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Email Marketing Best Practices, Part 2

Posted by Gwen Betts on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 @ 02:06 PM

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Thrive has been partnered with Accrisoft - makers of Freedom CMS - for many years. We consider it our top-notch solution for client-managed websites. One of their most powerful assets, hands-down, is the Email Marketing module. The email game has evolved over the years, but drastic changes have come within the past few months. Our friends over at Accrisoft recently published a very timely piece called, "Email Marketing Best Practices." This extensive guide provides valuable insight for any email marketer; the most important topic surrounding around email deliverability. This is more pressing now than ever before. Steps must be taken in order to maintain a healthy list, which strengthens the chance a user will receive your email and ultimately interact with your content. After all, isn't that the point?

The many support calls we've received lately pertain to a subject called Blacklisting. Many of our clients have asked, "Why is this happening now? We haven't done anything different." Between 30% of subscribers switching up their email address annually, poor list management, and stricter guidelines for spam, the little things add up to a big problem. Accrisoft's guide addresses this relevant topic, but we thought now would be a great time to add our expertise. Bounce Management can seem overwhelming, especially if your email list is at the blacklisting stage. We want to ease this burden and provide more in-depth help on how to clean your list within Freedom. Think of this as Email Marketing Best Practices Part 2.


First, let's remember Accrisoft's steps for list maintenance:

  1. Check your bounced emails.
  2. Invalidate bad emails.
    1. Invalidate permanent error codes.
    2. Fix mispellings.

These are both crucial steps once your server has been blacklisted. You cannot continue to send to bad emails; it will generate an even worse reputation for your server and you will continue to be blacklisted until this is resolved. Cleaning your bounce account is our first step.

  1. Clean Your Bounce Account
    1. Navigate to Email Marketing > Bounced
    2. Use the "Search" function to search for these individual terms:    
      1. invalid
      2. user
      3. unknown
      4. mailbox
      5. exist
      6. unavailable
      7. found
      8. account
    3. Once you do a search on each of those terms separately, click "Invalidate Filtered." These are select terms we were able to narrow down when searching for bad emails. Go through each one of these terms and continue to invalidate.
    4. Invalidate Based on Bounce Count: If an email has bounced more than 5 or more times, invalidate it.

From this point, you will still have a few emails left in your bounce account. Hopefully, these are still good emails. Think smart when invalidating; most addresses have a reason for the bounce. This is where blacklisting comes in. Here are just a few examples of a blacklisted email reason:

- SMTP; 550 5.1.1 : Recipient address rejected:
- SMTP; 550 5.7.1 : Relay access denied.
- SMTP; 550 5.7.1 Service unavailable; Client host blocked using Blocklist 1, mail from IP banned; To request removal from this list please forward this message to  
- SMTP; 554 Sorry, this message appears to be spam (#5.6.0)
- SMTP; 554- (RTR:BL) 554 Connecting IP:

And so on. This is where the real problem begins: removing your emails from blacklists. Each blacklist has their own process of removal; some are easy and some are not.


Within the blacklist removal process, there are two things that need to be identified:

- Determining Error Code
- Determining ISP

First, start with an error code, or reason for the blacklisting, then determine which ISPs are blocking your emails. Number 2 is especially important, because specific ISPs may have their own blacklist and removal process. Here are a list of known ISPs with unique blacklists and links to their removal process:

If the emails that are blocked do not come from any of the above sources, then an ISP/email client is likely using a general blacklist. To determine if your email is on a general blacklist, please follow this link:

This site will tell you if your website appears on any of the popular blacklists, and if so, it will show you steps for removal. You must search by website IP address. We can help provide you with this information when needed.

Once you have cleaned your bounce account and applied for blacklist removal, it is important to shoot for 0 bounced emails to maintain a healthy list. If a bounce reason does not seem like blacklisting and has bounced many times, it is safe to invalidate. Keep checking your bounce tab after each email. A healthy list will improve your IP reputation and your emails should see an improvement in delivery. From this point on, managing your bounce account will only take minutes!

Not technical? Don't have time to manage this task? We're more than willing to dive in! Please submit a request for Email Cleanup.

Topics: Thrive Internet Marketing, Email Marketing, Bounce Management, Blacklisting


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