8 Best Practices for Protecting Your Email Reputation

Maintaining a good email reputation is the best way to ensure the deliverability of your messages. Internet service providers (ISPs) are always coming up with new ways to block spam, creating a never ending battle for marketers to reach their intended recipients and protect their company’s sender reputation.

email reputation
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Follow these 8 steps to improve your email deliverability rate and protect your company’s sender reputation:

1. Maintain a healthy list

Emailing bad contacts is one of the fastest ways to get marked as spam, which can easily be avoided by keeping a healthy list. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Update and append your B2B data on a regular basis to fill in the holes, plug the gaps, and refresh records, removing obsolete data and filling it with just-verified email addresses, direct dial phone numbers, correct titles, company information, and more.
  • Mark leads inactive if they haven’t engaged with any emails from your company within a certain amount of time. For example, if someone hasn’t opened an email for 6 months, mark them as inactive.
  • Establish a time for marking leads inactive if they haven’t engaged with any emails from your company (for example, mark leads inactive after a period of 6 months) and move them into a separate list within your CRM.
  • Verify the emails in your B2B database by emailing contacts regularly. Implementing this as a best practice will improve your deliverability rates and minimize bounce-back rates.

Did you know 94% of businesses suspect that their customer and prospect data is inaccurate? Partnering with a B2B data provider, such as ZoomInfo, can help your company maintain a healthy list by keeping your data fresh and up-to-date.


2. Abide by the CAN-SPAM law

Once a recipient expresses that they don’t want to receive emails from you, their request must be honored within 10 business days. As a best practice, we suggest removing the contact and adding them to your “do not email” list as soon as possible to avoid any further communication.

3. Monitor data that impacts your email reputation

Here are some important metrics to pay close attention to. If these numbers get too high, you risk getting blacklisted.

  • Abuse/complaint rates – Complaint rates are measured by how many recipients receive your actual message in their inbox and mark it as spam. Being marked as abuse can happen for a number of reasons, such as the recipient doesn’t find the message relevant or you haven’t emailed them in a long time. Whatever the reason is, focus on keeping the number low to avoid getting blacklisted.
  • Hard bounce rate – Hard bounces are permanent rejections. They occur when emails are sent to invalid email addresses, the domain name no longer exists, or the email address was entered into the database incorrectly. A high bounce rate will hurt your sender reputation significantly.
  • Honeypot/spam trap hits – Honeypots/spam traps are decoys that are setup to catch and monitor spammers. It’s not unusual for a company to use a former employee’s email address as a honeypot. After a few months that email address shouldn’t be receiving messages, so any sent there are deemed spam.

People change jobs, email addresses, and phone numbers frequently and companies go out of business or merge, causing B2B data to decay on a regular basis. ZoomInfo can help your company maintain low complaint and hard bounce-rates and avoid honeypot/spam traps by updating and appending your database.

4. Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe

You may think that hiding the unsubscribe button will reduce opt-outs. While this may be true, it’s not recommended. The harder you make it for someone to unsubscribe from your emails, the more likely it is that your message will be marked as spam.

5. Don’t be misleading

Don’t use misleading subject lines. The subject line must accurately align with the content of your email message.

6. Make HTML and plain text match

All HTML messages should include a matching plain text message. Believe it or not, if they don’t match, your message has a higher chance of being filtered into spam.

7. Engage your recipients, don’t sell

Sure, marketing is all about promoting your products and services. But there are other ways to effectively do this other than a hard sell. Engage your contacts and provide them with valuable and relevant information. If your recipients find your content valuable, they’ll want more of it. Valuable content will also increase your open rate, CTR, and other email metrics, improving deliverability.

8. Set up sender authentication

Sender authentication verifies your identity and allows you to claim responsibility for the emails you send. Setting up sender authentication helps your email reputation because it tells ISPs the IP address responsible for sending the email to the domain. ISPs will monitor the email activity for a given IP, address which is how they determine if a sender is sending spam or not. Learn more about sender policy frameworks (SPFs) here.

What best practices can you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

ZoomInfo can help your company boost the health of your data, maintain a healthy email reputation, and improve deliverability rates. Contact us today for more information!