What does whitelisting mean in email marketing? The answer to this question is very important, especially if you are an aspiring email marketer. But let’s start from the beginning. 

If you are looking to become an email marketer, you probably know that getting your emails opened is key to the success of any email marketing effort. 

You may write the most amazing messages in the world, but if they never reach your recipients, all that effort is wasted.

Simply put, your conversion rates will suffer if your audience doesn’t receive your emails. And if your emails get flagged as spam, it’s even worse – and you could end up dealing with the fallout across your entire organization.

That’s why creating a reputation as a safe sender is an excellent strategy for your business. You become a safe sender if subscribers add your From address to their contact list, whitelist, or address book.

To accomplish that, you must communicate to your recipients why your brand deserves that status. Here are some tips to make whitelisting successful for your brand.

What Exactly Is Email Whitelisting?

Email services providers (ESPs) use whitelisting to give special privileges to certain trusted senders and domains. In essence, it permits emails from certain sources to enter your inbox.

Email whitelists tell your email client that you are receiving messages from an email address (or addresses) you know and trust.

Usually, email clients require users to manually whitelist domains or sender addresses. This process varies depending on the email client.

For email marketers, email blacklisting is another important and relevant term. Blacklists are databases generated by ESPs in real-time to prevent subscribers from being exposed to harmful content.

It basically identifies domains or IP addresses that send spam emails. You won’t be able to reach your subscribers at all if your email is included on an email blacklist.

The Benefits of Email Whitelisting

You shouldn’t hesitate to ask your subscribers to whitelist your email address. Most people don’t even know they can do that. Just make it a friendly request and include instructions on how to do it to make it easier for users. 

Obviously, asking subscribers to whitelist your email address doesn’t mean that they’ll do it automatically. 

For example, a new customer might be excited about discovering your brand or product, but still hesitant to give you an affirmative thumbs-up. 

Additionally, if they have no idea what whitelisting is, they won’t know what it involves either. So, tell them what it is and how it works. Explain to them that whitelisting your email address means that your emails won’t end up in their spam folder. 

You can include instructions on how to whitelist an email address in your “Thank You” email or your “Thank You” page. Do you know how to write engaging subject lines for thank you emails?

Our recommendation is to suggest to your subscribers in your “Thank You” email’ that they whitelist your email address. 

You can say, for instance, “Please add us to your address book if you wish to continue receiving emails from us.” This is straightforward and not pushy. 

 Reasons for doing so include:

  • Whitelisting improves email deliverability.
  • Your subscribers will never miss any of your emails. 

After all, they subscribed to your emails because they knew that they would receive valuable content directly into their inbox. Getting more eyeballs on your email marketing messages will help you achieve better results.

Whitelisting Instructions

As mentioned above, it is important to include instructions for whitelisting your email with all the major email clients. Here’s a list of the top email service providers as rated by digital marketers.

Litmus Email Client Market Share also gives you a current list of the most popular clients. Keep in mind that this is a moving target; it’s a list that changes constantly. Also, note that a growing number of people use smartphones to check their email, so you’ll need to take that into account as well.

What’s important is to take a look at your email list (and any segments you may have) to understand what your audience wants.

  • Which email client does each of them use?
  • What type of device do they use to read their email?
  • What operating system are they using?

For optimal results, you should use dynamic content to provide these instructions based on the email client the recipient is using most often. 

How to Whitelist In Different Email Clients?

Whitelisting is a one-time task that adds the sender of an email to the recipient’s address book or safe senders list. The following instructions describe how to add your From email address to contacts in many popular email clients. 


In the best-case scenario, your contacts will whitelist your email address and add you to their VIP list. As a result, your messages will be placed in a different folder and get “a special alert”.

Of course, they might simply add you to their contact list, which is also good. Whatever the case, the instructions you’ll need to provide to your email recipient are quite simple.

Hew’s how to whitelist an email address on an iPhone:

  1. Tap on the sender’s email address.
  2. Pick either Add to VIP, Add to Existing Contact, or Create New Contact.

On the desktop:

  1. Position your cursor to the left of the sender’s name, in the message header.
  2. A star will appear. Click on it.

Alternatively, hover over the sender’s email, click the arrow that appears, and then select Add to VIPs.


Access your email account and open your inbox.

You will see a window appear when you place your mouse cursor over the sender’s name. 

Click the ‘Add to Contacts’ button to save the sender to your contact list. And that’s all there is to it.


You can whitelist new contacts by clicking their name and selecting Add to Contacts. Or you can just go with the classic way:

  1. Click New Contact.
  2. Then, enter the contact’s information.
  3. Next, click Add More to add more information fields.
  4. Click Save.


  1. Find the message from the sender you wish to whitelist. 
  2. Next, click on ‘Mark as Safe’, located next to the From name and address. 
  3. Then, simply add the email address to your contact.

Outlook 2003 – 2007

  1. Open the email that you would like to add to your whitelist.
  2. Then, click the right mouse button on the email address in the From field.
  3. Next, click the ‘Add to contacts’ link.
  4. After that, click OK.

Outlook 2010 / Outlook 2013

  1. Find and right-click on the email you want to whitelist.
  2. Click on ‘Junk’.
  3. Select one of these options:
  • Never block the sender, 
  • Never block the sender’s domain, 
  • Never block this group or mailing list, or go to the Junk options to select– or merely adjust – the level of protection. 

AOL Mail

  1. Go to the left panel and click Contacts.
  2. Then, click the New Contact button above your list of contacts.
  3. Type the email address and any other information you wish to include.
  4. Click the Add Contact button at the bottom.


  1. Go to ‘Options’.
  2. Then, click on ‘Block Senders’.
  3. Further, put your trusted email addresses or domains in the Safe List.
  4. Click OK.

Comcast (Xfinity)

  1. Select ‘Address Book’.
  2. Click on ‘New Contact’ and add the email address you want to whitelist.
  3. Afterward, click Save.


  1. Navigate to ‘Help & Settings’.
  2. Then, go to ‘Email Settings’ and then ‘Safe List’.
  3. Enter the specific email address to whitelist the domain in the ‘Add an item to this list’.
  4. Click ‘Add’.


  1. Locate and open the message from the sender you wish to whitelist.
  2. Afterward, click the right mouse button on the email address in the From field.
  3. Select ‘Add to Address Book’.
  4. Click OK.

Bonus Tips

You don’t want to use weird-looking From addresses that are likely to be caught in a spam filter. Email addresses such as administrator@ or postmaster@ fall into this category. That’s why you should always choose a sender name that is both easy to recognize and easy to trust.

In case you choose to use a person’s name, make sure that person is real and is someone the reader would care about. It could be your company’s CEO or a renowned industry expert. Remember, we’re talking about marketing emails. 

Also, make it a habit to test various combinations by sending emails to yourself. That way, you’ll make sure your emails are being delivered correctly to your entire list. If you are using an email automation tool like Mailvio, you can also use its A/B testing feature to your advantage. 

Mailvio boasts a powerful A/B testing feature you can use to test different sender names

With it, you’ll be able to see how different sender names perform for different segments of your email lists.

Wrap Up 

Now that you know what whitelisting means, you can ensure your emails land in your reader’s inbox with bullet-proof certainty.

Email whitelisting can also improve your deliverability rate even if it is good to begin with. Why? Because algorithms and spam filters used by email clients like Yahoo or Gmail are constantly evolving. 

When subscribers whitelist your email address, you don’t have to worry about those changes anymore. Your deliverability will undoubtedly improve and so will your chances to connect with your customers and subscribers.

However, you should not forget that even if whitelisting can get you in your readers’ inbox, you’ll still need to provide relevant content to earn your keep there.

Therefore, make sure your emails provide content that will be of value to your target customers. Targeted email marketing, in conjunction with an email autoresponder like Mailvio, will help you do exactly that. Sign up for Mailvio’s 7-day free trial and see for yourself!

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Neil Napier

Neil Napier is the co-founder of Mailvio. Neil started his entrepreneurial journey in 2012 out of necessity to keep his visa in the UK, when he failed to keep his visa he moved to Finland and started his career as a serial entrepreneur and super affiliate. With over $10 million USD in revenue generated, he is a sought-after expert entrepreneur, copywriter & product creator.

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