Your Email Marketing Reputation Can Hurt You

For investment firms and financial advisors who rely on email marketing to grow their businesses, their digital reputation may be sabotaging their marketing efforts. Yes, if you do any level of email marketing, you develop a reputation. And, that reputation can have a major impact on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. If you have a bad reputation, there’s a strong likelihood your emails won’t make it to the inboxes of your target audience.

How does a sender reputation go bad? While it can be due to any number of tactical errors made as part of an email marketing campaign, the main reason a reputation can go bad is because you don’t even realize you have one. Monitoring your reputation is not unlike monitoring your credit. Failure to do so is likely to result in a lower score over time. That’s because you are not paying attention to the little things that could be affecting your score on a daily basis. And yes, you do have a reputation score. The good news is, if you understand the negative factors that can affect your score, you can maintain it at the highest level possible.

Monitoring and Measuring Your Sender Reputation
The most widely used source for reputation measurement is SenderScore. SenderScore calculates a reputation score from 0 to 100 that measures your email deliverability rate and how mailbox providers view your IP address. The higher your score, the higher percentage of successful email deliveries you are experiencing. A score below 80 means that more than 50 percent of your emails are landing in the spam folder and that percentage increases as your score drops from there. SenderScore also ranks your IP address against other IP addresses. The scoring occurs on a rolling 30-day average.

Factors that Affect Your Reputation Score
Among some of the critical factors used in calculating your score are complaints. The more complaints filed against your IP address, the worse your standing in the eyes of email platforms. A score of 91-100 (the best score you can receive) means you have a low complaint rate of just 0.5 percent. Conversely, a score of 71-80 means your complaint rate is at least 4.0 percent.

Another critical factor is the quality of your mailing list. If your list includes a high percentage of “unknown users” – email addresses that either don’t exist or have been terminated by the mailbox user – you will be perceived as having poor list hygiene practices. Your score is impacted by the number of “hard bounces” returned by mailbox providers. That’s why you need to ensure that your list consists of people who have opted to receive your emails.

I recently spoke to a firm that creates top notch content and uses Constant Contact for their email blasts. Looking at the analytics, I showed them their undeliverable addresses were more than 40 percent of their list. As a result, their SenderScore was just over 80% meaning real prospects with good email addresses won’t receive their email content. For this firm, a lot of work has to be done to address the reputational problems before we can start sending emails.

Proactive Reputation Management
In every aspect of your business, your reputation matters. Knowing how you are perceived is critical to taking the immediate steps necessary to maintaining it. This guide created by Discovery Data offers an essential deliverability checklist to follow along with best practices for maintaining a solid sender reputation: Discovery Data: Email deliverability tips, best practices and regulations.