Whether you know it or not, ISPs constantly check your reputation as a commercial email sender and filter or block messages accordingly.
Given the important role that sender reputation plays in getting your email delivered, you need to take an active role in ensuring that your practices don’t prevent your messages from reaching the inbox – or being blocked entirely.
Strategy 1: Maintaining a Clean List. List hygiene is one of the most important practices that you can engage in – both from a reputation and results standpoint. Sending to bad addresses not only skews your response rates, it is a core metric that ISPs use to determine your sender reputation.
You need to make sure you address Bounce Management – primary mechanism for tracking and responding to failure codes, list hygiene – bad domains, all distribution accounts and inactive addresses should be removed regularly, Feedback Loops – important to set these up with ISPs and other receivers, to enable you to stop sending messages to customers who have indicated they don’t want to receive communications from you.
Strategy 2: Adopt Email Authentication. The act of ISPs authenticating your email enables receiving domains, reputation service providers and other related entities to establish your identity and associate a reputation with it.
Unauthenticated emails are often assigned negative points by spam filters, leading to your mail getting sent to the junk folder. Email authentication is a relatively easy and straightforward process to implement, with the right technology provider.
Strategy 3: Reduce Complaint Rates. Your complaint rate is one of the most important metrics used by receiving domains to assess your sender reputation.
Developing and implementing a strategy to keep customers from hitting the “this is spam” button will not only positively affect your reputation, it will help you improve response rates and customer satisfaction.
Strategy 4: Monitor your sender reputation on a continuous basis.
The following are some resources and recommendations for properly assessing your sender reputation:
Blacklists/Blocklists - Make a point of checking these on a regular basis
SenderScore.org - A valuable resource for evaluating your sender reputation. By creating a user account, you can enter your domain/IP address and receive a score based on many of the factors previously discussed.
SNDS - Microsoft offers a valuable tool for verifying the status of your sender reputation. You can sign up or find out more information on its official website.
Key Performance Indicators - you need to track your key performance indicators, which include complaints, unsubscribes and inbox delivery rates.
Strategy 5: Avoid alliances with disreputable partners. Before you enter into a relationship with a marketing partner, you should assess their sender reputation in the same manner that you do for your own IPs and sending domains.
A partner’s bad sending reputation can have a lasting negative effect on your programs.
Strategy 6: Verify Setup of Commercial Email Server. Make sure your email is being delivered by a commercial email server that is set up properly to ensure that it will be recognized correctly by receiving domains.
If you are sending your email through an outsourced provider, you will want to confirm their settings as well. When verifying the setup of your commercial email server, you should also consider assigning separate IPs to your promotional and service-based mail streams.
By isolating your promotional email streams from your transactional email, you can better protect the reputation of this business-critical communication channel with your customers.
Companies that manage their email in-house with a commercial-grade server for email delivery, integration and campaign management also have the added benefits of real-time reporting, direct integration with customer databases and superior data security by keeping their data behind their firewall.
Strategy 7: Ramp Up New IP Addresses Slowly. Whenever you introduce new IP addresses, you need to start sending mail slowly to build a positive reputation with the ISPs. Begin by sending to smaller segments of your list and test to make sure those emails are getting delivered.
Be sure to start with your most active customers to help reduce complaint rates. As you continue to see optimal delivery, you can gradually increase the percentage of your list until you get into full production.
Once you’ve established a positive sender reputation, you need to take ownership of this valuable asset to ensure its continued effectiveness over the long-term. Outsourcing to an email service provider can introduce challenges to maintaining your email reputation.
Unless you pay extra for permanent IPs, you will be sharing your reputation with an ESP’s least reputable client, and moving to another provider means building your reputation again from scratch.
To learn how to be a CRM expert, contact The Knowledge Engineers for world-class CRM training.
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