The Easiest Way To Get Whitelisted And Grow Your Business At The Same Time

Often you’ll ask subscribers to whitelist your email address so

Often you’ll ask subscribers to whitelist your email address so your valuable messages do not end up filtered. This takes a bit of work and know-how though, so you will only get a small number of subscribers who will do this for you.

Here’s a method that helps you effortlessly get whitelisted while increasing your value to subscribers at the same time: ask your subscribers to reply to you.

In many email clients and services, replying adds the recipient to the person’s contacts list or whitelist. If someone replies to you, then your emails will get to their inbox right away (content factors aside). But how do you get readers to reply?

Two Special Questions

The best way I’ve found to get subscribers to reply to you and therefore have your email automatically whitelisted in their address book is this:

Reach out to new subscribers with a special question. Two special questions, actually.

Make your first follow-up message the welcome message that includes any links or attachments or information you promised them for signing up. Then follow-up the same day asking the person to let you know if they received the download/information/gift and what they thought about it. This is not only great customer service, but people will reply to let you know, and that whitelists you.

But even better, the next day send another follow-up message and ask a simple question guaranteed to get a great response: What is your biggest problem with ______?

Just fill in the blank with the topic of your business product or service. People love to share their problems, especially with an expert and someone who might be able to help them out.

You not only get added to their address book when they reply, but you gain a great deal of insight into your market.

Other Ways to Get Replies

Here are a few other ways to get your subscribers to reply to you and be happy doing it:

  1. Contests: “Just hit reply to enter.”
  2. Surveys and questions: “Hit the reply button to let me know what you think.”
  3. Requests for tips: “Do you have advice for Reader X who asked this question? Please hit reply and share your tips.”
  4. Gifts: “Hit reply to say hi and let me know if you’d like to receive the free report on….”
  5. Introductions: Get to know your readers at the same time: “Hit reply and let me know where you hail from and a little about your business/life/job.”

Replies Help Build Relationships

Before you put this whitelist technique into action, create a spreadsheet to store all replies in because you can use these emails from subscribers talking about their problems in several important ways:

  1. Inspiration for blog posts or newsletter topics.
  2. Anecdotal feedback for future products and services development.
  3. SEO and natural language phrasing.
  4. Ideas on how to offer better service.

Each problem reported is valuable.

Doing it this way, with a followup right after subscribing, establishes a great relationship from the start. It also shows you care. It’s personal if you reply back. And it helps your future emails land in their inbox instead of the spam folder because you’ve become a real person to them and to their algorithms.

John Four of Gamer Lifestyle and Roleplaying Tips is an RPG game geek who has been writing and publishing an email newsletter for gamers since 1999. His philosophy is to have more fun at every game and to play more often!


  1. Miles Baker

    4/27/2012 3:01 pm

    Excellent advice! Implementing now!

  2. Haroun Kola

    4/28/2012 6:39 am

    How do I send a follow up email the same day as the welcome in the autoresponder. Do I schedule both of them to go out on 0 days?


  3. Wendy Webb

    4/28/2012 10:19 pm

    The best advice I’ve heard all day!

  4. Miles Baker

    4/30/2012 12:31 pm

    I’m curious about this myself. The blog post suggests “follow-up the same day”. How is that done? How can I send an email 6 hours later for example?

  5. Crystal Gouldey

    4/30/2012 12:59 pm

    The welcome message (your first follow up message) will go out automatically as soon as the subscriber confirms. If you set the second follow up’s interval to 0, that tells it to go out immediately after the welcome message.

  6. Miles Baker

    4/30/2012 1:00 pm

    Thanks Crystal. What about 6 hours later or 12 hours later?

  7. Crystal Gouldey

    4/30/2012 3:18 pm

    Miles – unfortunately you cannot specify how many hours, so using 0 will be your best option if you want the next message to send in less than a day. But I can certainly pass hourly intervals on as a suggestion!

  8. Haroun Kola

    4/30/2012 3:19 pm

    I second Miles’ question, immediately after doesn’t give us much control, and is sending two emails in rapid succession a bit too much for a subscriber?

    I’m testing this on my newest list, so I’ll find out for myself for sure though!

  9. Johnn Four

    4/30/2012 5:43 pm

    Two emails back-to-back won’t be a problem if both contain useful or interesting information.

    A classic error is sending a first email that just says, hey thanks for subscribing, you’re now subscribed.

    Instead, turn that email into something valuable to the reader who took the time and trouble to open your message. Links to your top 5 posts, perhaps, or a surprise bonus download.

  10. Dustin Ver Beek

    5/3/2012 10:59 am

    Wonderful information, thank you AWeber!

  11. David R

    5/3/2012 11:57 am

    Hello Cristal and the other readers,
    I will implement it for my free first live math session I give to my new suscribers, when they ask for maths help here : (beware it is in French).
    I can ask them to send me an email with their first maths question and provide their maths level, to be sure they will answer as quick as possible to them, even before the live session. (even it is a scanned document)
    Because they ask some help perhaps they are looking for a quick help, and I can use it, what do you think about that idea?

  12. Alvaro Avila

    5/3/2012 12:39 pm

    Those are great ideas. I can wait to start putting them into action. I have many subscribers but very little open rate. Thanks

  13. Rodel Casem

    5/3/2012 2:14 pm

    This is awesome ideas…. I just started using aweber to build my list and now this article will definitely help me a lot to be whitelisted by my subscribers.

  14. Eamon

    5/4/2012 1:54 am

    If the first email sent out by me is caught in spam filter how will client be able to read it to initiate whitelist reply process as outlined above? In my experience few people bother to check their spam folders unless reminded to do so.

  15. David R

    5/4/2012 2:04 pm

    @eamon if I take my example, I ask my prospect to send me an email to tell me about his/her math question, in the ‘thank you page’. And I repeat it in the opt-in message, and again in the first follow up message. (I just change it after reading this article )
    So if my email confirmation and first message went to the spam box, I give them the opportunity to write to me before, by given them my email adress in the ‘thank you page’.
    In conclusion, you can customize your ‘thank you page'(*) in order to give them a call to action, it is a great tip to be sure to give your prospect a usefull information straight after they sign up to your list. (I am a French Math teacher, I don’t write a proper English I hope you understand my point)
    David R
    Note: What Should I Write in My Thank You Page?

  16. Justin Premick

    5/4/2012 2:53 pm


    You’re right; someone can’t whitelist you if they don’t get the email asking them to do so.

    What I recommend is that your thank-you page also tell subscribers to whitelist you. List the from name/address and the subject line of the next message they’ll receive (if you’re using Confirmed Opt-In, this is the subject line of the confirmation message; otherwise, it’s the subject line of your welcome message).

  17. Linda Sattgast

    5/5/2012 10:07 am

    Wonderful article! I tend to concentrate more on getting subscribers, but I can see how valuable this is not only for getting whitelisted, but for connecting with my new subscribers.