How to improve your email reputation

There are many things that’ll impact the success (or failure) of your email marketing campaigns. Having catchy, to-the-point subject lines, concise and clear copy, and providing value to the reader, to name just three essential email marketing tips, are all key. 

However, even if you have the best marketing emails in the world, if your emails aren’t making it through to your customers, then there’ll only be one outcome: failure. If you’re noticing a lower-than-expected email open rate, then it could be down to your email reputation, which has a big say in whether your emails land in the inbox or the spam folder.

In this post, we’ll run through everything you need to know about email sender reputation, including what it is, what influences it, and how you can improve yours. 

Understand your email sender reputation

If you’re old enough to remember the early days of internet email, then you’ll recall a long list of unread emails that were patently spam. It’s just, back then, the spam folder didn’t exist. These days, email service providers have a vested interest in weeding out low-quality emails and ensuring they’re not put in front of their users. Ultimately, ESPs such as Gmail are focused on providing the best user experience possible. They have no obligation to put a sent email in front of their users if they believe it’s spam.

If you’re a legitimate business, then you won’t, of course, be sending spam to your email subscriber list. But that doesn’t mean that your emails won’t end up in the recipient’s spam folder. If you have a poor email sender reputation, then email service providers may well flag your message as spam. After all, ESPs aren’t checking every individual message. They’re using nets that catch emails that could be spam. 

And having a low email sender reputation is a surefire way to get caught in that net. So what influences your reputation? It comes down to two factors:

Domain reputation 

Your email domain plays a big role in your email sender reputation. If the domain has been known to send unsolicited messages in the past, then it’ll have a lower rating. If there’s never been any issues, then you’ll be unlikely to have any problems.

Your email domain is whatever comes after the ‘@’ symbol of your email address. In our case, that would be “@instiller.co.uk.” If we had a history of sending emails that our recipients don’t open, or which, even worse, they mark as ‘Spam’ then we’d have a low domain reputation. Thankfully, that’s not the case.  

In its most basic terms, you can think of your domain reputation as the email equivalent of a credit score. A low score makes it more likely that you’ll be put in the spam folder. A high score means you’ll end up in the recipients’ inbox, which is exactly where you want to be. 

IP reputation 

The other key metric that influences email deliverability is IP reputation. You could have a clean domain reputation, but if the emails are being sent from an IP with known issues, then the spam folder awaits. Email service providers keep track of the IP addresses that send unwanted messages, so even if you change your domain name, your emails are less likely to make it through if there have been historic problems. 

Email service providers look at other factors too, of course. They’ll scan the content for obviously spammy links. But even if you have excellent content (as we’re sure you do), you could end up on the wrong side of the spam filter because of the two determining factors above. 

How to check email address reputation

And now to the big question: what’s your email sender reputation? As we said, your well-crafted email messages won’t make it through if you have a low score, so keeping an eye on things is essential. There are a bunch of free online tools that can give you an idea of your reputation, including:

Between those three tools, you should have an idea of your sender’s reputation, and whether you need to make improvements. 

Methods to monitor sender reputation

Of course, your reputation may change over time, so don’t assume that a good rating today means you’ll have a good rating tomorrow. Stay on top of your reputation with the following tips:

Monitor your email statistics

You’ll be more likely to experience a reputation backlash if your emails are performing poorly. If you notice a decrease in your open rate, an increase in your bounce rate, or more spam complaints, then it’ll be time to make adjustments to your email marketing campaigns.

Check your reputation regularly

You can improve your sender reputation, but not if things have gotten so bad that it’s unsavable. Regularly checking your reputation score will let you know where you are, and when you need to take action. 

Send messages to yourself

If your emails are appealing in your spam folder, then you can rest assured that they’re showing up in other people’s spam folders too. 

How to improve your sender reputation

Not happy with your sender reputation score? Then take action. There are several tried-and-tested methods for improving sender reputation. You can’t expect results overnight, but stay patient, and you’ll notice improvements.

Grow your list organically

You want a long list of addresses on your email marketing list, but it’s important to get them the right way. If people haven’t clearly signed up for your newsletter, then they’ll be less likely to open your emails and mark them as spam. Make sure your list is full of people who made an informed decision to be added to the list.

Prune your list

People and businesses change their email addresses all the time. If you’re getting bounced emails, then remove those addresses from your list. 

Improve engagement

The more people interact with your emails, the better your sender reputation will be. Work on improving the quality of your emails, including using concise language, offering something valuable, and using catchy email subject lines.

Looking to take your email marketing campaigns to the next level? Try instiller for free, and see what it can do for you. 

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