Email Marketing:  Deliverability and Reputation

Having a conversation about email deliverability tends to involve loaded words like ROI, complaints, reputation and engagement. But what does it really mean?  So far we’ve looked at tactics for ensuring deliverability and how to reduce complaints.

If you take classes, attend webinars or read articles about email marketing you’ll probably hear sender reputation talked about from time to time.  As a general concept it probably makes plenty of sense - reputation means a lot in business and personal life.  But what does it mean in terms of email marketing, specifically?

A good reputation in the email marketing world means that you have been found to be an upstanding sender whose communications meet the criteria upheld by IPs and spam-catcher services.  While the service provider is the one looked at as having the reputation, the work involved in maintaining a good reputation is split evenly between you, the marketer, and the email marketing service provider that you use.

You already know most of your job because we’ve been talking about them in the Email Marketing: Deliverability blogs. Send to a clean email list, use a double-opt-in for sign-ups, grow your list organically, never purchase an email list for marketing purposes, ask users to add you as a “safe sender,” and so on.  One more item that I want to discuss with you is this:  spam traps.  Spam traps are old inactive email addresses that IP’s use to catch spammers.  If you’re getting rid of nonresponsive email addresses as a part of keeping a clean list, you are good to go. This has to include formerly active email addresses; many people simply abandon email addresses rather than delete them, so being firm on this is important.

The technical legwork falls to the email marketing provider who handles all of your sending.  Jobs like watching black-lists, monitoring the reputation of the IP address, viewing bounce logs and taking action to ensure a good reputation end up on their to-do list. All the black-list monitoring and relationship-building with email clients in the world can’t overcome poor marketing practices, so it’s a mutual effort towards the inbox that makes email marketing function at its best.