5 best practices for email distro lists

Curb the bounce

Bouncebacks are good when you’re talking about some impressive recovery, as in, “Wow, can you believe the bounceback in sales since last quarter?” or, “Dude, your bounceback from that wipeout was sick.”

Bouncebacks are bad when you’re talking about email.

Nobody wants to see a nasty error message in their inbox. You know, one that reads something like, “Recipent not found” or, worse yet, “This message has been rejected due to content judged to be spam by the Internet community.”


In technical terms, when a mail server can’t send or deliver an email, it generates a bounceback message that describes why delivery failed. Maybe you misspelled an email address. Maybe you forgot to add an “opt-out” option to your monthly e-newsletter. Whatever the case, your email was rejected and returned — and it’s now at least a time-consuming hassle and at most a ding to your email reputation.

Nobody wants to be tagged as a spammer.

Instead of spending your time dealing with bouncebacks after they happen, it’s a good move to take measures to prevent them. Check out five best practices for sending emails to distribution lists:

1. Get consent.

You should be transparent about what you’re sending, and then get consent from recipients. Display a clearly worded notification to advise recipients what they’re consenting to. Keep this notification available when people opt in and for future reference. Follow-up confirmation messages to recipients are a good idea, as well.

2. Make it easy to unsubscribe.

Keep the process for unsubscribing from your emails simple, and quickly follow up on unsubscribe requests. It’s also a good practice to display which distro lists are included in the opt-out. One-click unsubscribe links are great. Adding them is actually pretty easy.

3. Develop a good reputation.

Establishing a good reputation means researching, and then adhering to, all the rules and regulations involved with using email. You should check with any Internet providers and domain registrars, who usually define ways to identify and authenticate types of email communications.

4. Perform maintenance.

Because spammers rarely invest many resources in their schemes, repetitive delivery errors can raise red flags. You should quickly address errors — such as timeouts or too many connections — to avoid looking like a bot pumping out spam. For example, a real person wouldn’t continue emailing an address that throws back a permanent delivery error. But a bot would.

5. Seek resolution.

When errors come up, you should go the extra mile to figure out what happened and how to keep it from coming up again. A great place to start is our Support Home Page, where you can get help online or over the phone.

A domain-based email that reflects your business sets the right tone. Get a professional email address today.

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Andrea Rowland
A former small business owner and newspaper journalist, and a published nonfiction author, Andrea Rowland helps craft compelling communications for small businesses and web pros through her work as managing editor of the GoDaddy Garage. When she's not writing or editing, she likes to experiment with baking, travel, read, and dip her toes in the ocean.