The blog ‘Protect Your Sender Score Reputation by Following These 5 Steps’ was originally published in 2018. It has been reworked and modernized for 2021.
Email providers gauge your sender reputation using what’s known as a sender score.
This score is much like a credit rating, only instead of determining loan eligibility, it determines the ease with which your email campaigns reach their intended contacts. A bad sender score is, historically, the number one reason your email campaign never reaches the inbox.
While a high sender score doesn’t necessarily guarantee inbox placement, a low score can tank your email deliverability. In fact, studies show that a sender reputation accounts for over 75 percent of email delivery problems.
Your sender score takes a wide range of variables into account, including: bounce rates, spam complaints and how often you send to spam traps. Let your sender reputation drop low enough, and email providers will filter your emails based on your IP address alone, without taking the quality of your campaigns into consideration.
When it comes to sending a B2B marketing campaign to a purchased list, your sender reputation can be the difference between reaching the inbox or the spam folder. But how do you know what your sender score is?
Protect Your Sender Score Reputation by Following These 5 Steps
1. Get Your Sender Score
First thing’s first, you’ll want to find out where your sender reputation currently stands. There are a number of companies that will measure your sender reputation and provide you with an accurate sender score.
A popular and free way to find out your sender score is to use senderscore.org, which will rate your score out of 100. The closer you are to 100, the better your current reputation is. The result is evaluated based on a number of factors including complaints, volume, IP reputation, bounce rate and more.
Here are a few more tools you can use to get a better understanding of your current email sending reputation:
Once you have your baseline, you can start working on a strategy for improving (or maintaining) your reputation. Many small business owners discover that they have a subscription to an email service provider, but do not have their own dedicated IP address. This means that a low sender score is not your fault, as the rating is tied to your shared IP.
Clickback uses its own IPs to send your outbound Email Lead Generation (ELG) campaigns. This means that a poor sender score will not hinder your deliverability, or do any further damage.
2. Sign Up for Feedback Loop Services
When recipients complain about your emails, your sender score takes a major hit. Feedback loop services, offered by most inbox providers, provide a means of tracking complaints and removing unhappy subscribers before they can further damage your reputation.
A feedback loop (sometimes referred to as a complaint feedback loop) is an inter-organizational form of feedback where your mailbox provider forwards user complaints to the sender organization. Feedback loops are a way of reporting spam to a mailbox provider via the “report spam” button in their webmail pages or email client.
Having a feedback loop in place allows B2B marketers to analyze the complaint rate of their email marketing, and remove subscribers that do not wish to receive any further advertisements.
3. Make Sure Your Data Is Clean
Even if you’re using a long-standing permission-based email list, you need to clean your data regularly. Like food, data expires over time. Studies show that databases decay at a rate of 22.5% every year. If your recipients have abandoned or closed their email accounts, your emails will bounce back, hurting your sender score.
If you have noticed a sudden drop in email deliverability, it may be a sign that it’s time to clean your email list. The telltale signs of a “dirty” email list are a reduced open-rate, reduced clickthrough rate and an increase in spam complaints. Cleaning your email list (sometimes called “list scrubbing“) involves removing the email addresses that are hurting your deliverability, and your sender score.
In fact, all data should be cleaned upon import. Even if you’re pulling directly from an opt-in list, customers have been known to give inaccurate information (sometimes intentionally). If you’re importing a purchased email list, you may also be introducing spam traps or honeypots, so it’s imperative that you have Email Lead Generation software with verification functionality in place to remove bad data and protect your sender score.
4. Monitor and Maintain Your Sender Score
Even with a high sender score, your emails may still be subject to filtering. So it’s important to not only monitor your sender reputation but to also keep an eye on the filtering criteria applied by email providers. Learning how your reputation corresponds with certain types of filtering can help you prevent problems with future campaigns.
“Warm up” your IP by sending smaller email campaigns to a small group of your best subscribers. These subscribers are less likely to report spam or unsubscribe, thus will not damage your current sender reputation. Rather than blasting out thousands of emails at once, it’s better to gradually add to your list naturally, to maintain a healthy sender score.
Be consistent when sending your email campaigns, in terms of both the number of messages you send and the frequency. A massive campaign to over 5000 emails in one day and another campaign of twice that size in one week will surely raise a few red flags.
It’s also important to continuously monitor variables that affect your sender score, such as bounce rates, spam reports and unsubscribe requests. Emails that trigger these events should be removed from the database ASAP to protect your reputation and improve the results of future campaigns.
5. Use Email Lead Generation Software
Clickback’s Email Lead Generation software cleans data upon import, immediately removing potential threats to your sender score. This is something traditional Email Service Provider (ESP) and Marketing Automation (MA) software isn’t designed to do.
Plus, you can monitor key performance metrics such as bounce rates, spam reports and unsubscribe requests to better maintain your email list, sender reputation and improve your campaigns over time.
The bottom line is, if you plan on sending an outbound campaign to a third-party email list, a poor sender score will hinder your lead generation efforts. Don’t let your sender score define you, use a dedicated lead generation software instead!