Your value-packed email sequence with a witty subject line, personalized comment, and well planned follow-ups are no use if your email never reaches your prospect’s inbox. Deliverability should be your top concern for email reputation. Everything else can be tested, improved, and optimized along the way.
Think of email reputation like your credit score. Based on your previous financial activities, you’re assigned a score that determines the probability of getting a loan in the future. Likewise, email reputation considers your email practices to assign a sender score and decide where to deliver your emails. It plays an important role in keeping your emails out of spam folders and ensuring high deliverability.
In this article, we discuss how you can set up your email address, build email lists, and plan your cold email campaign to maintain your email reputation.
11 Best Practices To Establish a Good Email Reputation
To maintain a good reputation, you need to comply with various standards and follow best practices to distinguish yourself from spammers.
1. Make sure your IP is not blacklisted
If you are using a shared IP address to send and receive emails, there’s a chance that you’re sharing it with spammers. As a result, your IP address might be blacklisted, which leads to low deliverability. You can quickly check if your IP or domain host is blacklisted using a free tool like MX Toolbox. If you are using GSuite, you can use Google Postmaster Tools to analyze email delivery rates, spam complaint rates, and feedback loop.
2. Authenticate Your Email
Email authentication is a set of protocols used to prove to an email service provider (ESP) that a sender is who they say they are. ESPs were developed to combat fraud and email sender impersonation by cybercriminals. Over time, email authentication has become essential for protecting your email reputation score and ensuring email deliverability — especially when sending large volumes of email.
Two key elements of email authentication are Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC). These are not configured by default, so make sure to add them to your DNS records before starting an email program.
3. Use a Secondary Domain for Cold Outreach
Even if you take all the precautions, sending regular unsolicited emails can still blacklist your email address. In such cases, you don’t want to affect deliverability on your primary domain email addresses. The trick here is to create a new domain that you will use exclusively for sending cold emails. For example, if your domain name is quickmail.com, you can buy an additional domain named quickmail.io. Don’t forget to redirect visitors to your main website.
4. Use a Paid Email Service Provider
Custom business emails are more trustworthy than free emails like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. Also, free emails have limited sending capacity and no customer support from mailbox providers. So if you run into problems like getting your account blocked, it’s a dead end.
5. Warm-Up Your Email Address
When you create a new email address, it has a neutral email reputation. So, if you send large email volumes right off the bat, it wouldn’t take much time for your email reputation to decline. Wait for at least a few weeks before starting a cold email marketing campaign. You can use this time to warm up your email address.
The first step in the warm-up process is to set up your profile by uploading a profile photo and adding a signature. Next, sign up for random newsletters to start receiving emails. Over the next 2-3 weeks, send emails to your family and colleagues and ask them to reply to your emails. By getting your email opened and replied to, you are sending a message to the spam filters that you are a real person who wants to use this email address for legitimate purposes.
When you finally start your campaign, send emails in small batches to verified email addresses and prospects that are more likely to engage with your email.
6. Clean Your Email List
Your email list should not contain invalid email addresses. Sending emails to invalid email addresses leads to bounces. The higher the bounce rate is, the higher the chances of spam filters lowering your email sender reputation. You can use tools like NeverBounce or BriteVerify to segregate the email addresses as valid, invalid, accept all, and unknown. QuickMail enables you to verify and clean your email list without leaving the platform through a BriteVerify integration.
7. Don’t Buy Email Lists
Most bulk email lists are filled with abandoned email addresses, outdated leads, and spam traps. Spam traps are email addresses that internet service providers (ISPs) and blocklist groups create and place on web pages that are easy to scrape for a bot but not for a human. Sending emails to spam traps is one of the easiest ways to ruin your email sending reputation.
Besides, many other businesses are also likely to buy the email list from the same source. It means your prospects might already be receiving tons of unsolicited marketing and sales emails, making it harder for you to get decent open and reply rates.
8. Don’t Add Role-Based Email Addresses To Your List
You can recognize role-based email addresses from usernames like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com. Unless it’s a very small business where the owner is likely to manage all company emails, avoid reaching out to role-based email addresses for two reasons:
- Generic email addresses are usually managed by gatekeepers or employees who might not be the decision-maker. If you don’t reach the decision-maker, there’s a low chance of getting a positive reply.
- Role-based email addresses are the most publicly listed email addresses of a company. Your email will likely get lost in the sea of other emails.
Service providers now use positive feedback along with negative feedback to calculate email reputation. When your reply and open rates drop, it affects deliverability in the long run.
9. Use the Right Automation Tool
The right automation tools are good at impersonating humans. They can not only analyze, track, and test cold email campaigns but also send emails at a human-ly rate that doesn’t trigger spam filters. Automation tools like QuickMail monitor bounces and remove email addresses from the campaign if they hard bounce.
10. Don’t Spike Email Volume
Reputational systems use statistical models to identify unusual volume patterns, so avoid any sudden increase in the sending volume or frequency. If you need to dramatically increase your email volume, gradually move towards the new rates. During the ramp-up phase, keep an eye on deliverability rates. If it drops and you continue to increase volume, it might harm your domain reputation.
11. Avoid Getting Spam-Reported by Your Recipients
Even if you have all the technicalities sorted, your email and domain reputation can still take a hit if your recipients report your email as spam. It’s essential to understand why prospects report spam and how you can avoid it.
Some salespeople and email marketers still believe in pushing. Sending emails to prospects who have unsubscribed or don’t want to receive your emails is both illegal and unethical. Also, it’s almost certain they will mark your email as spam if you continue emailing uninterested prospects. You might not include an unsubscribe link in a cold email, but it’s a good practice to let the recipients know if they don’t want to receive further emails from you.
Don’t Follow up Too Often
Imagine getting an unsolicited sales email. Now imagine getting it from the same sender three times a week. It’s annoying. And when you’re annoyed, you’ll likely find it more appealing to report the email as spam rather than making the effort to reply “not interested.”
Offer Value Instead of Selling
When you offer value as part of your email content in the form of a free audit, consultation call, or a free trial of your product, you appear as if you are helping your prospective customers. Even if they know you’re trying to pitch your service, people are not often mean to someone trying to help them. A value-centric cold email would receive fewer spam complaints than a sales-centric email.
The best way to maintain an excellent email, domain, and IP reputation is by minimizing spam rates. And the best way to minimize spam rates is to … well, not be spammy.
It appears simple, yet so many people forget this while running cold email campaigns. If you research your prospects well, personalize your emails, send to a curated list, and respect opt-outs, you’ll have your email reputation sorted.Email automationEmail marketingspam