You can safely automate emails without damaging your email reputation. Here are the do’s and don’ts…


  • Send emails that people want to read. Looking for the “secret” to great email deliverability? That’s it, right there.
  • Set things up properly with your marketing automation platform.

    SPF & DKIM
     have become very important. When you use a marketing automation tool (like Net-Results, where I work), your automated emails are sent via our IP addresses. Recipient email servers can “see” that our IPs are not associated with your domain. This = bad. Email servers will think we are “spoofing” your domain.SPF & DKIM tell these email servers “these IP addresses are authorized senders of email for my domain”. Now you’re being smart and avoiding a common unforced error.
  • Reduce send volume/frequency for recipients who do not engage with your emails frequently
  • Remove from your lists people who do not engage at all. With Gmail in the lead, email systems are now paying attention not only the content of your emails, but also to whether recipients give a hoot about your content.Send lots of email to Gmail users and very few get opened? You’ll soon find yourself unable to stay out of Gmail’s spam filter. (See the first bullet point above for the magic solution to this problem)


  • Be a fool. When you buy email lists online you are taking a huge risk of ending up in the spam folder. But why you ask? It’s the unscrupulous sources of many email lists.It’s so lame, but many of these list companies write scripts that “crawl” the web and “scrape” up all the email addresses they find on websites. This can be a sizable percentage of the email addresses these tools will be happy to sell you.
    The problem? Some smart anti-spam person throws up a website and puts an email address on it. It’s a brand new email address they just set up through Gmail or whatever – this email address has never been used before and will be published nowhere else.
    This is called a honeypot or a “spam trap”. So when Joe List Broker sells you a list with this email address in it, and you send an email to that address, the smart anti-spam person knows there’s only one way you got that otherwise unpublished email address – you bought it from a tool that scraped it.
    Emailing to scraped email addresses is pretty much the definition of spam. Now you’re a spammer. Smart anti-spam guy adds you to blacklists and your emails get shit canned.
    Many email lists you can buy online are thus infected. You’ve been warned.
  • Send emails that any normal person would say “that looks kinda spammy”. If you think you might be doing this… you probably are. It’s hard to write emails people want to read, but this is the way to the inbox. Give first.
  • Bombard the people you’re emailing. My company is a marketing automation platform provider – this is all we do. We deal with thousands of email campaigns. We know the habits that lead to success and those that lead to trouble. Spammy looking emails very often go hand in hand with bombarding the inbox. More is not necessarily better. Be realistic.

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Michael Ward

I'm founder & CEO @NetResults, the 1st choice of people buying marketing automation for the 2nd time.