Businesses spend a lot of time making sure their emails are easy to read, entertaining, valuable, and relevant to their audience. However, all this work counts for nothing if your emails never reach their intended target. If your email sending reputation is too low, your emails will go straight to your readers’ spam folders. You’ll fail to connect with your audience, and your business will suffer. In this article, we’ll explore what email sending reputation really is, why it matters so much, and what you can do to improve it.
What is an email sending reputation?
Every person or organization that sends emails has an email sending reputation — represented as a score out of 100. They’re assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook, AOL, etc , and this score affects how likely your emails are to be successfully delivered.
For example, if you have a strong sender score of 85, your emails are very likely to arrive in their intended recipient’s inbox. If you have a poor score, of around 30 for example, there’s a strong chance your emails will fail to send, never to be opened or even seen by your audience. There are lots of factors that impact your email sending reputation. Let’s take a look at some of the main ones.
IP reputation vs domain reputation
Email sending reputation is based on a number of different factors. Two key areas here are IP reputation and domain reputation. Let’s break it down.
IP reputation is based on your IP address, while your domain reputation is based on the sending domain associated with your brand. The main difference is that domain reputation is portable — you can move to a new IP address or email service provider and keep the same reputation.
With IP reputation, you need to essentially start from scratch if you do this, which involves a process called “warming up” your IP address by ramping up email sending slowly to trusted recipients.
Today, ISPs look at a combination of both when assigning you a sender score.
What factors affect your email sending reputation?
Your email sending reputation depends on a wide range of factors. In general, if your emails are sending successfully, getting opened, providing genuine value to your readers, and provoking interest and action, you will be rewarded with a high email sending score.
However, the following factors will cause your score to decline:
- Lots of complaints. If your emails are regularly getting marked as spam, or lots of people are unsubscribing, your sender score could suffer.
- The volume of emails you send, especially if it’s erratic. For example, sending a regular 500 emails a week to a large, engaged list is fine, but suddenly ramping up the volume can flag as suspicious.
- Poor user interaction. If relatively few people are opening, reading, clicking through, or responding to your emails, it could negatively impact your score.
- If lots of your emails are bouncing or failing to send — the result of a poorly maintained list
Why is email sending reputation important?
Research suggests that 83% of the time an email fails to deliver to an inbox, it results from a poor sender reputation.
This means that one of the most impactful things you can do to improve your email deliverability is to work on improving your email sender reputation. Improving deliverability has a wide range of benefits, such as:
- You get to connect with as many of your audience members as possible
- You build stronger relationships over time through regular contact with many people
- Your revenue will increase as you reach a wider market
- If you decide to send a cold email campaign, you’ll have much better results if your sender score is high
How to improve your email sender score reputation
Keep your list clean
This means regularly going through your list of email subscribers and removing any members who aren’t engaging with your emails. This ensures your open rates, click-through rates, response rates, and more are kept high, which leads to a healthier sending reputation.
Don’t abuse your subscribers’ trust
Your email list members subscribed with a certain expectation. You promised, or at least implied, to contact them at a certain level of frequency, on specific topics, and in the way your brand usually speaks.
If you suddenly start changing this pattern by promoting new products unrelated to your subscribers’ interest, radically increasing sending volume without warning, or taking a spammy tone, your readers will quickly lose patience and your engagement rates — and sending reputation — will plummet.
Instead, focus on cultivating a trusting relationship with your readers. Always provide value in your emails, don’t constantly shove promotions and offers down their throats, and encourage interaction and responses from them.
Stay out of spam filters
ISPs have systems in place to detect spam. Ever check your spam folder and find that it’s full of emails from addresses you’ve never heard of, and never actively marked as spam? That’s because your ISP is automatically routing these emails to the spam folder based on a number of red flags.
To avoid getting your emails marked as spam (and damaging your email reputation), stay away from the following:
- Using trigger words like “free”, “cash, or “hurry”, especially in your subject lines
- Including too many links
- Packing your emails full of images
- Using poor spelling and grammar
- Sending duplicate emails
Stay on top of your score
Websites like SenderScore.org allow you to determine your sender score as determined by a range of ISPs. You only need to share some basic information about your business and email activity, and the site will give you a score and a breakdown of how to improve it.
Platforms like this, if you use them regularly, can be an easy way to ensure your email sending reputation stays solid at all times, and quickly pinpoint what you need to do to keep it that way or even improve it.
Use a DMARC checking tool
A DMARC tool will help you ensure that no one sends fraudulent emails in your name. It will also allow you to check for potential problems with your DMARC implementation that could result in your email being blocked or flagged as spam.
Optimize your email success
Email has been a staple of digital marketing for decades, and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. If you work with professionals, you can get a lot more out of your email efforts — connecting with more of your audience, boosting the profile of your brand, and growing your revenue.
At Profitable Media, we help our clients harness the power of email and get even more out of this incredibly valuable medium — while maintaining an optimally healthy sending reputation. Get in touch to find out more.