Writer’s Journal: Whitelisting a Newsletter

Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!


In a recent survey I sent to my newsletter subscribers, I discovered that some people are not, in fact, getting my emails in their inbox. I had been wondering about this, because my open rate was somewhere around 50%, hence the question in the survey. I didn’t know if people were not seeing the newsletter or seeing it and ignoring it.

Now, 50% is a great open rate. It’s far higher than the industry average. This makes me happy because it means people like to hear from me, and who doesn’t like to be liked?

Maybe I should back up. There might be people who don’t know what a mailing list is or why I would need one.

A mailing list is a list of emails that people give me in exchange for a free book or two. Once they sign up, they will get an email from me periodically with news about my books, insights into my inspiration, and things like that. And, of course, links for the occasional freebie or new book.

I need this list for a couple reasons: it helps build relationships with readers (something I fell down on the job with but am working to fix), it allows me to “talk” to my fans, and it’s the one method of reaching those fans that I control. Which brings me back to whitelisting.

I am researching how to do this, and have become rather overwhelmed. It seems like there are fifty email providers and the directions for each are a little different. Sigh. Who knew?

Basically, whitelisting means allowing an email provider to know that you want to receive the email from a specific sender. If you don’t do this, some of the emails you get can end up in the spam or junk folder, which is bad news when you have someone who does not regularly check that folder.

I am one who religiously checks email. I also read and/or delete and keep my box clean. I have a friend (who shall remain nameless, but she knows who she is) who lets it pile up and misses things. She might not know if an email has come in from me, or if it went to her spam box. She’d have to specifically search. (She has and has said that my emails do hit her inbox. 🙂 ) The act of whitelisting will save people like my friend the trouble of searching through extraneous folders and tabs by making sure every email from Zoe Burton goes to the inbox.

Anyway, my research says that most email providers want you to add the email address to your contacts. Here’s a rundown of a few basic methods:

  • Android: Open the email, hold your finger on the default picture (might be a letter or initial) and when the device pops up with a box that asks if you want to add that person to your contacts, you click “ok.”
  • Live.com/Hotmail.com/Outlook.com: Open the email, click the 3 dots at the upper right of the email (…) and choose “Add to safe senders list.”
  • For Yahoo mail, the only way I have ever been able to figure out is to highlight the email address, go to the Contacts tab, click “add contact,” and paste the email address into the correct box, then save. If anyone else knows a better way, feel free to share. 🙂
  • For Gmail, open the email, click the three dots that are on top of each other, scroll to “add to contacts list” and click.

These are the mail providers I’m familiar with. I think when I share this with my newsletter, I’ll ask them to help me discover other providers and methods that I can share with readers. For example, I don’t use Apple products, so I have no idea how it works with them. I hope someone can help me with it.

What have your experiences been with mailing lists?

Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3

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