Is your sender reputation keeping your emails out of inboxes?

Kaitlynn Crane 02/19/18 - 3:40 pm

Is your sender reputation keeping your emails out of inboxes?

You may be done with high school (don’t worry, we won’t ask you when you graduated), but if you’re an email marketer, you’ll never be done worrying about your reputation.

… sender reputation, that is.

You see, way back when, you worried if your secret crush would get the note you stuffed in their locker. And if they did, what would they say about it?

Now, you’re worried about your messages making their way to everyone on your email list. And if they do, what will they do about it?

It’s definitely cause for concern, and it’s normal if it keeps you up at night (I mean, you wouldn’t be the only one). After all, today, one in five commercial emails never make it to the inbox.

What’s more, ReturnPath, a group of email marketing experts, reports that 83 percent of the time this happens, it’s due to a poor sender reputation – which is a score you’re given by email service providers. This score ultimately determines whether your emails will reach your readers. The higher it is, the more likely it will. The lower it is, the more likely it will not.

Your unique sender reputation will be calculated based on your:

  • Subscriber engagement – How many messages have been read, forwarded, replied to or marked as not spam?
  • Complaints – How many users have marked your emails as spam or junk? And how do these complaints compare to all other senders?
  • Length of sending history – How long have you been sending emails?
  • Email frequency – How many emails do you send? And how often? Tip: The major email service providers like to see a consistent sending volume.
  • List quality – Is your list full of invalid email addresses?
  • Blacklist status – Has a blacklist operator ever thought you were sending spam, and punished you for it?

Your sender reputation is something that follows you from email service provider to email service provider, so it’s certainly something you want to maintain. The idea is to manage it like a credit score. Monitor it regularly, every 30 days. And remember: It is easier to establish a good reputation than repair a damaged one.

But, if your sender reputation needs a little fixing up, there are a few things you can do:

  • Be smart with your subject line. Part of your sender reputation is based on how many people are opening your emails, so make sure you make an enticing first impression.
  • Send quality content. Are you sending something captivating enough to earn clicks? Or sharable enough to forward to a friend? When you see better engagement, you’ll likely see a better sender reputation.
  • Build your own email list. Looking for a way to grow your email program? It can be tempting to purchase a list of email addresses. But, if you’re sending unexpected email to people who never opted in, your emails have a higher chance of being sent to spam. So, instead, include a call to action on your website and other marketing materials that encourage people to sign up.
  • Remove users who never engage with your emails. When people stop engaging, stop sending. Between 50 and 80 percent of your email performance is based on the quality of your list – so you only want the people who want to be there. Bonus: Not only will this improve your sender reputation, it will also improve the metrics you make note of. For example, let’s say you send an email to 1,000 people and 100 open it. Your open rate is 10 percent. Then, let’s say you removed inactive email addresses and sent that same email to 500 people. If the original 100 people opened it, your open rate becomes 20 percent.
  • Set a frequency for your email sends. Email service providers love a good cadence. So, they may penalize a brand that sends one email on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but then sends six emails on Friday. To the providers, this is a disturbance of what was once a consistent level. It makes them think you could be spamming your users. But, that doesn’t mean you can never increase your frequency. If you decide you want to send more emails, just make it happen slow and steady.

Need help crafting your email content? We’ve got you covered. Read our blog: 23 tips to develop and deploy the best emails ever.

Blog Category: Digital Insights & Trends

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