6 Best Practices of Email Reputation Management


In an era of ad-blockers and spam filters, marketers need relevant, innovative email marketing strategies and tactics to keep subscribers informed and engaged with your brand. Maintaining a good email reputation is a never-ending challenge. Email deliverability is still a major challenge for marketers. If emails are diverted to a junk folder or just go missing, a marketer loses the opportunity to engage the recipient or generate transactions.

Your firm’s reputation on the internet is not just about how well you rank in search engines. It is about how well your emails are received by your audience. What would a 5% or 15% increase in deliverability do for your funnel? If you could increase the number of actively engaged leads, what might that do to your revenue?

For maintaining a good email reputation use the following best practices for “Email Reputation Management”.

What is Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability is the rate of emails delivered to a subscriber’s or customer’s inbox. To drive a successful email campaign, it’s vital that you know your content is reaching your intended audience. Improving inbox placement starts with improvements in Deliverability and Reputation.

Deliverability depends on several things working together:

  • Email content
  • List quality
  • Managing bounces and bad emails
  • Only send Emails to People who Opted-In
  • Segmentation and targeting
  • Identify inactive and active leads
  • Authentication
  • Domain reputation

1. Create Amazing Email Content:

There are a few tricks to remember about content besides the magic of ‘sending something people want’. Personalize your emails to each recipient. Ideally, the content should reflect recipient’s specific interests or usage patterns in your application. At least address them by their name…don’t be rude!

It is best to send multi-part emails using both text and HTML or text only. Sending HTML the only email is not well received by ESPs. Also, remember that ESPs generally block images by default so HTML only will not look very good unless users are proactive about enabling images.

The higher the text to link and text to image ratios, the better. Too many links and images trigger spam flags at ESPs.

Links should include the domain that is sending the email. Also, popular URL shorteners can be a bad idea because they are frequently used by spammers.

A/B test your emails to optimize recipient engagement. Subject lines are particularly important. You can use Marketo automation tool for tracking statistics in order to measure A/B testing and improve your content.

Misspellings, spammy words (buy now! Free!) Are big spam flags, as are ALL CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!

2. Email List Quality:

The number one reason we see people get blocked is because they have a bad mailing list. Don’t purchase your list or scrape web sites for emails. It’s the easy way out and you will pay the consequences. Most of these lists have bad email addresses and include spam traps. ESPs are very good at recognizing bad mailing lists.

  • Identify inactive and active leads: A high number of inactive users—subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked on your emails in a certain period of time, such as six months or more—can hurt your email deliverability. With numerous inactive users, showing high engagement with subscribers is tough.
  • Handle email bounce rates: Have a good process for handling email bounce rates. When you send an email to a non-existent email address, it’s classified as a bounce. If you keep sending emails to the same addresses that bounced, you’ll get a bad reputation. So, be sure to quickly remove bounced email addresses from your email list.
  • Clean spam traps and competitors from your list: Promptly remove names of individuals who unsubscribe. Email service providers can view bounced email as spam traps, or email that was added to a list without permission. Sometimes, they set up spam traps to identify email marketers with poor permission and list management practices. Most ESPs allow you to automate this process so that people are removed immediately upon unsubscribing.

3. Email Authentication:

It is very important that you are using the appropriate authentication methods with your email. If you are not authenticating your email properly, ESPs will assume you are spamming and will filter or just drop your email.

The common types of authentication are:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
  • DomainKeys
  • Sender ID

4. Only send Emails to People who Opted-In:

Send emails only to people who have given you permission—and preferably confirm their permission with a double opt-in. In addition, you should be sending a verification email with a link that confirms their subscription (double opt-in) to make sure their email address is correct and that they are the person that signed up. If everyone did this, the world would be a better place.

You should have your Privacy Policy easily accessible on your website. In addition, you should have a place on your website where users can unsubscribe from your mailings, in addition to a link in every email you send.

5. Email Program Analysis:

The final step is to consider your targeting, segmentation, and content. If people are not interested in what you have to say, they will send you to the Spam Box, lowering your reputation no matter how good your list is.

6. How do I find out my reputation?

The easiest way is to check the overall or monthly email statistics from your MAP. In Marketo, run an Email Performance Report by Month or Year. For deeper information such as Sender Score, IP Reputation, or Inbox Placement, you will need a separate service.