Every business sends out emails to its customers. Transactional emails like OTP emails, verification emails, order placed emails or password reset emails are the most important of them all. If your transactional emails are not reaching the intended recipients, your email sender reputation may be the cause. In this article, we'll discuss what an email reputation is and how you can improve it.
What is an email sender reputation?
An email sender reputation, which is a combination of the IP reputation score and the domain reputation score, is a score that is determined by an internet service provider (ISP) for any organization that sends email. Using this score, mailbox providers will decide whether any email sent by a company, business, or organization will be delivered to the recipient’s inbox or junk/spam folder. Simply put, this score is the equivalent of an online reputation that ensures your emails are delivered to their intended destination.
The importance of a positive email sender reputation
Anyone who has sent out transactional emails knows that there are numerous elements that need attention for good email delivery. Transactional emails by themselves are legitimate emails but there are also technical aspects to consider, such as the email sender reputation.
So why is this reputation so important? Primarily it’s to stop your emails from being flagged as spam or junk, meaning they might be completely ignored or not delivered to recipients' inboxes.
Transactional emails carry important information that your customers are waiting for, and not delivering these emails instantly can significantly impact your brand image and user experience. Hence, it is important that you address the factors that impact the email sender reputation score. Ignoring these factors will not only significantly impact your return on investment, but you will also increase your workload and stress levels.
Factors that can affect the email sender reputation
Now that we’ve determined what an email sender reputation is and its importance when it comes to successfully delivering your emails into your recipients' inbox, let’s take a look at four factors that can affect your IP score.
- Send volume
- Send frequency
- User interaction, complaints, and unsubscribes
- Bounce rates and undeliverable emails
These factors can relate to a number of issues; however, you will be happy to know that many of them are easily fixable. There are tasks you can complete both manually and using software to help improve your score, which takes us on to the next section.
How to improve your email sender reputation?
Next, we're going to walk you through the steps you'll need to take to improve your email sender reputation, from domain authentication to crafting a professional email address. Following these simple steps can help to make sure you never keep your customers waiting for their important transactional emails.
1. Authenticate your Domain (SPF, DKIM, DMARC)
One of the main reasons your emails might not end up in your recipients' inboxes is because of the incorrect configuration of SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records. This requires a little technical know-how to fix, but we will talk you through the basics here.
What are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records?
These records are email authentication methods that confirm to an ISP and mail providers that a sender is authorized to send an email from a specific domain. They act as a form of verification on your email sending server.
- SPF stands for Sender Policy Framework.
- DKIM stands for DomainKeys Identified Mail.
- DMARC stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance.
How to authenticate your domain?
Setting up your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records requires you to follow a set of instructions in the correct order, as follows:
- Set up the SPF for your domain.
- Set up the DKIM for your domain.
- Set up a mailbox to receive reports.
- Obtain login credentials for your domain hosting.
- Check for an existing DMARC record.
- Change the DMARC policy.
2. Separate your email campaigns
To help improve your email deliverability, you should always separate your emails across different providers. Whether they're marketing emails, transactional emails, or business emails, they should be delivered separately and only to the relevant recipients.
Zoho Campaigns can assist you in creating beautiful, responsive emails with customized messaging, and it provides a toolkit to help with things like segmentation and separate campaigns.
Transactional emails can be delivered using ZeptoMail, further improving the happiness of your customer base by making sure they don't have to wait for things like password reset emails or one-time passwords (OTP).
Send emails to valid email recipients (no spamming)
Because of modern compliance regulations, your company needs to pay attention to the recipient addresses of your email. This means practicing good digital citizenship and ensuring that all recipients on the list are valid and you have followed all compliance guidelines.
The simplest way to make sure your recipients are valid is by using a double opt-in system. This requires a recipient to confirm twice that they want to receive emails from you. This can be achieved by an initial email being sent to the recipient with a button to click through to your website. Once the recipient is redirected, the webpage will double-check whether they want to receive your emails, via a submission form or checkbox.
In case you are also sending out marketing emails, here are a few more tips in addition to segregating your marketing and transactional emails:
Maintain a clean email list
Always maintain a clean email list that follows all regulations. To do this, you should follow the guidelines below.
- Monitor bounce and spam rates
- Enable double opt-in
- Conduct regular housekeeping on your mailing list using features like Suppression list.
- Use a reputable email service provider (ESP). Zoho Mail offers a secure, encrypted, privacy-guaranteed, and ad-free email service that's professionally designed to host business email
4. Avoid spam-like subject lines
The subject line can also impact a user's initial impression. Improving the technical aspects of your email sender reputation counts for nothing if the content in your emails doesn't encourage the recipient to open them. To avoid this, you need to understand how to write an email effectively and when to send it. With legitimate transactional emails, shooting straight is the best strategy. Along with users, spam filters also have an eye for spam-sounding titles. Avoid using all caps or catchphrases like, "Guess what we have in store for you!" You can always have fun with the subject lines, but be sure to keep them short and relevant.
An email sender reputation is a score generated by ISPs, which is then used by mailbox providers to determine whether an email is being sent by a trustworthy source. If an organization’s reputation is low, then it's likely that the email will be sent to the recipient’s spam/junk folder instead of their inbox.
An organization’s sender reputation can be improved by following the simple guidelines outlined in this article, adhering to compliance regulations, and ensuring mailboxes are fully authenticated.
About the author:
Gary Stevens is the CTO of Hosting Canada, a website that provides expert reviews on hosting services and helps readers build online businesses and blogs.