How to Improve Your Email Reputation Score

Permission and reputation goes hand-in-hand in achieving email deliverability. Reputation is like your credit score; it is hard to build the reputation, but it is really easy to lose it.  Furthermore, it takes time and effort not only to build the reputation but also to maintain and protect it. If someone steals your identity, he or she can hurt your credit score and you have to contact the reporting agencies to get the issue resolved.  Similarly, if someone steals your identity as a sender, he or she can hurt your reputation score with the ISPs and then you have to go through a painful unblocking process with each provider.

To maintain and protect your credit, consumers often subscribe to services as myFICO and other credit protection plans in order to monitor their score and activity on their credit. Unfortunately for email, there isn’t a single tool that can accurately provide reputation score.  Achieving deliverability demands that you monitor your reputation through a variety of available tools including: senderscore.org, senderbase.org, reputationauthority.org and siteadvisor.com. In addition to using these services and tools, you should review your complaint rates through available FBLs, spam traps through Spamcop reports, bounce rates through your MTAs and inactive accounts in your lists through Microsoft SNDS.  Monitoring all of these facets of your lists is critical because the reputation score is used by all ISPs today to accept or reject your mailings. 

It is becoming more and more difficult to deliver marketing emails to the users’ inbox consistently. A few years ago, ISPs were only focused on reviewing the user complaints to determine if they should accept or reject the emails.  However, over the past year, ISPs are looking at many other factors, including reviewing the IPs score from senderscore.org and senderbase.org, engagement through opens and clicks, assessing list hygiene through inactive accounts, and monitoring feedback through complaints and their panel of users to decide if they should accept or reject the emails.

Marketers can also improve the results of their email campaigns by improving their email acquisition and mailing practices. Nevertheless, while some marketers are driving improvements through testing and optimization, others can barely sustain their deliverability to the users’ inbox. If you are one of those marketers who are struggling in maintaining consistent deliverability, then you should start focusing on improving the “permission” practices of your lists. Even though various factors can influence the deliverability and performance, the single important factor that has the most impact on your program is your list subscriber’s permission.

So, how do you improve your permission practices? The focus needs to be on the signup process and signup disclosure. The sign-up process needs to be clear and conspicuous to the user so consumers can understand what they are opting into.  This can be accomplished by providing a clear disclosure not just in the privacy policy but also at the point of collection.  Clear disclosure will set the right expectations for the types of content and frequency of messages, keep users engaged with your brand and stabilize complaint levels. With fewer complaints, higher engagement and low bounces, your email reputation score would increase which should help sustain consistent deliverability to users’ inbox.

Keeping messages relevant is important to keep users engaged. Reputation alone will not guarantee deliverability as relevancy by itself without monitoring reputation will not sustain inbox delivery.  Both reputation and relevancy must work in tandem to help achieve and, most importantly, uphold maximum deliverability.  And just like raising your credit score, building reputation and engagement takes time and persistence. Regardless of either situation, the payoff will be well worth the effort.

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