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When Email Marketing Can Bite You in the Ass

by Wynne Pirini on August 17, 2012

Last week I started some new email marketing campaigns.

This is business as usual for me.

Put up a campaign.

Test. Fail. Tweak. Re-test.

Repeat process until profitable… or not as the case may be if the campaign is clearly a dud (which happens often enough).

But then something weird happened.

Out of the blue I received a message from Office Autopilot:

“URGENT – Email Abuse Warning”


As you can imagine I was freaking out. This was the first time I’d ever received this type of letter from an email service.

So I immediately hit support with an enquiry. But nobody could give me an answer as to why this was happening. So I kept at them until somebody came back with a straight answer…

“You sent an email to 20 people, and 6 hard-bounced. This is an extremely high bounce rate”.

Now please keep this in perspective. 20 emails is NOTHING for me. I literally send out tens of thousands of emails every week (to people who willingly open and consume my content).

And to have my account jeapardized because of sending 20 emails is hard to swallow.

So I suddenly realized what was happening.

I was getting fake email addresses being submitted (or just a high percentage of people who don’t know their own email addresses).

Now if you have a high bounce rate due to dead emails then you’ll be in serious danger of losing your account.

Luckily it was only a small number of emails that triggered the warning. (And I’ve got no idea who that would be).

Anyway, the key learning from this is that one simple (newbie) mistake can cost you your email account. I’m pretty lucky… I have a friend who just lost his Aweber account and list of over 150,000 emails. Painful.

So what was my mistake?

Well… it wasn’t really a mistake. But whenever you single opt people into your email list you’re taking a risk. And by double opting you reduce your risk considerably.

For the uninitiated double opting is when people who join your email list should confirm by clicking a link that’s sent in a follow up message.

Double opting rules out any Tom-foolery. And as a side benefit, the list you do build is ultra responsive to your offers.

The downside is that you will have lower conversions of people joining your list.

If you’re finding you’re getting high bounce rates or complaint rates with your list building activities, then seriously consider double opting people instead.

~ Wynne Pirini

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