Managing Your Email Reputation

When it comes to creating a successful email campaign and achieving the best possible delivery rate, your reputation is your key component.  A good reputation will keep you in the various ISPs’ good graces, and a bad one can get you banished, blocked or blacklisted.

Your reputation is what determines whether your email messages are reaching inboxes or if they are being blocked.  For email marketers, one of the toughest challenges is figuring out how to improve their reputation as part of enhancing their overall sending practices.
First, it’s important to understand the key factors affecting your email reputation.  These are:
  • Number of spam complaints generated – too many complaints lead to being blocked by ISPs
  • Volume of email sent – dramatically boosting frequency can cause your reputation to plummet 
  • Method used to process bounces – invalid email addresses need to be removed promptly as part of essential list hygiene
  • Sending to invalid or old email addresses – could cause your campaign to be caught in a spam trap at some ISPs
  • Appearance on any blacklists
Now that you are aware of the issues, the next step, naturally, is to figure out ways you can improve your email reputation. First, to cut down on the rate with which receivers click the “spam” button, it’s important that your email messages clearly identify who you are in the messages’ “from” line and provide an easy way to find the unsubscribe link.
Second, it is important to respect your email recipient by sending content that is relevant to that consumer and sent with a frequency that is aligned to their engagement with your brand, product, or service.  Having an email preference center will help determine the frequency of emails for your customers and will help you retain more customers in the long run. 
Next, you want to reduce your bounce rates from invalid addresses.  This most often occurs when you start working with new partners or change your sign-up practices.  To make adjustments you can add list error checking or require addresses to be entered twice. You also need to be aware of spam traps created by ISPs, in which you may get stuck when using old and inactive addresses.
Finally, it’s important to obtain as much feedback as possible from ISPs, your ESP and your customers.  This feedback will help you make important adjustments to maintain the highest reputation score possible.  Key feedback data should include:
  • The delay between senders receiving a complaint and unsubscribing the complainer
  • Repeat complaints 
  • Complaints tracked to ISP/mailbox provider 
Additionally you can also help maintain your reputation by always knowing your numbers (open rate, click through rate, and delivery rates); authenticating your messages with DKIM signatures; using CertifiedEmail, and making sure your infrastructure is secure.  
– Daniel T. Dreymann
President and Co-Founder
Goodmail Systems