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     We know that we all carry a reputation of some sort, but did you also know your email does too? Whether good or bad, our reputations define us and can have an impact on our future. The same goes for emails. Should you care about your reputation when it comes to sending emails? The answer is yes, most definitely. Now, you might be asking yourself, “What’s a sender reputation? There’s actually such a thing? Why? How? Huh?” We get it. Hopefully, we can help answer a few of those questions and provide you with a few recommendations on how to gain a better sender reputation.

    Let’s start at the beginning and define what you need to gain a sender reputation. You need to have an ESP. An ESP is defined as an “Email Service Provider”. This encompasses companies such as Yahoo, Google, Outlook, etc. that are responsible for the emails your audience receives.

    Now, what is a sender reputation? A sender reputation is a score that is assigned to an email sender based on email quality, frequency, user interactions, etc. In the end, it determines whether ESPs will deliver the emails to your audience’s inboxes or not. In this digital world, it’s important to you and your business to maintain a high sender score to hit your goals of customer retention, increasing revenue, generating website traffic and building your brand awareness.

    The reason we have sender reputations is not a great one. Thanks to all the “bad” that exists in the digital world such as hackers and spammers, spam filters were created. These spam filter systems are what keep reputation scores on you. Whenever emails go in or out, the spam filtering systems are running very complicated and complex algorithms to figure out whether that email is safe or spam. If your email gets triggered as spam, it impacts your score (therefore your reputation gets worse) and if your reputation continues to go down, your emails will eventually become blocked from reaching their destinations.

    The spam filters are not the only reason your score may decrease. Your interaction with your audience must be positive enough to keep them from reporting you as abusive. I’m sure you’ve all see the “mark as spam” button in your email. When hit, this sends an alert to the spam filter signaling that they think the email is bad and therefore it impacts your reputation as well.

    Open rates also matter. If your audience isn’t opening your emails due to an unrelatable subject lines, pre-headers or they are still being sent emails even though they no longer wish to engage, it can impact your sender reputation. Make sure your list is clean and full of people who want to be there.

    What can you do to improve your sender reputation?

    • Have a clean audience list. This comes down to quality vs. quantity. I know it sounds appealing to have 10k contacts, but if only 4k are engaging with your brand, what’s the point of keeping the other 6k? There is no harm from removing contacts who haven’t opened or engaged with your emails for an extended period of time. It’s only going to help raise your open rates, therefore influencing your sender score in a positive way. PLEASE NOTE: We recommend doing a re-engagement campaign before deciding to remove the unengaged contacts. This will give them one last incentive and chance to engage. If it doesn’t work, then it’s time to say goodbye.
    • Improve your open rates. Along with cleaning out your contacts, be open to testing with your audience. FootSteps Marketing offers A/B testing for subject lines and we try to utilize this process when time allows. Interested in learning more about it? Contact us today!
    • Provide relevant, useful content to your audience. In a world where people’s attention spans are shrinking, you want to get the point of your email across in 8 seconds or less. This means you should keep your emails short, to the point, and most importantly, easy to scan. Use eye-catching graphics and verbiage that is personal and easy to comprehend.
    • Have a “manage your preferences” button. Give your audience a chance to decide what emails they’d like to receive. This way they will want to open the emails when they are sent.

    There are many other additional ways to maintain a good reputation but this is a great start to being on the right track. Just always remember, your reputation matters!