Email marketing mistakes impact your domain reputation and brand more significantly than before.
For instance, sending boring content, using too much sales language, neglecting analytics, using incorrect links, and writing poor subject lines are unfortunate errors in email marketing.
As a result, these mistakes can affect your domain reputation and cause your emails to land in the spam folder. Luckily, there are easy steps to improve your domain reputation without breaking the bank.
But before diving in, let’s learn a little about the two types of email reputation and why paying attention to both is crucial.
Two Types of Email or Sender Reputation
1. Domain Reputation
Your domain reputation is factored on your sending domain, not your IP address, when it comes to Internet Service Provider (ISP) filtering decisions. In email marketing, ISP refers to the primary email providers, such as Hotmail, AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.
ISPs use their filtering system to block emails if “spammy” phrases or words are used anywhere in the email. Since domain reputation focuses on your sending domain, your brand takes priority in the ISP filtering decisions.
What affects my domain reputation
Factors like how your domain identifies on the web, the domain age, and whether the domain identifies in the advertising, finance, entertainment, or education industries, can all affect your domain reputation.
You could have hundreds of several domains sending in one IP.
2. IP Reputation
A server or computer sends emails with a unique IP address. Some companies send emails using a shared IP. Meanwhile, multiple companies sometimes use the same IP address when emailing.
As you would expect, IP reputation refers to the IP level variables. Whether you’re using a dedicated IP, shared IP, or a new IP address, all significantly impact your IP reputation.
That’s why email senders with high volume generally prefer to send emails from a dedicated IP address that their organization only uses. Moreover, the ideal thing in email marketing is to send marketing and transactional emails to different IP addresses, regardless of your sending volume.
With a dedicated IP, you have better control over your IP reputation since you’re not affected by the lousy email practices of other senders. Check out our 15 Email Marketing Best Practices guide to ensure email deliverability.
How Domain Reputation Affects Email Deliverability
Email deliverability refers to delivering marketing emails to subscribers’ inboxes. Marketers often send messages to gauge the possibility of their emails landing in their inboxes.
Domain reputation affects email deliverability because it is how ISPs will identify you as a sender. So, when you send an email marketing campaign, ISPs gather valuable data that determines whether you followed proper email-sending practices.
Your ROI will eventually go for a toss if you have a poor domain reputation. That’s because a low domain reputation score means low inbox placement. Additionally, low inbox placement leads to low engagement and fewer sales or conversions.
Therefore, check your email reputation immediately if your customers complain about receiving emails from you or if your emails are landing in the spam folders.
Start With an Email Reputation Check
A person who wants to know the reputation of another asks typically from reliable sources. The same applies to domain reputation – you go to credible sources. Also, one of the best tools to know your domain reputation is the Google Postmaster Tool.
Domain Reputation Check With Google Postmaster Tools
Google Postmaster categorizes reputation into three:
- Green (Excellent reputation). It means a domain has a good track record of low spam rate and follows Gmail’s sender guidelines. Achieving a high reputation level means that emails rarely trigger the spam filter.
- Orange (Medium/fair reputation) – A domain with this reputation level is recognized to send good mail, although it tends to send a low volume of spam periodically. Most emails from an entity with this reputation level will have a fair email deliverability rate yet may experience an increase in spam levels.
- Red (Low reputation) – A domain assigned with a low reputation has a history of sending a high volume of spam. Emails from this domain are almost always marked as spam or rejected at SMTP.
To start using Postmaster Tools, follow these steps:
- Create a Google account or log in if you already have one.
- Log in to the Postmaster Tools account.
Click the “Add” or the red “+” button at the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Type the domain you used in authenticating your email.
For instance, to add InboxAlly to Google Postmaster tools, you may use email.inboxally.com as the authentication domain.
- Click next to verify the domain. Google will then generate a string of text. Copy the generated “txt record.”
If you don’t prefer Postmaster, you can use other tools, like Senderscore and Senderbase, to check your domain reputation. If you were in the Orange or Green zone and noticed a decline, it’s most likely sending practice is the cause.
Each email service provider calculates domain reputation scores their way. Gmail has one domain reputation. Microsoft has a different reputation core. Yahoo has its own.
9 Tips to Improve Domain Reputation
1. Do a Domain Warmup
Doing a domain warmup will be your first and foremost crucial step to improving your domain reputation. This warm-up process involves sending an email from the new domain and gradually increasing the sending volume.
A good strategy would be to send small emails to the most engaged recipients. Once you achieve a high engagement percentage, it quickly builds your domain reputation and allows you to send more messages later, even to the less active list, without penalty.
Skip this tip if you’re not a new sender and just want to fix your damaged sender reputation. Instead of domain warm-up, take a few hours to analyze your data and understand what went wrong.
Did your unsubscribe rate increase? Did you have too many inactive email addresses on your list? Did a lot of your campaigns land in the spam folder? Have you kept your list dormant for a long and begun mass mailing? Did you send emails without proper SPF and DKIM records set?
You may have to slow down your sending for a while until you see improvement in your domain reputation again.
2. Email Authentication Protocols Are Your Friends
Email authentication protocols serve as the executioner and the judge on the highways of Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) relays. They help internet service providers authenticate your domain’s outgoing and incoming email messages.
Even from the recipient’s point of view, email authentication protocols help reduce spam. These email authentication protocols include SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
Statista shares that 45.37% of emails were spam, and the receivers hate it. So, by definition, spam means unwelcome messages. And many consumers would want to prevent their essential inboxes from being filled up with annoying, useless, and irrelevant spam.
By setting up email authentication protocols as the sender, you verify that you exist, segregating spam easier. Your domain administrator or development team can help you set up these email authentication protocols if needed.
If you want to understand better how SPF, DKIM, and DMARC render your domain more trustworthy, read this guide: SPF, DKIM, DMARC explained [Infographic]
3. Reduce Unsubscribe Rates
Unsubscribe rates are never good for the ego.
Your domain reputation will suffer if many followers unsubscribe from your list. That said, use a combination of single and double opt-ins. A single opt-in means your subscriber won’t need to confirm their subscription.
A single opt-in may be the faster way to build a list or is easier for the user, but you could quickly fill your list with insufficient data. As a result, it can damage your domain and the sender’s reputation. It’s also helpful to break your list into categories: the highly segmented, unsegmented, and the segmented.
Still, we encourage you to put an unsubscribe link in your email because it lessens the spam complaints. Unsubscribe requests are still less damaging as spam complaints.
4. Increase Open Rates
When your open rate continually declines, it is an early indicator that you have a low domain reputation. If you want to improve your domain reputation, it makes sense to increase your open rates.
Segmenting your list into a smaller list or including the recipient’s name in the subject line of your email campaign can boost open rates by up to 50%.
Avoiding spam filters can also maximize your campaigns, which leads to a better domain reputation. To keep your emails from landing in the spam folder, send them from a good IP address that others have not used with a history of sending spam.
Timing significantly affects whether your subscribers will open your emails or not. That is why you must carefully determine what day and time you email.
Nail that first impression and boost your email open rate by applying these 3 Key Elements of Irresistible Email Subject Lines.
5. Boost Engagement
Engagement is one of the defining factors of becoming a quality email sender. This quality helps you get more user engagement means more newsletters are opted in by your recipients or send relevant content.
On the other hand, a low email engagement signals to the email service providers that your emails need to be better for your recipients. And as you continue to send emails with low engagement, it’ll hurt your IP and domain reputation.
If you want to improve your email engagement, we recommend you send a welcome email. Such a type of email is more effective than regular emails. Another is to give more attention to your CTAs.
How you design and write your calls to action will significantly impact click-through and email engagement rates. Don’t be afraid to experiment with frequency, placement, design, or email copy to know what kind of buttons and CTAs yield the best result for your target audience.
Don’t also forget the importance of a re-engagement campaign. It is one of your best options if your list suffers from issues, like spam complaints and poor engagement, or if you just want to ensure your email list is full of engaged and active recipients.
A re-engagement campaign lets your audience know that you understand they have not been happening for a while and that you’d love to continue emailing them if they’re interested.
6. Cherry-Pick Who You Send Emails To
If you notice that many of your emails land in the spam folder, it’s best not to go full bore on your subsequent sends.
Instead, your goal should be to choose only a few to whom you send emails. This step lessens the negative signals that email service providers receive. As you slowly get positive subscriber responses, you also improve or rebuild your good reputation.
But if your domain reputation is already good and you just want to improve it, follow the best email marketing practices to protect your email deliverability rate and not cause damage to your domain reputation.
A good strategy is to begin at the source. It means building a list with best practices in mind and compliance with permission. Building a solid opt-in email list has always been one of the best steps toward email marketing success.
7. Offer Genuine Value
Our next step to improve domain reputation is offering genuine value to your subscribers.
Imagine being a subscriber and you receive the email, “Hi there, just checking in!” Do you feel the urgency to respond to it?
That type of email, especially in sales, is effective and selfish. These emails don’t offer value. They’re trying to persuade buyers to purchase or reply to their message.
Remember that you must be strategic if you want communications with your subscribers to move forward. One of the easiest ways to provide value with every email you send is to attach helpful content. You may also offer insights that build your trustworthiness or strengthen your relationship with them.
8. Use an Email Marketing Tool
Improve your domain reputation by using an email deliverability tool or availing the service of a SaaS business. These tools or companies follow certain email marketing practices to help you avoid spam traps and ensure email deliverability.
InboxAlly, for instance, can help any email marketing repair or increase deliverability on any domain or IP on any platform. There’s also an MXtoolbox to help you find out if any ISPs have blocklisted your domain. They execute performance tests, including domain health checks.
Another popular tool for email marketers is Barracuda. Barracuda is a proprietary reputation database that is regularly updated and monitored to ensure the reputation data is updated.
9. Check Feedback Loops
If you’ve made some email marketing mistakes, know that you can’t do a domain reputation reset. However, you can repair that bad domain reputation by checking the feedback loops.
A feedback loop is also called a complaint feedback loop. It enables ISPs to inform the sending company about the spam complaints made by recipients of their newsletters or emails.
Most email providers have a feedback header that offers you data about why your messages did not land in the inbox. Check that header to know your deliverability issues. The reason why your domain reputation is negatively affected is that maybe there’s a technical issue. But the good news about it is that it’s easy to correct.
FAQs About Domain Reputation
How long does it take to improve or rehabilitate the domain’s reputation?
Improving or rehabilitating a domain’s reputation doesn’t happen overnight. Reputation resets can take a couple of weeks or months, depending on the severity of the email deliverability issues and the changes you made to your email marketing practices.
How long it takes to improve your domain reputation depends on your sending history and negative metrics (low engagement, spam complaints, hard bounces, and spam trap hits). But a reasonable timeline is 30- 45 days.
Does domain name affect deliverability?
Yes, the domain name you choose can affect your marketing emails. It doesn’t mean the effects are catastrophic. An example is when you choose a sub-domain or domain flagged as spam-heavy. So, choose your domain name wisely.
It is also important to use consistent domains in your marketing emails. The goal is to protect or improve the engagement and reputation of the from/reply-to domain.
How can I maintain a positive domain reputation?
Given all the factors that affect domain reputation, here are ways to maintain a positive domain reputation:
- Be attentive to your recipients’ behavior
- Monitor your inbox placement and domain reputation
- Keep your data clean
Increase Your Email Reach Today!
Improving your domain reputation is more than a vanity project. It’s a game-changer in email marketing.
When you have a good domain reputation, you help improve your business or brand’s perceived reputation, and it will legitimize your brand. By following the tips above, you can avoid being reported as spam and ensure a good domain reputation. The process may take a while but it will lead to better email delivery.
Learn how to repair a damaged sender domain the easy way with InboxAlly and see results within 1-2 weeks.