What is email sender reputation?

What is an email sender reputation and what affects email sender reputation?


For those of you that read my Blog Post on 'How an email enters a business inbox' I mention the phrase Sender Reputation. Some of the feedback I have received has directly asked what this sender reputation is and so I thought I would address it head on with a mini blog post:


A sender reputation is the reputation that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mailbox providers give to your sending domain (e.g., @company.com) through analysis of many email related data sets.



What makes up a sender reputation?

First and foremost it relates to the IP address of the mail server that you are using to send an email from. The sender score can rate from 0 – 100 (with 100 being the best). A sender score indicates to ISPs and mail box providers your trustworthiness – i.e. that you are not a spammer. A sender score is made up from analysis of the following (but not exclusive) email aspects from your IP address:





  • Email volume



  • Complaint rates



  • Spam trap hits



  • Unknown user rates



  • Blacklist listings



  • Filtering rates



  • Bounce rates





Buying email lists with potential spam traps and sending regularly to known undeliverables will negatively affect your sender score and thus the likelihood on inbox penetration.


Secondly sender reputation can also be made up of a combination of the following (but not exclusive to) email aspects that relate directly to the email marketing campaigns that you send:





  • Recipient interactions – clicks, views, replies, forwards



  • Recipient Opt outs



  • Recipient abuse rates





The above statistics relate to how relevant messages are to your recipients. The less they interact the worse your overall sender reputation will be and vice versa.

With this new found background knowledge how can we try to maintain and improve our sender reputation?

I will give 3 quick tips:


1)      Contact list maintenance. Do not re-send to bounced recipients and make sure that unengaged recipients (no views or clicks in 6 months, for example) are also removed from your email list. These contacts will drag your reputation down.


2)      Do not buy email lists from a vendor or 3rd party. All recipients should have specifically opted in to YOUR communications through some form of sign-up and you will also run the risk of being caught in spam traps. Create your own data lists and you are less likely to go wrong.


3)      Make your emails click-able – drive people back to your website or a landing page BUT make sure people regularly interact with your email campaigns.