If you’re doing email outreach, your outreach process probably looks something like this…
- Identify a piece of content you want to promote
- Research and list out other websites who might find your content interesting and may link to it/share it
- Locate an email address or submit a note in the contact form on the website letting the know it exists
In the beginning this is super easy.
Your lists are small and still very much manageable with some simple Excel/Google spreadsheets.
But as your business grows and you want to scale up the level of your outreach you’ll quickly notice the quantity of emails being sent and people being contacted can get into 100’s, 1,000’s, 10,000’s or even higher.
If you’re not careful, you’ll soon be emailing the same person 1… 2… maybe even 3 different times.
This can quickly turn into giant mess and turn you off to doing outreach in the first place.
A blacklist embedded in your outreach process will do 3 major things:
- Make it near impossible to contact the same person multiple times
- Save you time but shortening your prospecting list
- Save yourself money as most people use domain web scraping tools like Hunter.io, which costs money every time you scrape a new link. Removing links you’ve already reached out to will ensure you don’t get charged twice on the same link!
In this article, I’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about blacklists, what they are, and some options you have to implement one in your outreach process.
Let’s get into it!
What is an outreach blacklist?
The idea of a “blacklist” could mean many things to many different people…
But in the context of cold email outreach, a blacklist is a list of website domain URLs that you want excluded from your outreach list.
There could be many reasons you would include a website in this list, but the typical reason is that you’ve already emailed the contact once and emailing them again would result in wasted time, lost money, and an unhappy email recipient that is most likely going to report you as spam.
In other cases, a blacklist could be made up of domain names of people you already know but haven’t reached out to them.
Instead, you might want to create a more tailored outreach approach for these contacts.
There could be any number of reasons but the point is that you don’t want to reach out to these contacts for SOME reason.
Hence a blacklist.
Why would you want a blacklist?
Now that you know what a blacklist is, let’s take a closer look at why you should include one in your outreach process.
It will save you money.
Think about it.
When you research websites and people that may be interested in seeing and linking to your content, you’ll need some kind of tool or person to review each domain to get a good contact email.
If you keep including domains you’ve already reached out to, you’ll be reviewing and “re-reviewing” the same domain time and time again.
That costs money.
A well placed blacklist will ensure this doesn’t happen.
It will save you time.
Assuming you don’t use a tool to scrape emails, you’ll probably be manually reviewing each domain for contact information.
This takes a TON of time.
A blacklist will kick out all those domains you’ve reviewed avoiding this scenario.
It will protect your domain reputation.
As you’re reading this, you might be thinking…
“Well, who cares about all of that, I’ll just blast out emails because 80/20 rule and I don’t have the time to care about any of that”
The more reckless you are with cold email outreach, the greater chance you’ll have at accumulating spam complaints.
More spam complaints = lower email deliverability.
The lower your email deliverability, the more emails you’ll need to send, which will increase the number of prospects you’ll need to find.
If you’re in a smaller niche, this is even more crucial as quality outreach prospects are few and far between.
How to implement a blacklist?
By now hopefully, I’ve fully sold you on the value proposition of a blacklist.
But what’s the best way to implement a blacklist?
To answer this question, let me break down the three most popular blacklist options you have to select from:
Google Sheet Blacklist (meh)
Microsoft Excel Blacklist (2nd best)
Scrapebox Blacklist (my favorite)
Let’s break each down further…
Google Sheet Blacklist
This one is the most accessible and cheapest as Google offers their services for free.
How it would work…
When you find a website you want to email you would add the URL to a Google spreadsheet and run various formulas to highlight duplicate websites you previously added to the sheet.
When those cells are highlighted, you can filter the data to only show the non-highlighted (not duplicate cells) and outreach to those contacts.
For small levels of outreach this could work, but when you start scaling up you’ll find that Google Sheets doesn’t handle large datasets (10,000+ rows) very well and can slow down to a crawl.
This is mostly because Google Sheets is a cloud-based program (unlike the next two options).
Not ideal for a well-oiled outreach machine.
Microsoft Excel Blacklist
Similar to Google Sheets, but a slight step up is Excel.
Unlike Google Sheets, excel can handle large data sets fairly easily.
This is because Excel is hosted on your computer as opposed to the cloud (Google Sheets).
The only downside is that it isn’t as “team friendly” as Google Sheets since sheets can be shared and worked on simultaneously whereas Excel Workbooks are more isolated.
Given the speed increase, we prefer an excel blacklist.
Here’s a quick video of me demoing an excel blacklist that was a built-in macro to speed up the process even more.
Onto the last blacklist option on my list.
In a nutshell, Scrapebox is a program with the sole purpose to scrape and sift each search engine on the web. You can set it to scrape up the search results from Google, Bing, Yahoo! and many other. This is great because it can greatly increase the speed at which you prospect for outreach targets
Known for its incredible ability to spam the internet with fake comments far and wide, is indeed our tool of choice for an efficient and powerful blacklist.
Its capable of holding 1,000’s of blacklist entries simultaneously and easily applying the blacklist logic to your prospecting list purging it very quickly and allowing you to move onto email review and research.
As you can see above Scrapebox has a built-in blacklist feature.
All you need to do is copy and paste all of the URLs you’ve already reached out to into a “.txt” document and load it into Scrapebox.
So now you should have a pretty good understanding of what a blacklist is, why they’re useful, and how to implement one into your own outreach campaigns.
I wouldn’t dare start an outreach campaign without first consulting my blacklist and I hope you wouldn’t either!
If you enjoyed this article leave a comment, and let me know what you think! 🙂