Email reputation: how to get your email in the inbox

As a marketer you put a lot of energy into engaging with your target audience: creating well-designed emails, selecting databases, deciding on content, copywriting, etc.

But no matter how well you plan your email marketing campaign, there is a real risk it won't be read if you fail to build a good email reputation that maximizes email deliverability. On average, 18% of legitimate marketing emails never reach recipients' inboxes, which translates into lost contacts, lost opportunities and lost revenue.

The first step is building a strong sender reputation: this refers to a set of specific metrics directly related to a sender's email sending practices. E-mails from senders with a good reputation are more likely to reach recipients' inboxes, while senders with a poor reputation run a greater risk of having their emails blocked or relegated to the Junk Mail folder.

By sticking to these best practices, you are guaranteed to build a strong reputation

The most essential part of creating a good sender reputation, a great brand experience and high engagement rates is to send quality emails your recipients want to receive.
Do so by implementing a clear opt-in during the subscription process and be sure to send relevant and interesting content, preferably based on specific interests, preferences and/or audience behavior.

Well-formatted email
Make sure to use a well-structured, simplified code. No one likes messy HTML codes. Aside from being hard to adapt, poorly coded emails get caught in filters and don't render properly.

Consistent volumes
How many emails do you send: do you send a balanced number of emails each month or is your mailing schedule full of highs and lows? Consistent volumes based on subscriber preferences have a positive influence on sender reputation scores.

Minimize complaints
Do your subscribers complain or mark your messages as spam or junk mail? Keeping your complaint rate very low is important. Less than 0.1% on emails delivered is the benchmark.
Make it easy to unsubscribe. One click, two clicks max. Avoid scenarios where a subscriber has to log in first to change opt-in preferences - it's easier to simply click the junk mail button.

Low bounce rates
A good reputation also means that only a small percentage of your emails bounce back or are returned because the account is no longer active or the mailbox is (temporarily) full. If a lot of your emails bounce back your subscribers aren't engaging and you're not keeping up to speed with them. It also indicates that your list hygiene is not up to industry standards. This makes your emails look like spam with the result that they are unlikely to be delivered.

Avoid spam traps and blacklists
Hitting a spam trap (= an email address activated by ISPs to detect spammers) will instantly affect your reputation and cause deliverability problems. The fact that you mail one of these email addresses that is not actively used, but is actively monitored, could be a sign that you are into email address harvesting or have poor list hygiene management. Either way, your email messages are not going to be delivered. Do everything you can to avoid spam traps: practicing good list hygiene and not purchasing email lists is a good start.




Appearing on one of the leading blacklists is enough to get your email temporarily blocked. If you're a sender with low complaint rates, do not hit spam traps and send relevant emails in consistent volumes, you generally don't get blacklisted. However, if you do get blacklisted, having a good sending reputation will go a long way towards convincing the administrator that your IPs do not belong on their blacklist.

Posted on
Jul 16, 2014