Your sender reputation has a big impact on the results of your email marketing campaigns. Both the Internet Service Providers (ISP) and the Email Service providers (ESP) use your sender reputation to determine how trustworthy your emails are.
A weak sender reputation causes the emails to end up into the spam folder, rather than the inbox. If the condition of the sender’s reputation is very poor, even the transactional emails like – registration completion, order confirmation etc can land up into the spam folder.
No matter how good your business and its concept is, using a bad sender reputation for sending emails keeps it practically invisible in the email world.
Though email deliverability depends on multiple factors, it’s important to take a holistic approach towards email deliverability and sender reputation as they are interlinked. So here’s what you need to know about improving your sender reputation and ensure that mailbox providers trust your emails.
How can sender reputation be defined?
It is a score allotted to a sender based on the quality of the email campaigns which include multiple factors like their frequency, size and the user’s interaction. It is the judging parameter for Email Service providers in deciding whether your emails should be delivered to the inboxes or not.
What makes sender reputation important?
There are multiple factors classified into 3.
- Avoids fraud: Cybercriminals hide under popular brands to trick recipients in sharing their personal information like card number, pin etc. Email Service Providers use the sender’s reputation to identify and suppress such cybercriminals that aim to manipulate peoples trust.
- Impacts email deliverability: Sender reputation is calculated based on multiple metrics like open rates, email authentication, volume of deleted messages etc. All these metrics are taken into consideration by the email service providers (like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and others) to reach a conclusion whether your email is suitable for the customer’s inbox or not.
- Level of success: If your company has a firm sender reputation, it proves that subscribers like your email campaigns. On the contrary, a low sender reputation is an alarm that warns you something is going wrong and it’s time to take action.
How to Improve Sender Reputation?
Sender reputation mostly depends on your email sending behaviour. You will be in good shape if you send if you send quality emails that your subscribers will be interested in. But here are some specific things that you need to be mindful of.
Set-up email authentication protocols
Email authentication protocols are technical solutions to prove that an email is not forged. It is most often used to block harmful or fraudulent use of emails for spam or phishing. The common email authentication standards are.
- SPF Authentication – It’s sender identity verification which means it helps verify that the email sender is actually who it claims to be. It protects the recipient from getting tricked by malicious senders.
- DKIM Authentication – It ensures that the emails are not altered while in transit. It avoids spoofing by adding an encrypted signature to the header of all outgoing emails. Email servers that receive such encryption messages use DKIM to decrypt the message header and ensure the message was not changed after it was sent.
- DMARC authentication – It informs the receiving mail servers on how your email should be authenticated so the mailbox providers do not have the authentication protocols to be present. If any email from your domain does not carry these authentication protocols, the mail servers know the email isn’t really from you.
Setting up these protocols protects the domains used for sending out email campaigns and keeps from falling into the category of malicious senders.
Warm up your IP address
The sender reputation of a new IP address is 0 and spammers usually hop between IP addresses to dodge blacklists and spam filters. So sending bulk emails from a brand new IP address can make you fall in the category of spammers.
The solution was to warm up the IP address by increasing the volume of emails slowly and gradually over a period of weeks. You may start up with 75-100 emails and increase daily outgoing emails incrementally each day before hitting the maximum allowed outgoing emails per day. This process may take 15 to 30 days.
Verify your email lists
Sending emails to invalid email addresses, disposable emails, spam traps, misspelled and
other unusual emails can damage your sender reputation badly and impact the email deliverability which makes regular email verification mandatory. Choose an Email tester that is high in terms of accuracy and in addition to invalids, is able to detect disposable email addresses and catch-all email contacts too.
Verify 100 email addresses for free to get a glimpse of the quality of email list you have been using.
If you send out emails frequently and on a regular basis, it will be wise to remove the inactive subscribers as they negatively impact the open and engagement rate which is not good for building a sender reputation.
Use double opt-in to reduce unsubscribe rate
A hugh unsubscription rate indicates either the irrelevancy or disinterest of the receiver which looks bad to the Email Service Providers and they may flag your domain or IP address. The policy of double opt-in is recommended to avoid such situations.
Double opt-in includes a confirmation step where the contact receives an email and has to confirm it’s sign-up. As the users conform their sign-up, you know that the people on your list really wanted to sign-up. This will make them more responsive towards your emails and there are better chances of a higher open and click rate.
Send high quality emails
All the factors mentioned above are technical that ensure your emails are legitimate.
But one of the most important factor that is totally in the hands of the sender is – sending out good emails. If the content you share is not relevant to the subscribers, none of the technical standards can help as they will ignore your emails and may even unsubscribe.
Additional steps to improve an existing bad sender reputation.
- Establish a sub-domain to send emails – Get a subdomain that is used only for sending emails. You may even get a dedicated Ip address to the sub-domain to build up trust among the subscribers and they may start marketing your emails as ‘not spam’.
- For a while send transactional emails from the sub-domain – Transactional emails have a good open and click through rate. Sending transactional emails will again help in people marking your email as ‘not-spam’. Once your sender reputation improves and the email stops landing up in spam, the sub-domain can be used for sending other emails too.
- Check the feedback loops – In most cases email providers give a feedback header which mentions the reason why emails were not placed in the inbox. This will pinpoint the problem which you may avoid in future emails.
- Low sending volume – If most of your emails are going to spam folders try sending emails to less than 100 people that have been cherry picked, to avoid being noticed by the email service providers. That way you can slowly scale up the sender reputation.