Is it true that email campaigns are the most cost-effective and most profitable way to reach customers? Absolutely true, but it does take some effort. You need awesome content and a carefully selected target audience. And, you have to make sure your emails reach the inbox, which can sometimes get tricky. Good email reputation is a major factor in ensuring high inbox placement.
Why good email reputation matters
It used to be that the content of your emails was the primary cause for inbox placement issues. Nowadays, email reputation is the major culprit. In fact, about 75% of deliverability problems can be linked to poor email reputation.
Your email reputation directly affects the success of your marketing campaigns. If your rating is too low, your content won’t even reach your audience. It doesn’t matter if you do everything else right. Without good deliverability, all your other efforts will go to waste.Doesn't matter how good your emails are. If they don't get delivered, you're losing profit.Click To Tweet
It’s a tough world out there. Spammers keep coming up with new tricks and clever ways to get people to open malicious messages. This forces the ISPs to respond and employ harsher antispam measures and filtering criteria.
Unfortunately, many of these new antispam measures now reject legitimate senders. Unless you’re up-to-date with the latest in proper mailing practices, you’ll end up with a lower email reputation.
How to check your reputation
Your reputation reflects the quality of your lists and adherence to good mailing practices. So, it’s essential you know where you stand when it comes to your reputation ranking.
There are online tools like SenderScore you can use to check your sender reputation. By entering your IP address, you’ll receive a score from 1 to 100. The score is based on parameters such as mail volume, complaints, spam trap hits, and content. Depending on the number, you’ll know if you just need to maintain your reputation or try to rebuild it from scratch.
Practices that hurt your reputation
You may not be able to control every factor that influences your reputation. For example, sometimes genuine subscribers will suddenly label you as a spammer for no good reason. However, you do control the majority of factors behind your sender reputation. Make sure to avoid the following practices to keep your sender rankings high.
Being marked as spam
If your content generates too many spam complaints, it will tank your email reputation. Especially if you continue emailing these users after being notified of the spam complaints.
Poor list hygiene
Clean up your lists by removing invalid, misspelled or inactive addresses. Emails sent to these addresses will bounce, attracting the attention of ISPs. High bounce rates that don’t return to normal after several mailings can get you blocked.
Continuous spam trap hits
Spam traps are addresses that are not in active use. Their purpose is to serve as spam catchers since no legitimate incoming traffic is expected to come their way. The more spam traps you hit, the more your email reputation will suffer.
Mailing people too frequently
Above all, your emails should provide value to your audience. If you email them every day just for the sake of it, you risk many unsubscribes and spam hits, raising a red flag with the ISP.
Things you can do to maintain a healthy reputation
Sender reputation is something you should focus on from the start. It plays a major role in deliverability and your campaigns are almost useless without it.
However, it’s not something you can achieve once and then rest on your laurels. You have to actively maintain and closely monitor your reputation for as long as you have a list. This is why for example we use the term “list hygiene” when we talk about keeping your list clean. It’s not something you do once; It’s something you do on a continuous basis.
With that said, let’s look at some effective tips to help you get and maintain a stellar email reputation.
1. Get explicit permission to send content
Never send emails without explicit permission. Some large marketers make it seem like it’s “normal” to trick people into email lists. But unless you know how this marketer gets away with it, you don’t want to replicate this approach. Don’t try to trick people into joining a newsletter under false pretenses. It’s a sure way to get labeled as spam. Too many spam complaints will trigger spam filters and you can end up blacklisted.
The only way to build a healthy mailing list is to ask people to opt-in for those emails in particular. Don’t get their address for one reason, and then send them emails they didn’t ask for. Make sure it’s clear what they’re signing up for.
It’s best to use double opt-in where people have to confirm they want to join your list. And more importantly, to make sure they are the person that signed up. This is usually done by sending an activation email to the address supplied upon signup.
This practice reduces the probability of spam complaints. It also helps eliminate mistyped or incorrect addresses.
2. Get whitelisted
Whitelisting is a great way to boost your sender reputation. It’s especially useful if you send large quantities of emails from a certain IP address, as it can reduce deliverability issues.
Keep in mind that getting whitelisted doesn’t make you invulnerable. You still have to maintain good emailing practices like everyone else.The easiest way to improve email reputation? Ask your signups to whitelist you. Click To Tweet
To get people to whitelist you, include a whitelisting request in your welcome email. Politely ask your subscribers to add you to their address book. Getting whitelisted is an indicator that people want to receive your emails. Also, welcome emails have among the highest deliverability rates, so take advantage of this.
In your future emails, continue to include brief but clear instructions on how users can add you as a contact. This way, you’ll subtly remind people to whitelist you if they haven’t done so yet.
3. Utilize feedback loops
A feedback loop is a service provider’s offer to help you track spam complaints. Whenever someone marks one of your messages as spam, you get an email notification from the ISP.
One of the parameters ISPs use to measure reputation is the received emails/spam complaints ratio. Feedback loops provide data you can use to remove these users and keep the ratio favorable.
Feedback loops are a measure of how many people really dislike your emails. They don’t just delete the message and go to the next one. They mark it as spam. Take this data as an indicator that some people don’t respond well to your content and take action to fix it.
Keep in mind that zero spam complaints can also be a sign of trouble. Either the feedback loop stopped sending data and you aren’t notified of new complaints. Or worse, your email doesn’t even reach the inbox so people can’t see it.
4. Pay attention to design and content
User engagement is key in email marketing today. The best way to stimulate engagement is sending attractive and highly customized content. The design of your emails matters. Keep the layout simple, but stylish. Focus on the content, rather than on an overly fancy look.
Most of us use our smartphones as our mobile office-on-the-go, so make sure to optimize your emails for mobile devices. Of course, if you’re using Emercury, this isn’t an issue for you. We have plenty of awesome mobile-optimized designs ready for you to use.User engagement boosts conversions AND improves email deliverability. Make it a priority if you care about success.Click To Tweet
The subject line has to grab people’s attention. In fact, most people won’t even open emails with vague or boring subject lines. Avoid deceptive subject lines. You’ll just irritate people and force them to unsubscribe.
Never include attachments (PDF or Word files) in your emails. They represent a clear flag for the spam filters. Instead, include a link leading to the file location and invite people to check it out using a smart CTA.
Keeping up a good email reputation is easy with an email marketing platform like Emercury
We pride ourselves on the quality and variety of features designed to help boost your delivery rates.
Our list manager tool will help you import, track and manage subscribers, keeping your list clean. You can also verify your lists to remove invalid addresses and prevent hard bounces. Do this during import or check existing lists you haven’t used in a while.
And don’t forget that the way your email marketing platform does business affects your sender reputation. At Emercury, we take this to heart and do our best to ensure all our clients use only the best emailing practices. Give Emercury a try and see why so many marketers choose us for their email campaigns.