whitelisting Articles

A Well-Done “Change of Address” Email

A Well-Done “Change of Address” Email

Posted by Justin Premick on 10/03/2008

There ought to be some kind of warning label: Changing your “From” address can be hazardous to your email deliverability.

Do it, and a few things can happen:

  • All those people who added you to their address books (you have been asking them to do that when they sign up, right?) suddenly don’t have you in their address books anymore.
  • People who had been viewing images in your (HTML) emails suddenly don’t because they haven’t yet permitted images to display for emails from your new address.

But if you have to do it, you should at least do it well.

Example of a Good “Change of Address” Email

A few months ago we showcased a whitelisting request that left a lot to be desired.

I noted at the time that the sender’s “approach to whitelisting [was] bass-ackwards,” but never went into detail about what a better whitelisting request would look like.

Well, courtesy of Dylan at The Email Wars, here’s an example of a well-done one.

Go take a look at the email – my thoughts below will make more sense once you do.

3 Things To Like About (And Learn From) This Email

  1. The Subject Line

    Ever had a friend change his/her email address and then email you to let you know? What subject line did s/he use?

    I bet it was something like “My New Email Address,” right?

    Well, that’s what Marriott did. Short, simple, just like a personal contact would. Brilliant.

  2. Clear Messaging

    It’s hard to mistake what this email is about.

    Even if you have images off and don’t see the big graphic at the top, the first sentence of the email, and the judicious bolding of text (especially the “Before you close this email, please follow these 2 steps” line)

  3. The From Address

    They sent this request from their old/existing “from” address, instead of changing the address first and then asking.

    If that seems like common sense, well… it is.

    But you’d be surprised at how many people change their address, then send an email out from the new address, before you’ve added it to your address book telling you that if you don’t add the new address, you won’t get their email (do you see the irony here?).

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this “change of address” email, but I won’t steal Dylan’s thunder – go see the email and check out his thoughts!


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Asking Subscribers To Whitelist You: Is It Ever Too Late?

Asking Subscribers To Whitelist You: Is It Ever Too Late?

Posted by Justin Premick on 07/18/2008

United Airlines doesn’t think so.

I just got an email from them asking me to add the address they use to send email marketing campaigns to my address book.

The thing is, I’ve been getting emails from them for a while now. Years, I think. And as far as I can tell, they’ve done a good job of getting to my inbox.

The Email From United

I’m used to getting emails from United once every week or two (I believe I signed up when I joined their frequent flyer program).

Typically they contain fare promotions. Nothing really exciting (nothing like say, Kayak’s great email newsletters). But they are consistent, and I do usually take a look at them to see if I might be talked into taking an impromptu trip.

This message was different — not promotional at all. It was dedicated solely to getting me to add them to my address book:


(Click the image above to see the full email)

I Thought This Was Weird…

  • I’d understand asking me to whitelist a new sending address, but the email address they asked me to whitelist is the same one they’ve been using to email me!

    I’ve been getting their emails in my inbox for years — do I really need to do this? (And if so, why?)

    Likewise, if I hadn’t been getting their emails in my inbox, then… I wouldn’t have seen this email. (This is why you ask subscribers to whitelist you right when they sign up, while they’re still on your website)

  • Now (unless they want me to get annoyed at them for overmailing me) they need to wait a while before sending me their next promotion.
  • The entire email is about getting me to add them to my address book.

    But they still include the little text at the top (just like they do in every email I get from them) that says “to ensure receipt of our emails, please add email@info.united.com to your Address Book.”

    Kinda redundant, no?

One other note: those links that say “united.com” don’t actually point to united.com – they point to tracking URLs. Which is a big HTML email no-no because it makes the email look to ISPs like a phishing scam.

I do like that they’re trying to get into subscribers’ address books — that does help your email deliverability, and it’s something we recommend our users ask subscribers to do. Their intentions are good.

And maybe, just maybe, the people whose emails from United are going to the Spam folder will pick out this email, whitelist the address, and get future campaigns in the inbox.

I just can’t help but wonder if United’s approach to whitelisting is bass-ackwards.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you think it’s a good idea to try and get subscribers to add you to their address books further down the road? Am I overanalyzing?

More to the point: would you send out an email like this?

I’m curious… share your thoughts in the comments area!


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3 Tips to Optimize Your Email Landing Pages

3 Tips to Optimize Your Email Landing Pages

Posted by Marc Kline on 02/19/2008

Magnified URL AddressThe success of our email marketing campaigns does not rely entirely on the success of our email.

What I mean is, if the goal of our email is not only to drive traffic to our websites but ultimately to convert that traffic into sales, our websites need to do their jobs too.

Email tracking and analytics let us know how our emails are performing. In order to make sure our marketing campaigns are performing as we’d hope as a whole, we’ll also want to take a look at the web pages we send our subscribers to.

Make Sure Your Web Pages Work, Not Just the Links

Before we send our email messages, we should always test them. In doing so, one of the things we’re looking for is working links.

This entails clicking on each link in a message to make sure the correct web page opens properly in a browser. If they do, we tend to close the browser window and move on to the next step in our sending routines.

But wait! Here are 3 other things we should look for before we close out the window:

One or More Clear Calls to Action

Dead ends are always bad when it comes to conversions. Do your emails’ landing pages clearly prioritize where what the subscriber should do once they click through and browse through the first page they see? Or, do they have to really think through what options there are for action?

Something Valuable the Email Didn’t Provide

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with re-purposing content from our websites for email. But if our emails link to pages that don’t really provide anything new and valuable, our subscribers are more likely to close out the window than do anything else on the site..

Analytics Tracking

OK, so this is something subscribers won’t actually see, but if you’ve read to the third tip in this article, you’re clearly interested in the performance of your web pages. The best way to get actionable insight is to install an analytics software on your website.

If you have one and have not yet integrated it with your email marketing campaign, take the small amount of time it takes and do so.

More In-Depth Tips on Landing Page Optimization

Our web pages are an integral part of our email campaigns, even though they’re found in the web browser and not the inbox. They’re something we shouldn’t forget while we’re working on our campaigns.

For more tips on optimizing them, check out some of the free resources over at Marketing Experiments Journal. On their site you’ll find archived reports and opportunities to sit in on live seminars with experts on the topic.


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Not in the Address Book? Here’s Why You Should Be

Not in the Address Book? Here’s Why You Should Be

Posted by Justin Premick on 05/15/2007

aol_shield.pngQuick post today about why getting your subscribers to add you to their address book is not just a good idea, but absolutely essential.

So I was doing some testing with a few webmail addresses of mine. And I sent a test message to my AOL testing address.

When I got the message in my inbox and opened it, this is what I saw:


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