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Fix email sender reputation in 4 steps

Learn about the importance of email sender reputation for independent businesses and how it impacts your email marketing efforts. Gain insights into how to check, audit, and improve your email sender reputation. 

Your email sender reputation can make or break your transactional email sends and your email marketing efforts.

A poor email sender reputation can lead to a low delivery rate, with your meticulously crafted emails ending up in spam folders rather than your clients’ inboxes. This could mean missed opportunities for building stronger relationships with clients and potentially lost revenue.

Monitoring this reputation involves keeping tabs on several factors, such as domain reputation and IP reputation, understanding what a spam complaint entails, and consistently tracking the performance of each email campaign you run.

Nowadays, with spam complaints on the rise, ensuring you have a solid sender reputation can be the difference between successful client communication and lost opportunities. In this article, we’ll delve into how you can check and boost your email sender reputation to maintain that vital connection with clients. 

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Understanding email sender reputation

An email sender reputation, also known as a sender score, is a measure of the trustworthiness of your email. Think of it like your credit score but for your business’s email marketing efforts. Internet service providers (ISPs) assign this score based on several factors associated with the email you send.

First, ISPs look at your domain reputation. This is tied to the specific website domain you use to send emails. If you’ve been sending high-quality, relevant emails from this domain without raising spam complaints, your domain reputation will be high. Conversely, if numerous recipients have marked your emails as spam or if many of them bounce back due to invalid addresses, that could negatively affect your domain reputation.

ISPs next look at IP reputation. Essentially, this is linked to your computer’s special identification number (much like a house address) when it’s connected to the internet. Although you don’t see this number in every email you send, ISPs watch out for which of these numbers is tied to unwanted or low-quality emails.

Pro tip

Keep an eye on how often users delete your emails without reading them and whether users are engaging with your emails. This is because these other factors also influence your overall email sender reputation, in addition to the above key components.

Fixing your email sender reputation

A solid email sender reputation is not just a nice-to-have, it’s an absolute essential for your business’s success. Below, we’ll break down how to repair and enhance your email sender reputation.

Step 1: Check your email sender reputation

To start fixing your email sender reputation, you first need to check it. Here are some popular tools and steps to do so:

  • Sender Score: Offered by Return Path from Validity, it provides a score ranging from 0–100, with higher scores indicating healthier reputations.
  • BarracudaCentral: Its reputation system assigns a score to IP addresses. Low scores could mean your emails may not reach the inbox.
  • TalosIntelligence: Operated by Cisco, this tool allows you to check the reputation of your domain or IP address.

To check your email sender reputation:

  1. Choose a tool from above or another of your preference.
  2. Enter the domain or IP address used for sending emails.
  3. Review the given score or rating and any additional feedback provided.

Pro tip

Maintaining a healthy email sender reputation is an ongoing process rather than a one-time task. Make it a regular part of your email marketing strategy.

Step 2: Understand the difference between domain and IP reputation

While they are connected, domain and IP reputations assess different aspects of your email-sending practices. Domain reputation focuses on the quality of content you distribute from a specific domain, while IP reputation considers the volume and quality of emails sent from a particular IP address.

As an independent business owner, knowing these differences can help you implement more effective strategies for improving your sender score. For instance, if you find that your domain reputation is low due to spam complaints, but you have a high IP score because you’re not sending large volumes of emails, it’s clear that you need to focus on improving the quality and relevance of your content.

On the other hand, if you have a low IP score due to high bounce rates but maintain valuable content, thus earning a higher domain score, it can indicate that there are issues with recipient addresses or server settings that need immediate attention.

In short: Domain reputation is a marketing issue, while IP reputation is a technical one.

Step 3: Audit your email sender reputation regularly

Performing regular audits of your email sender reputation can help you identify areas for improvement and track your progress over time. Here’s how to conduct an audit:

  1. Check your sender score: Use tools like Sender Score, BarracudaCentral, or TalosIntelligence to check both your domain and IP reputations. Mark the scores and any feedback provided.
  2. Analyze email metrics: Examine bounce rates, open rates, click-through rates (CTR), and unsubscribe rates in your email marketing platform.
  3. Assess content quality: Check if the content you’re sending is relevant, engaging, and offers value to the recipients. High-quality content can reduce spam complaints.
  4. Monitor frequency: If you’re sending too many emails within short periods, it might lead to high unsubscribe rates and spam complaints.
  5. Review recipient feedback: Pay attention to any direct feedback from recipients about your emails.

Each of these steps is connected and plays a role in maintaining your email sender reputation. For instance, regular checks of your sender score provide a numerical baseline for tracking improvements or identifying issues. Analyzing email metrics can give you insights into your audience’s engagement while assessing the content quality ensures you’re providing value to your customers. 

Monitoring the frequency of your emails helps maintain a balance between staying top of mind and overwhelming recipients. Lastly, paying close attention to recipient feedback provides valuable insights from the people who matter most: your clients.

Pro tip

Do not purchase email lists as these can lead to high bounce rates if the addresses are invalid or uninterested in your services. Purchasing email lists is considered a spammy practice. This could harm both your domain and IP reputation.

Step 4: Leverage tools to manage client communication effectively

Tools can revolutionize your client communication and transactional emails, which are critical for maintaining a stellar sender reputation. Using a clientflow management platform to centralize all client-related emails can improve responsiveness and engagement. Additionally, you can manage all transactional emails, those automated messages that confirm transactions and share relevant information with clients.

HoneyBook offers an email authentication checker for independent business owners with a custom email domain through Gmail, making your transactional emails more secure than ever before.

Features like automated responses and personalized messaging based on client actions enhance user experience while safeguarding against being marked as spam. Integrating these tools into your strategy alongside regular sender score audits is instrumental in fostering an exceptional domain and IP reputation.

Communicate with clients from one place with HoneyBook

HoneyBook is a clientflow management platform designed to streamline all aspects of running your business. A major part of that includes managing client communication effectively.

When it comes to emails, HoneyBook shines by consolidating all your client emails and files in one place. It also offers a user-friendly client portal where clients can access their files, appointments, payments, and more. Moreover, HoneyBook’s email automation feature can be a game-changer for maintaining consistency and reducing the risk of spam complaints.

HoneyBook stands out for small business owners who prioritize managing one-on-one client relationships in tandem with an email marketing platform.

By incorporating HoneyBook into your strategy, you’re not only enhancing your day-to-day operations but also actively improving your email sender reputation.

Manage your client communication with HoneyBook

Delight your clients with a better communication experience.

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