8 Best Practices to Protect Your Email Reputation

email reputationYou spend weeks developing your latest email campaign only to receive terrible results. Your bounce rate was astronomical and barely anyone engaged with the campaign. This is a marketer’s worst nightmare. The likely culprit? A bad email reputation.

The best way to ensure the deliverability of your emails is to maintain a healthy email reputation. Internet service providers (ISPs) constantly come up with new ways to block spam- creating a never ending battle for marketers who just want reach their intended audience and protect their company’s sender reputation.

If you’ve found yourself struggling to maintain a good email reputation, this post is for you. Keep reading.

8 Steps to Improve Your Email Deliverability Rate 

1. Maintain a healthy email list

Emailing bad contacts is one of the fastest ways to get marked as spam, which can easily be avoided by keeping your email list healthy. 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.

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 the metrics that impact your email reputation

Here are some important metrics to pay close attention to. If these numbers get too high, you risk getting blacklisted.  Should you be blacklisted, your email marketing program will take a huge hit. Consider this: IP addresses appearing on just one of the 12 major blacklists had email deliverability 25 points below those not listed on any blacklists (source).

  • 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. These include recipients who don’t find the message relevant or recipients you haven’t emailed 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 go to invalid email addresses, the domain name no longer exists, or the email address is incorrect. 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 should no longer receive messages. And, if this address continues to receive emails, those  messages will subsequently be flagged as spam.

4. Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe

You may think that hiding the unsubscribe button will reduce opt-outs. However, we do not reccommend that you do so.  The harder it is to unsubscribe from your emails, the spammier your message comes across.

5. Don’t be misleading

Don’t use misleading subject lines. The subject line must accurately align with the content of your email message. And, it’s important to pay close attention (source):

  • 69% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line
  • 35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone

6. Make sure your HTML and plain text match

All HTML messages should include a matching plain text message. Believe it or not, if they don’t match, email providers are more likely to mark your messages as spam.

7. Be engaging.

Sure, marketing is all about promoting your products and services, but there are other ways to do this effectively that aren’t necessarily 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 valuable email metrics, thus improving your 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. Here’s how:

  • First, a business or company who sends emails will establish a set of authentication rules.
  • Then, that company must configure its mail servers to put these rules into practice.
  • Next, any mail server that receives email from that company will check the email details against the set of rules defined by the sender or domain owner.
  • The recipient’s mail server will then use this results to determine whether it should flag, deliver, or even reject the email.

Key Takeaways

Although it can be difficult to manage your email reputation, marketers should still make their email reputation a priority. Even as countless publications claim email is dead, the channel continues to deliver excellent results. Consider these statistics:

  • 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation (source).
  • According to 80 percent of professionals, email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention (source).
  • 60 percent of consumers say that email marketing influences them to make a purchase (source).

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

For more information about purchasing targeted email addresses or connecting with your best buyers, contact our sales team today. Our B2B contact database has the information you need to succeed in marketing.