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What is “Whitelisting an Email?” Tips to Becoming a Safe Sender 

What is email whitelisting illustration with secured mobile and a plant

As an email marketer, you want your emails to reach your recipients’ inboxes without getting discarded as spam. Likewise, your recipients would like your emails reliably delivered to their inboxes. To achieve this, you must understand and implement email whitelisting.

Email whitelisting helps you increase deliverability, achieve a safe sender status, and reach your intended audiences. All of this happens when you get your subscribers to whitelist your emails. 

We will be taking a deep dive into every aspect of email whitelisting, including its importance, how to implement it, and how recipients can whitelist emails.



What is an Email Whitelist?

Whitelisting an email address simply means adding the email sender to your safe sender’s list. By doing this, recipients alert the email providers that they trust the sender and the emails can be safely delivered to their inbox. 

Email providers and ISPs use whitelisting to categorize emails and filter out spam. Your deliverability and sender score tell them whether your emails are safe enough to be delivered to your subscribers. The best way to ensure this is to become a safe sender and maintain a good sender and domain reputation. 


How to Become a Safe Sender?

Through email whitelisting, you can achieve a safe sender status and build trust with your subscribers in the long run. It shows ISPs that you follow email best practices and regulations. Follow these steps to start your safe sender journey:

Best Practices How to Become a Safe Sender
Set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC Set up these authentication protocols to validate your domain and improve deliverability
Use a consistent ‘From’ address Always send your emails from a recognized email address. This will allow your recipients to whitelist your email address
Maintain clean email lists Ensure you verify recipient email addresses and send emails to engaged subscribers only
Avoid common spam triggers Avoid using spam trigger words and deceptive subject lines
Provide valuable content Engaging and interesting content enables your recipients to whitelist your emails for the future
Include an unsubscribe option This increases trust in your brand
Educate subscribers about whitelisting Include links to your email’s whitelisting instructions 
Maintain a good sender reputation Constantly follow email marketing best practices to stay in the good books of the ISPs
Tips to becoming a safe sender 

The email whitelisting process does not end with your subscribers adding you to their approved contacts list — you must also ensure your deliverability and sender reputation stay in check.


Email Whitelisting Best Practices for Senders

We expand more on setting up protocols and other email deliverability best practices below:

  1. Email Security Best Practices
    When you send emails to a large recipient list, you must ensure your domain is authenticated and protocols are in place. By setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, you reduce the likelihood of someone else pretending to be you. This makes it easy for subscribers to trust and whitelist your email address.

    To further strengthen your email security measures, implement access control mechanisms where you provide data to limited people. This step drastically decreases the chances of breaches and leaks. 
  2. Avoid Getting Caught in Spam-Web 
    As email marketers, there are a few things you must never do, such as renting or buying email lists. Although it’s legal in some countries, it’s not a good practice. The recipients on these lists don’t know you and likely won’t open your emails, resulting in spam complaints.
    At Campaign Refinery, we terminate user accounts with spam complaints of more than 0.1%. We ensure our clients follow email best practices, which enables us to maintain the highest deliverability rate in the market.
  3. Don’t Email Recipients Who Have Bounced Repeatedly 
    Hard bounces indicate an issue with your recipient’s email address — It’s either inactive or non-existent, and sending emails to these addresses can reduce your sender score. 
  4. Don’t Include Email Attachments
    When you send an attachment, your recipient’s email provider can view it as spam. Instead, create a page on your website and link it out in your emails.
  5. Keep Your Email Lists Current and Clean
    Maybe you built a list entirely through opt-ins, yet you can still come across as a spammer. Why? Because ISPs calculate spam ratio based on your active subscribers and not the total subscribers. 
    To educate your audiences about — what is whitelisting an email, you must first know the number of active subscribers on your list. You can identify inactive and disinterested leads through website activity and open and click rates.
  6. Segment Your Email Lists
    Every individual on your email list will have unique interests and preferences. Through an email segmentation strategy, you can send targeted emails based on demographics, purchase history, and behavior. 
    When your recipients find your emails relevant and useful, it increases the chances of whitelisting your emails. 
  7. Personalize Your Email Messages
    Whether it’s personalized product recommendations, a birthday greeting, or discount coupons, personalized emails are likely to have better open and response rates. By sending relevant content, you can easily slip through the spam filters. Plus, when your recipients feel a connection with your brand, they will trust your emails and whitelist your address.
  8. Use a Legitimate Domain Name
    When you keep switching your email domain name, your recipients might start to suspect malicious behavior because your address changes with it. Especially with an increase in domain spoofing, it’s critical to email your subscribers with your brand domain name consistently. 
  9. Ask Subscribers to Add you as a Contact
    Saved email contacts are whitelisted by default. This makes it a straightforward way to enter your recipient’s inboxes without hindrance. Send them a link or direct them to your website page explaining the whitelisting process. 
  10. Provide valuable content 
    High-quality, relevant content interests your audience and gives them a reason to whitelist your emails.
  11. Craft a Cohesive Brand Experience
    Aside from creating tailor-made content, include a clean layout, consistent colors, optimized images, and interactive elements in your email. This way, you will urge recipients to try more of your content and encourage them to whitelist your emails. 

Here are a few elements you should include to make your emails more attractive:

Element / Strategy Description
Consistent Logo Usage Keep your logo placement and size consistent across all your email templates
Unified Color Scheme Create a color palette and use it in your headings, background, and buttons
Typography Maintain similar font styles and sizes in all emails
Brand Email Template Create a unique and brand-relevant email template for all email campaigns
Subject Line ToneStay consistent with your brand voice: playful, informative, or funny
Email Signature Always include an email signature related to your brand guidelines
Visual Elements and Imagery Use high-resolution images and videos to increase interest
Mobile ResponsivenessEnsure your emails are responsive across all devices and platforms
Elements to include in your emails

As much as you would like to follow these best practices to keep your domain away from blacklisting, it’s difficult if your subscribers don’t cooperate with you. That’s why you must educate your recipients about the importance of whitelisting your emails.


Why Should You and Your Recipients Whitelist Email Senders?

Not all your subscribers necessarily know the concept of whitelisting emails. Even if they do, they may not know the significance of it. 

Getting your recipients to whitelist your emails is good for many reasons, including:

Giving a simple explanation or a link in your welcome emails will help the recipients add you to their contacts and spare you from being blacklisted. 

Here’s a sample section you could add to your welcome email:

A small request from us: 

Please add ’email address’ to your contacts list. This way, you can keep receiving information you love without our emails getting lost in the junk. If you’re unsure, read the instructions here.

Building credibility with the ISPs can take time if you are a new business. To quickly resolve this, request your subscribers to whitelist your emails. 


How to Get Subscribers to Whitelist Your Emails?

Even though you send them instructions, subscribers might not always take the intended action you shared in your welcome email.

Here are three strategies to convince them to take that crucial step and mark you as a safe sender:

  • Send follow-up emails: Whether it’s in your welcome emails or subscription confirmations, send them follow-up emails about the importance of whitelisting or include related messages in your regular campaigns. 
  • Explain on videos: Include step-by-step video instructions on whitelisting your email address on different email clients (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc).
  • A dedicated whitelist request email: You can also send them a separate email asking them to add you to their contacts. 

While you do this, remember that not all email clients have the same whitelisting mechanism. Let’s look at the popular email clients and how to whitelist emails.


How to Whitelist an Email Sender? 

From a subscriber’s point of view, whitelisting an email allows you to receive important updates without being tracked down by spam filters. It’s a one-time task; all you need to do is add your sender to your email contact list. Below, we tell you how to do it for different email clients.

1. Gmail Whitelisting (Webmail)

Google blocks 10 million malicious emails per minute. So, if you want access to your favorite brand’s emails, take these steps to whitelist them:

  • Select ”see all settings” in the top right corner of your inbox,
  • Navigate to ”Filter and blocked Addresses”,
  • Select ”Create a new filter”, and check ”Never send it to Spam”.

This will create a new filter with your sender’s email address in the contact list. 

How to whitelist a sender in Gmail
How to whitelist a sender in Gmail
Create filter in Gmail to whitelist a sender
Create filter in Gmail to whitelist a sender

Option 2: Add the Sender to Your Address Book

Adding the sender’s email address to your contacts is another way to ensure you receive their emails without interruption. Although this method does not guarantee that the emails will not go to spam, it’s a good practice to start with.

Follow the steps to add the sender to your address book:

  • Hover over the sender’s email address,
  • Click on the symbol at the top right.

Once you add them to your contacts, you can edit their information such as adding dates, websites, birthdays, and other relevant information.

Add Sender to your Contact List
Add Sender to your Contact List in Gmail

2. How to Whitelist an Email in Outlook

Here’s how you can add an email to the safe sender list on Outlook:

  • Click ”view all Outlook settings”
  • Select ‘Mail’ and then choose ‘Junk mail’ from the options,
  • Click on the ‘Add’ button under the ”safe senders and domains”
  • Enter the email address you want to whitelist and click save.

This will ensure that future emails from that address do not get filtered by spam.

Add Sender to White List in Outlook
How to add Sender to White List in Outlook

3. How to Whitelist an Email in Yahoo

There are two ways you can whitelist an email in Yahoo:

  • Click on the ‘three dots’ symbol next to the sender’s name,
  • Select ‘Add to contacts’,
  • Click save.
Add Safe Sender to Contacts in Yahoo Mail
Add Safe Sender to Contacts in Yahoo Mail

The other way is to:

  • Choose ‘settings’ and click on ‘More settings’,
  • Select ‘Filters’ and Add the email address in the field,
  • Name the filter and select ‘Inbox’ as the place to send the emails to
  • Save the settings.
Create Filter in Yahoo Mail
Create Filter in Yahoo Mail

4. Whitelisting an Email in AOL

You can find a detailed instruction at the AOL website, but the gist is as follows:

  • Log in to your AOL account,
  • Choose ‘Contacts’ from the left navigation bar,
  • Click on ‘New Contact’ and add the email address,
  • Click on the ‘Add Contact’ button.

Whitelisting emails can look different across the web and mobile. So, pay close attention to the options before you take an action. When you know how to whitelist your favorite email, it saves you the guesswork and makes emails more efficient. This could mean a range of benefits for you and your sender.


Benefits of Getting Your Emails Whitelisted as a Sender 

Whether you’re an individual or a business, your motive is to provide value and increase the likelihood of your emails being read. Whitelisting emails can make way for reliable communication alongside an array of benefits:

1. Building and Maintaining Trust

When your subscribers whitelist your email, it shows that they trust your brand communication, along with the links inside your emails. But to get to that point, you must build trust by asking for consent. Provide double-opt-in and unsubscribe options to create transparency in your email communication.

2. Improved Email Deliverability

Whitelisting email domains ensures email providers know that you are not a threat to the recipients. They are more likely to deliver your emails to your recipient’s inbox instead of the spam folder. This increases the chances of getting better email campaign metrics.

Email deliverability determines your email campaign performance as a whole. If you are starting and need guidance, download the Inbox Formula for strategies and tips to increase your open rates and conversions. The guide gives you actionable formulas that help keep your sender reputation intact.

3. Increased Open Rates

When your emails consistently land in the inbox, recipients are more likely to open and engage, and it helps you boost open rates and conversions.

4. Enhanced Reputation

Being on a recipient’s whitelist signifies that you are a safe sender and improves your reputation. With a better reputation, your email deliverability rate rises.

5. Minimized Customer Support Queries

Recipients mostly reach out to customer support when they can’t find important or expected emails in their inbox. Whitelisting emails reduces the potential for such queries and concerns, saving time and resources.

6. Enhanced Security

Whitelisting enhances email security by ensuring important invoices, account updates, and security alerts are reliably delivered to recipient inboxes. Whitelisted emails also have fewer chances of being flagged, which retains your sender reputation.


Benefits of Whitelisting Emails for Recipients

The main purpose of whitelisting is to know an email comes from a trusted source, guarding recipients from phishing attacks and email scams.

Here are a few more benefits:

  1. Reduced Risk of Missing Important Emails: By whitelisting an email, recipients reduce the risk of missing critical communication such as password resets, account updates, and other important messages.
  2. Enhanced Email Security: Whitelisting trusted senders enhances subscribers’ email security since these sources are less likely to contain malicious content.
  3. Improved User Experience: Through whitelisting emails, recipients can focus on the messages that matter most without going through email clutter.
  4. Faster Response Times: With critical emails promptly delivered to the inbox, recipients can respond to time-sensitive messages without delay. 
  5. Increased Data Privacy: Through whitelisting specific senders, recipients can choose who has access to their email addresses, allowing them to be in control of their data privacy.

With all these benefits in mind, let’s see how you can stay away from bad email marketing practices and use whitelisting to increase your email marketing performance.


Stay Whitelisted With Campaign Refinery 

In certain events, even when you use email best practices, your domain can be blacklisted for unknown reasons. The best way to stay ahead of this is to consistently increase the deliverability rate and be in the good books of the ESPs and ISPs. 

Which is why Campaign Refinery has set up tools and features that help you achieve the highest deliverability rate possible. Our current clients consistently maintain a high deliverability rate (as much as 6x) and sender reputation that helps them stay whitelisted. 

With exclusive features such as automatic list cleaning, gamification, and a credit system, clients see an increase in their engagement rate and are much happier with their email campaigns.

If you would like to know more about our exclusive features and use them, apply to see how we can help increase your email revenue!

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