4 Easy Steps to Clean Up Your Act and Recover From Sending Spam

So you’re a spammer. You’ve realized that your “business practice” of buying lists of prospects to send unsolicited bulk email is the textbook definition of spam and you want to work to fix it. The good news is, cleanup is a simple process. All you have to do is follow these four simple steps to get back on track and behaving like a responsible sender of email.

Own Up

Maybe the spamming isn’t your fault. Maybe you came into a situation where everyone thinks spamming is totally cool and now you have to clean up the mess. Even though it can be overwhelming, acknowledging that it’s got to change is the first step, especially if the Pardot compliance team reaches out. We’re here to help, but we can only help if you’re honest about what’s been happening and your intent to fix the issue. You might have no idea whether your predecessor purchased lists, but are pretty confident Tim Cook and Walt Disney didn’t opt in to your marketing. If they’re somehow appearing on lists marked “purchased list import 2015,” that’s fine, just own up to not being sure of what’s going on and what you need to do to resolve it. It’s dangerous to go it alone, and we’re here so that you don’t have to!

Educate Your Teams

Out of all the steps, this one’s perhaps the most labor-intensive (but it’s SO important!). It’s tough to follow permission based marketing and be a good sender if you have someone down the hall importing purchased lists into Pardot and sending email without getting permission from those prospects first. You have to make sure everyone is aware of the dangers of purchased lists and knows not to use them. Purchased lists are triggers for high bounces, high spam complaint rates, and even getting blacklisted, so they’re just not worth spending the money. There are simply no shortcuts to a well-curated database. We’ve also got a great post here outlining some alternatives to purchased lists that are definitely worth looking into!

Clean Up Your Database

If you’re sure you’ve got some purchased lists, you’ll need to run an external calling or emailing campaign on that list (outside of Pardot) to obtain the necessary permission to send marketing email. Once you obtain that permission, those prospects would be able to be emailed through Pardot, since they’ve told you it’s okay. The point here is that you need to make sure you verify those people are actually interested in receiving email.

If you’re not totally sure of where you got some of your prospects and perhaps inherited a really dirty database, you can run a permission pass (outlined by Spamhaus here) to get well-documented opt in on every prospect. While that does have the effect of reducing the size of your database, those prospects who did opt in will be clearly interested in your product and you’re going to see much higher interaction with those prospects who REALLY want to see your emails. That lets you save a bit of time and target the people who are the most interested, instead of wasting your efforts on prospects who aren’t going to convert. One of the most important points of a permission pass is that it can only be run once and cannot be used on lists you know have been purchased.

Never Purchase Lists Again

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Don’t go through all the steps to get back on track and then ruin your reputation again by purchasing lists and sending spam. Fix the issue and then air on the side of caution going forward.

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