Are there restrictions on the addresses I can add/import to my list?

A good, clean subscriber list is the number one thing you can do to make sure your messages get read.  Accounts with old, problematic subscriber lists can find their messages directed to Spam/Junk Mail folders or blocked entirely.  So, what constitutes a good list?

A good list:

  • has double opt-in subscribers.  "Double opt-in" refers to a signup process where you collect someone's email address, then send them an email, confirming that they asked to join the list.  This weeds out addresses that might have had typos, fake addresses, and addresses added by someone other than the recipient.
  • has been mailed recently.  The rule of thumb is, if you haven't emailed someone within 6 months, they probably don't remember giving you permission to email them.
  • is mailed regularly.  You will get better open and click rates, and the fewest spam complaints, from a list you mail at least every 2 months.

What can you do if your list of subscribers does not meet these requirements?

If your list is single opt-in (i.e. you did not confirm the addresses) or you last mailed them between 6 and 18 months ago, you may invite them to join your list.  Your invitation can be customized to remind people who you are, how they might have heard from you in the past, and what they can expect to receive from you in the future.  For example:

Hi, this is Sam's Express!  You haven't heard from us in a while, but you've used our business in the past.  
We'd like to keep in touch with weekly emails telling you about new services and great deals.  If you'd like
to hear from us, just click the link below to join the list!
If you join the list, you can always unsubscribe later at any time.  If you don't want to join the list, this is 
the only message you'll get from us.
Thanks!  
Your buddies at Sam's Express

If your list hasn't been mailed in more than 18 months, you cannot add those subscribers. This is because ISPs use spam complaints and the percentage of bouncing addresses on your list to determine your reputation.  If your reputation is too low (i.e. too many addresses on the list bounce, or click the "This is Spam" button for your message), your message will not reach the Inbox for the addresses on it that are still good.  If your list is very old, we recommend starting from scratch with addresses you've collected more recently.

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