How to process subscriptions, cancellations and bounces

 

SendBlaster includes all the tools you need for processing subscriptions, cancellations and bounces. These tools are included and fully functional in all SendBlaster versions - including Free Edition. It is very important that you learn how to configure them and use them before you send any mailing; and according to our Acceptable Use Policy, you need to process cancellations and bounces before sending out any mailing.

Preliminary operations:

- As soon as you create a new list, you need to configure an email address which will be receiving subscriptions and cancellations. Go to "Manage subscriptions" panel, select the newly created list, and enter the pop3 configuration of the email address. We strongly encourage you to use a dedicated email address, which will only be used for this purpose; furthermore, it is strongly advised that this email address uses very permissive anti-spam filters or no antispam filters at all: not filtering out any message is critical, otherwise you may be at risk of missing subscriptions and - what's more relevant - manual cancellation requests from your recipients.

- Each message you send out needs to include removal instructions and a removal link, which you can easily add with "Insert unsubscribe link" button in the message editor.

Subscriptions:

In order to accept subscriptions, you need to install our subscription form scripts on your web server. We offer different type of forms (i.e. email-only or full fields, open or captcha-protected, plugins for cms, etc), which behave in a slightly different way; as an example here is the general process for a double opt-in, captcha-protected, email-only form:

- Your web site's visitor fills in the form and submits it

- A confirmation request is sent to them

- Once the opt-in is confirmed, you receive an email with a specific subject and specific content

- Go to "Manage subscriptions" and download new messages: the newly subscribed addresses will be added to your list (and at the same time, cancellations will be processed, see next section)

If you use third party subscription services (hosted services, custom scripts, etc), you need to ensure that they support confirmed opt-ins and that they either send a subscription message compatible with SendBlaster's required format or save the subscriptions in a database which you can export and later import into SendBlaster.

Cancellations:

When someone wants to be removed from your list, all they need to do is click on the removal link on your message. The process may slightly vary depending on the cancellation method you chose to use, but its final outcome in all cases is that a cancellation request is sent to your email address (which you have previously configured as described). Cancellations are processed the same way as subscriptions:

- Go to "Manage subscriptions" and download new messages: cancellation requests will be processed, and the originating email addresses either removed from your list or marked as unsubscribed (depending on your configuration; both options are safe because SendBlaster doesn't send out to email addresses marked as "unsubscribed")

- You may want to activate "Global unsubscribe", which removes the address from all lists (even if they are managed with different email accounts)

Please note that, by design, subscriptions and cancellations are processed at the same time, and it is not technically possible to separate the two processes: this ensures that you never forget to process cancellations when you update your lists.

Dealing with "manual" removal requests

Some recipients, instead of following the proper automatic cancellation procedure, may just contact you (by email, or any other contact channel you provide, including live chat, telephone, etc) and ask you something like "Please don't send me any more emails". In this case, you may either remove their address from your list, or mark it as unsubscribed, or add it to your blacklist. In addition to the automatic processing features, SendBlaster provides you with fast and easy-to-use tools to deal with these requests: the "Quick unsubscribe" button in "Manage lists" (you enter an email address and it gets unsubscibed), the "Blacklist" (no messages are ever sent to blacklisted addresses), and the removal mode in  "Import" panel (the imported addresses will be removed from the lists, instead of being added to them).

Bounces:

Processing bounces works mostly as processing cancellations. The main difference is, bounces usually are received at the email address you are sending from - which may not (and in fact in most cases should not) be the same you use for managing subscriptions. For this reason, there is a dedicated panel:

- Go to "Manage bounce-backs" panel, where you will have previusly configured the pop3 settings, and download new messages: the bouncing addresses will be removed from your lists or marked as "unsubscribed".

- You may want to activate "Global bounce", which removes the bouncing address from all lists (not only the one which triggered the bounce)

A very important note: bounces were originally designed for human reading, not for automatic processing; they are generated by your SMTP provider using a format of their choice. Luckily, most providers use similar formats, and SendBlaster is able to automatically detect the vast majority of bounce formats; however, if your SMTP provider generates a bounce format which SendBlaster doesn't recognize, you may need to add a custom format from "Advanced settings" (all you need is an example of a bounce).

Some SMTP providers don't send back any bounces; instead, they automatically process them on your behalf and will not attempt further deliveries to bouncing addresses. This works well - the outcome is exactly the same as if you were processing bounces yourself. However, it is strongly advised that you periodically download the list of bouncing addresses from your SMTP account's dashboard and remove them from your lists (by using SendBlaster's "Import" function in removal mode, or just adding them to your "Blacklist")

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