Why Your Sender Reputation Is Key to Getting Your Emails in the Inbox

Author: Corina Leslie

January 14, 2019
Why Your Sender Reputation Is Key to Getting Your Emails in the Inbox

Great content is just your first step in running a successful email marketing campaign. That’s where marketing begins, but making sure your emails reach the inbox of your subscribers matters more than anything. This is where your sender reputation plays a vital role. Internet service providers (ISPs) care about it the most, and so should you.

What is your email sender reputation?

If you’ve been involved in email marketing for a while, you’re probably familiar with the term. If you aren’t, chances are you understand what it means, but maybe you’re not fully aware of how much it matters.

So, let’s see what your sending reputation is and how it influences your email marketing results.

email validation

An email sender reputation is a score ISPs assign to someone who sends emails, based on certain criteria, such as sending behaviors and overall email engagement.

What determines your reputation?

  • the number of emails you send and your sending frequency
  • the accuracy and quality of your email list
  • your bounce rate, open and click-through rate
  • the percentage of recipients who label your emails as spam
  • other engagement metrics, such as how many people forward and delete your emails
  • the number of emails that hit spam traps rather than genuine email addresses

Why your sender reputation is crucial to your email deliverabiliy

For the same reason your professional reputation is important when it comes to getting a new job or landing a new contract. People care about what you’ve done in the past – the quality and value of your work, your ability to meet deadlines and to help an organization grow.

ISPs operate under a similar “mindset” – they gather information about your past behavior to determine whether you’re a lawful, legitimate sender. Depending on what they find, they decide if they’re going to support you, or deliver your emails to people’s Spam folder.

If your score has worsened over time, ISPs won’t deliver your emails at all. The consequences can derail your entire email marketing, but you can easily avoid that by maintaining a good score.

email verification

How to improve your sender reputation

Everything you do as an email sender builds your reputation. Ignore your bounces and your score will decrease. Keep emailing abuse accounts and that will affect how email service and internet providers will see you. Also, continue to email people who never open your emails and you’ll see a drop in your deliverability.

So, how do you build a healthy reputation? It’s not as hard as you may think. As long as you follow best practices and take your email marketing seriously, you should see good results!

Now, let’s dive into some actionable tips that will help you correct some of your habits, send emails more confidently, and boost your metrics – and ROI.

Avoid sending too many emails at once

Need to send out a campaign to a large list of contacts? If you don’t normally do that, you may run into deliverability issues. So, warm up your IP by sending out your emails in batches. Yahoo, for example, only allows 200 emails a day per IP for the first five days, so you need to gradually increase your volume. You can learn more about this by reading our Email Deliverability Guide – it’s a free resource that covers all the things you need to know to boost your inbox placement.

Send your emails on time

Maintaining a consistent sending behavior also helps preserve a good reputation. Not only does this keep your IP warm, but it prevents the risk of spam complaints. So, stick to your calendar: what’s the best day and time to send your emails? Make sure you show up in people’s inboxes as promised. In time, your consistency will result in higher open rates, and high open rates bring

Use a safe email list

By “safe” we mean free of invalid and inactive addresses. Few things can affect your sender reputation more than poor data quality. A high number of bounces and spam complaints don’t make you look good in the eyes of ISPs and email service providers. So, use an email verification tool every once in a while to make sure your list is up to date.

Double opt-in is better

If you don’t use the double opt-in subscription method, consider it from now on, as it helps you maintain better email hygiene. Ask your new subscribers to confirm their addition to your mailing list, and you’ll also see a higher engagement. Also, never add people to your list without their consent. Seth Godin praised permission marketing for a reason: it’s the only type of marketing that yields results.

Protect your list with an email verification API

Having a double opt-in mechanism in place for your subscriptions is a great way to preserve your list quality. However, adding an extra layer of email verification will help you keep your database clean longer. An email email validation API stops temporary, abuse, catch-all, and misspelled addresses in their tracks. Thus, it protects your list more effectively and contributes to your good sender reputation.

Send personalized content

Your subscribers’ engagement with your content has a significant influence on your sender score. So get to know your audience, learn what they like and what they expect from you. The higher your click-through rate, the more solid your reputation.

For more tips on succeeding with your email marketing, read our Top 10 ideas for 2019!

This article was updated in May 2020.