Sender reputation is a frequently discussed topic in email marketing, and for good reason. It is a crucial aspect of email deliverability, which determines whether your emails will land in the recipient’s inbox or be sent to the spam folder. Improving your sender reputation can lead to higher inbox placement rates and click-through rates, which in turn can help you win more business. However, if you have a poor sender reputation, your marketing efforts may go unnoticed, as your emails will be less likely to reach the intended recipients.
Before diving into specific tips for improving sender reputation, it’s essential to understand the distinction between email delivery and email deliverability. Email delivery refers to the process of transmitting an email from the sender’s server to the recipient’s inbox, while email deliverability refers to the ability of the email to successfully reach the intended recipient’s inbox.
Email delivery refers to the process by which the receiver confirms the identity of the sender before accepting the message. The receiver checks if the recipient’s mailbox exists and verifies its authenticity. The message is accepted only if the recipient’s mailbox is valid. On the other hand, if the recipient address is found to be invalid or unauthenticated, the message is rejected or returned as undelivered.
Email deliverability refers to the ability of an email to successfully reach the intended recipient’s inbox after it has been accepted by the delivery process. The inbox placement of an email is determined by a variety of factors, and can be influenced by the sender’s reputation. Each email service provider has a robust mechanism in place to limit inbox placement, making it important to have clever strategies to improve your sender reputation in order to increase the chances of your emails being delivered to the inbox.
7 factors that can affect the sender reputation of an email domain
1. IP credibility
The IP address of the SMTP server or email service provider plays a crucial role in determining the deliverability of emails. This IP address is associated with the machine or servers responsible for receiving emails. While recipients are not made aware of the IP address when reading their emails in the inbox, the credibility of the IP address is taken into consideration by email-receiving networks when deciding whether to deliver an email to the inbox or mark it as spam based on its relevance. Building a credible IP reputation can help improve email deliverability by increasing the chances of emails being delivered to the inbox.
2. Domain reputation
Email service providers (ESPs) are now placing more emphasis on email domains when determining email deliverability. To improve your email domain reputation, it is recommended to set up the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) for your email domain.
SPF contains a list of verified IP addresses that are authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain. This helps ESPs verify the authenticity of emails sent from your domain. DKIM, on the other hand, is a digital signature that is added to all your emails. This signature helps to confirm that the email has not been tampered with after being sent, reducing the chances of your email being spoofed. Together, SPF and DKIM work to enhance your email domain reputation and improve your email deliverability.
3. Choosing the right buyer persona
It’s important to keep in mind that when building your email list and sending out emails, the content you provide must be relevant, useful, and tailored to the individuals who have opted in. If the content is not relevant, it may be perceived as spam, which can damage your sender reputation and lead to higher unsubscribe and complaint rates. Even if the recipient subscribed to your list, it does not give you the right to send them any type of content. Irrelevant or unwanted emails can lead to recipients marking your emails as spam or unsubscribing, which can negatively impact your sender reputation and deliverability. Therefore, it’s important to focus on providing value to your subscribers and making sure your content is tailored to their interests and needs.
4. Impact of Timing on reputation
Timing is crucial in email marketing, as it’s not only about providing relevant and targeted content but also ensuring that it reaches the right person at the right time. With millions of emails sent every day, it’s essential to send your message when your audience is most likely to engage with it, otherwise, it risks getting lost in the noise.
Studies suggest that the best days to send emails are Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 am to 11 am. This can vary depending on your audience and industry, but it’s always a good idea to test different days and times to see what works best for you.
While open rates and reply rates are important metrics for the success of your email marketing, timing also plays a significant role in its effectiveness. It’s important to keep this in mind when planning your email campaigns and sending out messages to your audience.
5. Drafting a poor email content
Emails with poor or irrelevant content are likely to be marked as spam and sent to the spam folder. Writing a great copy is important, it’s like winning someone’s heart, if the message is not relevant, then expecting a positive response is a misguided idea. Crafting a compelling and relevant message is key to ensuring that your emails are well received by your audience and increase the chances of your emails being delivered to the inbox. It’s important to focus on providing value to your subscribers and making sure your content is tailored to their interests and needs in order to avoid being marked as spam.
In order to prevent sending unreliable emails, be sure to:
Make the email special to the recipient’s requirements.
Emails should be mobile-friendly.
Do not use spammy language in emails.
Examine each link in your email.
Create emails that are easy to read.
Be careful not to use clickbait in your topic lines.
A lack of engagement can have a negative impact on a sender’s reputation. If your open rates start to decline, it may be a sign of low engagement among your subscribers. Remarketing to your disengaged subscribers through a re-engagement campaign can be an effective strategy to identify and engage with those who are still interested in your content. By sending more targeted and focused content, you can re-engage with engaged subscribers and exclude those who are not.
It’s crucial to avoid sending out emails with poor or irrelevant content, as this can harm your sender reputation. Poorly written or irrelevant emails are more likely to be marked as spam by recipients, which can damage your reputation and hurt your deliverability. By providing valuable, relevant and engaging content, you can maintain a good sender reputation and increase the chances of your emails being delivered to the inbox.
7. Whitelisting (Double Opt-in)
Being blacklisted by an ISP can have a severe impact on your sender reputation, as it means that your emails will be marked as spam and not reach the recipient’s inbox. To avoid being blacklisted, it’s important to ensure that your emails are in compliance with the ISP’s guidelines and that you are following best practices for email marketing.
One important aspect to consider is giving your recipients the ability to opt out of receiving further communications from you. This can be achieved by including an unsubscribe link in your emails, but it’s important to make sure it’s done in a humble and polite manner. Instead of using a generic “Unsubscribe” or a legal formula in fine print, try to come up with something fun and original that matches the tone and style of your emails. This can help maintain a positive relationship with your recipients, even if they choose to unsubscribe.
To maintain a good sender reputation and ensure that your emails are delivered to the inbox, it’s important to regularly monitor your email delivery rates. Keeping track of various metrics, such as the unknown user rate, unsubscribe rates, inbox placement, and other email metrics can help you identify any potential problems that may be affecting your deliverability.
It’s also important to investigate the meaning of any email bounce codes that you receive. Hard bounces occur when an email is sent to an invalid email address, while soft bounces can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a full mailbox or a temporary server issue. The bounce code will provide information about the specific type of error that occurred, which can help you take the appropriate action to resolve the issue and prevent it from happening in the future.