Signs that you have been marked as SPAM
Pay attention to your open rate
Your open rate will vary based on a few factors. The most important is the people you are reaching out to and the content you are sending. If you have a subject line follows our best practices and your pool of prospects are people that know will want to open your email, you should have a healthy open rate.
The number of people in your campaign will also determine what is healthy.
A good overall number to look for is an open rate above 10% for smaller campaigns (100 or less people). For larger campaigns, anything around 10% or less is a warning sign that something is wrong with your deliverability.
Pay attention to your bounce rate
You can calculate your bounce rate by filtering for all bounced emails and then filter for everyone you have contacted. Both can be found under the Status filter.
Next, divide the bounce total by the number of contacted prospects to get your bounce rate. If your bounce rate is over 20% this is a good time to look into your account.
Getting off of blacklists
It may happen that your IP address or email gets blacklisted. It’s not the end of the world, but you should do your best to be removed from it. Each blacklist has its own procedures on how to get de-listed. The most popular ones are self-service and time-based removal methods. When you know the name of the blacklist you are on, you should find information how to proceed with it – maybe it’s enough to wait one or two weeks. Here’s some information about a tool that can help you check, if there your domain is present on any of the blacklists. When you appear on a blacklist for the first time, there is still a chance you can be removed from it. However, after you are listed once, you need to be much more careful. Being listed for the second time might cause a lot of trouble and the removal process could become much more complex.
It’s worth keeping in mind that there are not only blacklists but whitelists too. One example would be The Spamhaus Whitelist. Appearing on such a list shows that the IP address/domain is trustworthy.
Improving your mailbox reputation
When you notice you have been caught by spam filters and it turns out it is too late for the preventive methods, you need to work on your mailbox reputation. First of all, make sure, you have all the helpful DNS records set up for your domain. You can find more information about them here and here. In these articles, you will find information about best practices in regards to your DNS and email server configuration, as well as best practices in configuring a custom tracking domain for all your links. We highly recommend setting it up.
One of the best ways to restore your sending reputation is to slow down a bit for some time. For the emails that received many bounces, stop sending messages for a couple of days, then start sending again, but set the sending limit to 25% of your original one. After a week, increase it to 50%, then next week to 75%, until you reach your original sending limit. While doing this, focus on your email content - make sure, that there is no reason for a potential receiver to mark it as spam - don’t use subjects that are inconsistent with the content of the message like e.g. too many images and links, etc. Monitor your open rates - the higher they are during the recovery period, the better. The entire process may take some time, but it should decrease your bounce rates by a noticeable margin.
The key to success in outbound is to base your strategy on sending high-quality communications which is tailored to your recipients and brings them value. Being aware of your potential customers’ needs lets you adjust the messages you send and offer them a helpful solution. It may happen that you are caught by spam filters or blacklisted but this is not the end of the world. Work on your domain and IP address’ reputation and keep the standards of your communication high in the future.