email deliverability.

Are you ready to identify and reject fake messages, improving the overall security of the email ecosystem? Here’s to your email marketing success. 

Co-founder & CEO at uSERP
Jeremy is the co-founder & CEO at uSERP, a digital PR and SEO agency. He also buys and builds SaaS companies like Wordable and writes for publications like Entrepreneur and Search Engine Journal.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

succees We’re glad you joined EasyDMARC newsletter! Get ready for valuable email security knowledge every week.

succees You’re already subscribed to EasyDMARC newsletter. Continue learning more about email security with us