Reputation Matters: How to Make Sure Your Emails Get Delivered to the Inbox
By Mohammed Ahmed July 2, 2015
For most brands, reputation is everything.
After all, how others perceive you can have a huge impact on your relationships. And no matter what your unique brand personality is, at the end of the day, you want your reputation to be positive.
But have you ever stopped to consider how your email sender reputation is doing, too?
If your email reputation stinks, it’ll affect the kind of relationship you have with your subscribers too. Every email you send, every subject line you write and even the email address you send from all contribute to your reputation – and that plays a huge part in whether you make it to the coveted inbox or get filtered to the spam folder.
Thankfully, there are simple ways you can make sure your emails get delivered to the inbox.
But first, let’s talk a little bit about your reputation.
What Is Email Sender Reputation?
If the word “reputation” conjures up old memories of how others perceived you in high school, you’re actually not too far off from how it relates to email.
Email sender reputation is a score that determines how trustworthy you are – in other words, whether or not you’re a spammer. Your sender score is generated by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, Cox and Roadrunner, and mailbox providers like Gmail, Yahoo! and Outlook. These analyze a number of factors related to your email behavior, such as the number of emails you send, your complaint rates, bounce rates, how many times you landed in the spam folder, and more.
And that score follows you wherever you go with that ISP or mailbox provider – kind of like your credit score – and impacts how successful you’ll be with your emails.
Based on your reputation score, ISPs will either route a certain number of your emails to the inbox or spam folder. Or, it might even cause your emails to bounce or get your domain name blocked. (Hence why we don’t allow our customers to use purchased email lists and encourage them to adhere to best practices!)
How to Maintain a Good Email Reputation
To ensure your email reputation score falls in your favor, you’ll want to implement these tactics into your overall strategy if you aren’t using them already.
Always Send a Welcome Message
When someone signs up to your email list, make a good first impression by sending them an email thanking them and welcoming them to your list. Remind them why they signed up to your list by sharing the content they expect to receive from you and how often you’ll be sending them.
The welcome message should be created as a follow up email, so new subscribers will receive them as soon as they sign up – it’s an automated process that doesn’t require any ongoing effort on your part.
This helps prevent subscribers from forgetting that they signed up to your email list.
Tip: Ask your subscribers to add your address to their contact list or address book to make sure they never miss an email from you (and help boost your reputation!).
Send Targeted Email Content
The content in your emails contributes a lot to your reputation. If the content doesn’t relate to the subscribers, there’s a good chance they’ll either ignore your emails, unsubscribe from your list, or mark you as spam.
But how can you possibly create content that’s relevant to all of your subscribers?
Consider sending emails to segments within your list based on things like geographical location or information they filled out in custom fields on your sign up form. This will help you identify the different audiences you’re speaking to in your email list, and ultimately give you ideas on what content best suits them.
Alter the Frequency of Your Emails
It’s important to maintain a regular email cadence to make sure your subscribers don’t forget who you are and that they signed up to your email list.
However, you may find that some of your subscribers prefer to receive more or less of your emails. As a result, you might want to test the frequency of your email sends. Or, simply ask your subscribers on your sign up form how often they’d like to hear from you. Do they want a daily email or a weekly newsletter?
Once they’ve responded or you’ve tested your email frequency, be sure to adapt to their needs. Doing so can have a great impact on your subscriber engagement, and ultimately your overall reputation score.
Tip: Frequently review user engagement (open rates and click-through rates) and test frequency every few months.
Scrub Your Email List of Inactives
Although many believe the more subscribers you have, the better, that isn’t always the case with email marketing.
In order for you to have a knockout email sender reputation, you need to have good subscriber engagement. While trying the tactics outlined above may help win some inactive subscribers back, there will be those who go months without opening an email.
In this case, you’ll want to send a segmented email to your inactive subscribers (anyone who hasn’t opened up an email from you within at least the last six months) to see if they want to remain on your list (and maybe offer an incentive to win them back).
If they take the bait, keep them on the list. If not, then it’s time to say goodbye and remove those you didn’t hear from.
Remember, you want to aim for quality subscribers, even if that means having a smaller list. And if you have stellar email content and respect your subscribers, it shouldn’t take long for you to rebuild it.
Get the Reputation You Want
Taking the time to ensure your emails adhere to best practices is essential to getting your messages delivered to the inbox, and it’s easy to get started with the tips outlined above.
Plus, it’s also a win-win for both you and your subscribers: you get the engagement and loyalty of customers and prospects, and your subscribers get the valuable information they asked for.
So what are you waiting for? Start sending those awesome emails today!
And if you have any questions about deliverability or your email sender reputation, ask away in the comments section below.