You may have noticed that from late January until late May, we were dealing with a major block on Microsoft and Apple email addresses. In short, the block was in place by a Spam Monitoring organization that noticed emails going out from our system to fake/bad email addresses (aka Spam Traps). This means that in that time frame, no marketing messages could go out to any Microsoft or Apple addresses.
In early June, the block was lifted although there are some new restrictions in place moving forward (similar to restrictions Canadian businesses have had in place for years).
Here are the main points you'll want to keep in mind:
One of the requirements of the organization who established the block was to make sure marketing emails are only going to either clients who manually opted in or to “active” clients (defined by them as people who have had an appointment—or "transaction" in the last 2 years). They recommended they only be allowed to go out to clients who have had an appointment (or a “transaction”) within the last 90 days. Fortunately, we were able to extend that yet still, it is a big impact on mailing list counts.
🌟 You can now invite all clients to manually opt in if they've just been added to your account or haven't been in recently! Check out this article for how to get those clients opted in.
You’ll need to go to the Problem Email Report to verify each address that has bounced at some point. This will ensure email marketing messages start flowing to those addresses again, and that they’re only going to legitimate emails—which is what will keep us off this block list going forward!
We've learned so much along this journey that we've put together a blog post sharing some best practices for ensuring your emails land in your clients' inboxes (and not in their Spam folders) as often as possible. Check that out here and as always, reach out to our support team with anything else you may have on your mind!
Want the full recap of what we did to get off this list?
If you're not one who wants all the nitty gritty details, this would be a good place to stop reading. The above should be a good high level summary of what's going on! If you do love all the details, read on!
As mentioned above, the root of the issue was stemming from emails going out from our system to what are called Spam Traps: essentially, inboxes that are monitored by a spam organization but are not owned by a real client. The idea being the only way a business would acquire this address would be by buying a list rather than actually developing a business relationship or having the client sign up and validate their address.
With that all in mind, we had 12 years worth of data to comb through to identify where these ‘bad’ emails were stemming from (which was extra hard as the organization wouldn't tell us which addresses they were and they look real). From late January until late May, we released improvements almost every week to get off this list. Here’s what we did—and it’s worth noting that this was a huge amount of effort, that took us away from many other primary objectives:
We limited email recipient lists to only folks who have an appointment within the last two years.
We fully separated appointment notification emails from marketing emails. Now, if an email bounces in email marketing, it does not impact notification email delivery!
As a happy bonus, we also reintroduced the option for clients to opt themselves into text reminders. This was to help provide a safety net for missed email notifications before we separated the two types of emails!
You can now invite clients to opt into your email marketing messages if they don't have a booking in the last two years.
We now have checks in place for all client imports, so any obviously mis-spelled addresses cannot be added to our system.
We were automatically verifying all emails that landed on the Problem Email report for a couple weeks to keep the weight off your shoulders. But then, we were told this was actually making the “bad sends” worse because we were actively verifying bad emails unknowingly. So, we had to stop that and thus, ask for your help in that verifying process—however painful that was.
Every field where an email address is entered now sends a check to our email provider (another third party, separate from the spam organization) to have their checks run and ensure it's a valid email.
The Problem Email report used to just remove an address from the suppression list without any checks. Once it was removed, we’d start sending to it again without any true verification. Now, that verify button sends a message over to our email provider so they can check it! And if it can't be verified, you can delete the email right from the report to keep that clean—and set you up to get a correct email on file for that client.
The 3 existing "Invite" emails (to book online, to add a card on file and to opt into text reminders) will now only go out to clients added to an account within the last 90 days.
Plus, these were moved to a new domain so they wouldn't stop notifications from going out too.
We paid to have a mass verification of all "active" email addresses within our system and were able to remove undeliverable addresses.
We introduced a client account validation step. So, when a client creates an account, they now need to access their inbox to confirm it's them before they can book online!
We're actively identifying the businesses with the highest number of "spam trap" addresses in their lists so we can then, work with them directly to get those addresses removed.