Do You Know YOUR Email Sender Score? (You Should.)


A new trend you should know about is an increase in the importance of engagement metrics.
This is good news for customers. Bad news for spammers.

Email marketers who simply play the Numbers Game by harvesting email addresses and sending content to folks who haven’t asked to hear from them will start to see less screen time, as more of their spam messages get filtered before reaching an inbox.

This shift to engagement is an effort by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to reduce false positives: messages that are inaccurately blocked or sent to your Spam or Junk folder. With engagement metrics, your company’s email reputation is scored based on things like:

  • Whether your messages were read, then deleted OR deleted without ever being read
  • Whether your messages were replied to
  • The number of abuse (spam) complaints
  • The frequency of receiving/reading a message from a source
  • The number of hard bounces
  • …among other factors.

These days, our inboxes are cluttered with messages from nefarious — and even some legitimate — email marketers that cling to “spray and pray” broadcast email practices. ISPs are now trying to help users separate legitimate messages from the wave of unsolicited emails being sent by spammers.

Email intelligence companies like Return Path monitor the engagement data that ISPs use to determine your message’s inbox placement. They use data from monitoring over 60 million mailboxes to create a Sender Score, on a scale of 0 to 100 (100 being the highest possible score).

A Sender Score is very much like a credit score for email marketers
that establishes your reputation as a legitimate and trustworthy sender (or not)
and affects whether your messages get placed in email inboxes in the future.

Email Sender Score - Cultivate Communications, Brookfield, Wisconsin 53005, USAThings like spam complaints and hard bounces get logged against your IP address and can have a negative impact on your Sender Score. The more spam complaints and hard bounces associated with your sending IP address, the worse your deliverability gets.

Unknowingly emailing spamtraps and not regularly monitoring your hard bounces are two surefire ways to get blacklisted and make your Sender Score take a nosedive. Check to see if your sending IP address is registered on any blacklists, and take steps to rectify the situation immediately if you find yourself on one.

Here’s a few more tips to improve your Sender Score:

  • Start sending small batches of emails to list members who are very engaged to “warm up” a new IP address — An IP address with no sending history attached to it is likely to receive deliverability penalties.
  • Build scheduled, predictable, monthly emails into your content development calendar — This will help avoid deliverability penalties that can affect your Sender Score. Inconsistent volume and frequency of email messages can affect your deliverability.

Generating content that fosters an engaged email following can be challenging. But with today’s cluttered inboxes, it’s an absolute MUST if you hope to stay connected with your audience. Effective marketing is an investment, and the smart money is on content strategy.

Your content strategy has to create value for your readers,
or you’re not only damaging your brand,
but you’re putting your entire email infrastructure at risk.

If creating engaging email marketing messages is an area your business struggles with, let the content engineers at Cultivate Communications work with you to develop an effective strategy to improve your Sender Score AND your digital marketing ROI. We’re just a call (414-727-2440) or a click away.

Got a question about the logistics of email marketing?  Feel free to leave a question for me in the Comments below.
Mike Kissel

See all articles by Mike Kissel

Image Credit: Thank you to Michael Hicks (Spam Mobile) and Freeze Light (Spam Wall) for sharing their photos under Creative Commons via Flickr.