Are you a broker running email marketing campaigns? When was the last time you checked your email sender reputation? Do you even know how to?
In this installment of the Plugit Knowledge base, we’ll review all the details you need to check to improve your email sender reputation.
Email marketing returns, on average, $44 for every $1 spent. That’s $44 in revenue for every $1 you spend sending email campaigns!
That’s hard to beat, no matter how you look at it. Email marketing outperforms media buying, CPC, Adwords, banners, and pretty much any other type of marketing you care to mention.
Unlike media buying, for example, your email database is yours to use over and over. But your results will depend on where your emails end up. If your email sender reputation is low, then chances are, your emails will end up in the dreaded Spam folder or, at best, in the Promotions tab in Gmail.
Keep your email sender reputation looking healthy, and your messages will find the Inbox!
Your email sender reputation depends on several factors, including:
- Contact list health;
- Sending domain reputation;
- Sending IP reputation;
- The volume of emails you send;
- The growth in the volume of emails you send;
- How many of your contacts mark your emails as spam or otherwise complain to the Internet Service Providers (ISP) about the messages;
- How often do your emails hit ISP spam traps;
- How many of your email messages bounce;
- How many of your contacts open your messages;
- How many of your contacts unsubscribe from your mailing lists;
Luckily, all these are aspects of your email sender reputation that you can improve. All this takes is a little preparation and consistency. Follow our suggestions, and you’ll soon be inboxing like a pro!
Contact List Health
Maintaining the health of your email lists should be a part of your email marketing strategy. If it isn’t, you could be harming your email sender reputation by sending emails to inactive and out-of-date email addresses.
In the age of Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and all the other free email providers, some people change their email addresses practically every other day. Many of your contact lists’ email addresses will no longer exist. Many of them will never have existed at all. People often use a fake email address to sign up for or view an offer online.
Unless you clean your email lists regularly, you risk emailing these bad inboxes, which negatively affects your email sender reputation.
You can use online services to maintain your lists’ health. For example, a Google search for “email verification service” will return results like ZeroBounce and Million Verifier, both of which have excellent reviews.
Domain and IP Reputation
One of the most common mistakes is using your main brand domain as your email-sending domain. That’s fine with your business email communications, but not so good when we talk about email marketing and mass email.
Email marketing will inevitably lead to some recipients marking your emails as spam. That’s a fact of email marketing. Too many spam complaints, though, and the sending domain could get into trouble with the ISPs. That’s not something you want to deal with for your brand domain, which is why we suggest using a separate domain for your email campaigns.
The same goes for your sending IP. While sending email from your brand website IP might seem like an option, it’s not an option you ever want to use.
All the leading email marketing services companies have accounts based on shared IPs. While you could make a case for shared IPs in terms of warmup, our advice would be to avoid them and use a dedicated IP.
Shared IPs leave you open to collective abuse issues. For example, it only takes one bad apple to send emails from the shared IP, and all the users will suffer.
Stick to a dedicated IP to build and maintain your email delivery. Set all the essential parameters like SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) for your sending domain. These parameters verify your sending identity and are crucial to your email deliverability.
Services like MXToolBox and GLockApps can help you verify your domain parameters, measure your inboxing statistics, and scan all the primary blacklists for any domain or IP address mentions.
One of the temptations with email marketing is to do too much too soon. If you’ve taken our advice, you should now have a shiny new email domain and sending IP. The problem is neither of these has any sending statistics, so you need to warm them up.
Domain and IP warmup is simply the process of increasing your sending volume over time, steadily increasing the volume daily.
A typical warmup sequence would look like this:
DAY – TOTAL SEND
1 – 50
2 – 100
3 – 500
4 – 1,000
5 – 5,000
6 – 10,000
7 – 20,000
8 – 40,000
9 – 70,000
10 – 100,000
The goal is to increase the daily sending volumes gradually so the ISPs get used to seeing large sends on your domain and IP.
Skip this warmup procedure, and your email sender reputation will suffer.
Spam Reports and ISP Spam Traps
Email marketing is effective, so more email marketing should be more effective, right? But, unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that could have the reverse effect. Send too much email, and you risk your messages being marked as spam, harming your email sender reputation.
Some of your messages will be more frequent than others. For example, if you send your traders market news, these emails will be at least daily. Let your contacts know in advance of the sending frequency, which should reduce spam complaints.
Always provide an Unsubscribe link in your emails and comply with any unsubscribe requests.
ISP spam traps are a different issue altogether. These email addresses are never used for any signup and exist solely to collect unsolicited spam emails.
Since these email addresses aren’t for signups, any email sent to them must be spam. ISPs have huge databases of these spam traps; if you’re emailing too many of them, your email reputation will take a significant hit.
Spam traps relate to the quality of your email lists. Clean these regularly, and you should see a reduction in the number of spam traps your messages are hitting.
Email Bounce Rates
Bounces typically fall into one of two categories. Soft and Hard. For example, soft bounces happen when an email inbox exceeds the storage limit and are usually temporary.
Hard bounces are permanent. Messages can’t be delivered because the address is either invalid or non-existent. A particular ISP may even block your outgoing server.
One way to protect your email sender reputation from bounces is to use a bounce server. Bounce servers are ordinary email boxes that catch bounced emails and remove these from your mailing lists.
Open and Unsubscribe Rates
We send emails expecting the recipients to open these. Therefore, the more people open our emails, the better our results will be. However, if our open rates are low, that could impact our email sending reputation.
Of course, better subject lines and more engaging content will help. Still, a more practical approach would be simply moving openers to new contact lists, which can improve our open rates dramatically.
Whenever you send out an email campaign, move all your openers to your Opener lists. Over time, you’ll have a super-responsive contact list and excellent open rates.
Always include an Unsubscribe link in your emails, and always comply with any requests. You might lose a few subscribers in the short term, but your email sender reputation and sender score will improve in the long run.
Use these tips with your email marketing campaigns, and remember, we’re always here to help, so drop us a line today and see what we can do for you!