Avoid Santa’s Blocklists This Holiday Season

Ho ho hold on there. Your holiday email program may be running a little behind, but you still can’t run amok. 

While Santa’s sleigh is still parked in the hangar, you’ve got some work to do before you can make it rain — er, snow — email. If you don’t, you might find yourself on Santa’s Naughty List, which in our world is Santa’s Blocklist. 

We’ve gone over blocklists in depth before, so we won’t explain it too much here. However, it’s even more critical to follow email best practices during the lead-up to peak holiday sending season, lest you find yourself on one. 

The major reason this season is so tricky is because of the inherent increase in mail volume. Why is this dangerous for senders? More mail means the potential for more spam complaints and spam trap hits. These are two big factors blocklist operators take into consideration before listing a sender. You’ll need to make sure you’re doing all you can to keep complaints and trap hits as low as possible. 

Here’s our advice for staying on Santa’s (aka: blocklist operators’) good side. 

Let subscribers light your way 

The “Report Spam” button can be a real menace. And unfortunately, even if you’ve warmed up your domains and IPs, and you have well-segmented lists and personalized email strategies…you could just catch your recipient on a bad day. The holidays can be a stressful time! 

Your subscribers can do several things to let you know they’re either done with your emails or are just getting a little sick of them. If they aren’t giving you engagement signals like opens, and instead, you’re seeing them do things like delete-without-opens, it’s time to let them tell you what they want for the holidays.  

There are a couple ways to do this intelligently.  

  1. Let them “snooze.” Sometimes people want a moment of peace. Just ask your mom. Give your subscribers the option to tell you how much they want to hear from you, even if that means hitting pause on your messages. Create the option to opt-out temporarily by asking them to change their frequency in your preferences center. But don’t forget to send them an email after the holidays to remind them to go back in and adjust their frequency again.
  2. Ask for more personalization direction. You’ve hopefully segmented and personalized emails to the best of your ability, but you can take it a step further. Who are they shopping for? Segment these answers into groups to provide recommendations based on their needs. 

If these methods aren’t working, you’re left trying to figure out how to keep them from slapping the complaint button. Our next piece of advice is a big one to help you do that. 

Give the gift of simplicity 

It’s hard to say goodbye to any subscriber. But, by making it easy to unsubscribe instead of complain, your recipients aren’t waving to MBPs with a flag the color of Rudolph’s nose: very red.  

We recommend adding a List-Unsubscribe Header link to your messages. So, instead of hitting the spam button, they can simply unsubscribe from your distributions without needing to open them, scroll to the bottom, find what is usually a tiny unsub link, and free themselves.  

SocketLabs On-Demand customers can do this super easily with our automated version of the feature. Here are detailed instructions on how to do it, plus a little more information about why it’s a good option. We’ll make sure anyone who takes you up on the offer will immediately be added to your suppression list. 

Yes, it’s that easy.  

Our gift to you 

We have a few extra pieces of information you should keep in mind this season. 

  1. Start slowly. Ramp up your sending starting…well, starting right now. Slowly increase your volume to let MBPs know you’re planning on going a little bigger than usual, and they won’t be grinches. 
  2. Be targeted. This is a great time to use your knowledge for good. Break customers into smaller groups according to engagement levels. 
  3. Tidy up. Trim unwanted guests from your email party invite list by removing any bad addresses. Bounces or failures? Be gone. 
  4. Stay familiar. This isn’t the time to reach out to unengaged subscribers with a re-engagement campaign. Just like you wouldn’t invite your elementary school bestie to your holiday shindig after not speaking to them for years, stick to the people you know from recent interaction. 
  5. Expect the unexpected. If something goes wrong with that first send…hoo, boy. You’re navigating through a blizzard. Bad things can happen on a good day, especially if it is peak season. It’s smart to have some prioritization in your campaign calendar so you can play it safe the week before an important send or ensure you’re not distributing two higher-risk messages back-to-back. 

If you need more guidance on how to send email the right way, let us know. We have plenty of ways to help you. 

We wish you the best of luck as we near another season of joy!  

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