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Five essential tactics to restore your email sender reputation

Five essential tactics to restore your email sender reputation
Five essential tactics to restore your email sender reputation

Is there any marketer out there who hasn't at least considered using email for their campaigns? It seems like email marketing is on everyone lips nowadays, and given its potential, that's no surprise. However, many business owners who've grown a list aren't fully aware of some of the technical aspects of emailing. If your emails are failing to reach the inbox, that may be because of your sender reputation. How can you restore it to make sure your messages reach the people in your list?

What is your sender reputation

In case you're fairly new to email marketing, let's start by understanding what your sender reputation is. As you may have guessed, it's how you're perceived, as a sender, by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

In a nutshell: if you follow email marketing best practices, you have a great chance of building a solid sender reputation. If you break the rules and use a messy list or send out irrelevant and spammy content, chances are ISPs aren't going to take you seriously and support you. Actually, they're going to penalize you:

  • by delivering your emails to people's spam folder
  • by not delivering them at all.

Your email sender reputation is just like your reputation as a human or a professional. It can either open doors for you and help you easily overcome important obstacles. Or, it can affect you in ways of which you sometimes aren't even aware.

Restoring your sender reputation: where to start

If you looked at some of your reports and your bounce and open rates are worrying you, it's time to take some simple measures to improve your reputation. These are things any marketer or business owner can do as they don't require too much effort.

Let's see what the best five ways are to regain the confidence and support of ISPs!

Restoring your sender reputation: where to start
Restoring your sender reputation: where to start

Clean your list by using an email verifier

One of the first aspects your sender reputation is connected to is the quality of your email list. If you acquired your database from somebody else, or you haven't cleaned it in a while, using an email verifier is the first step you want to take.

An email verifier is an easy-to-use system that eliminates all the bad email addresses in your list - the ones that cause your bounce rate to spin out of control. Invalid, catch-all, temporary or role based email addresses are all harmful to your reputation and it's best to get rid of them.

Remove abuse emails from your list

Abuse emails are addresses that belong to known email complainers. People who have a history of labeling emails as spam are likely to keep marking them as spam. That only tells ISPs that you're an unlawful sender, so they will deliver your emails in the spam folder. Why risk that?

Take a look at your statistics and reports: how many spam complains do you get, on average? If you can manually remove those users from your database, do it without regret.

But some users may not show up as complainers in your reports. You have no way of anticipating their behavior, so you run a constant risk of being marked as a spammer. This is where a good email verifier can help you, again. A more advanced system can save you the trouble and detect such email addresses right away.

Remove abuse emails from your list
Remove abuse emails from your list

Personalize your content

Another thing that determines your sender reputation is the engagement your emails get. Check your open and click-through rates: are they anything to brag about? Would you like them to be higher? So would ISPs! The more your subscribers interact with your emails, the more your reputation goes up.

So do everything in your power to increase your open rates. Send high-quality content that people enjoy reading.

Personalization is a massive email marketing trend right now. It's the most efficient tactic to improve your click-through rates and develop a stronger bond with your audience. Start with basic steps like segmentation or adding people's names in the subject line. Then, find methods that give you a more in-depth insight into who they are, what they need, and what they like the most.

Pay attention to your sending behavior

Some businesses treat email marketing like a hobby: they send out an email this week and wait a month until they email again. Then they decide to send another email after a few days. This erratic behavior is not a good way to maintain - much less restore - a sender reputation.

Run some tests until you find out what your best day and time is: when do you see the highest engagement? Then stick to that day and time and keep a consistent rhythm.

If some people opted-in on a certain email sequence, make sure they receive your communication on the day and time it's supposed to go out. The more disciplined you are when it comes to sending your emails, the more your reputation will improve.

Pay attention to your sending behavior
Pay attention to your sending behavior

Don't be afraid to implement the double opt-in

This is a standard email marketing practice and it's super-easy to implement. Your Email Service Provider should offer you the option of asking your new subscribers to confirm they want to be on your list. Once somebody enters their email address in the signup form, they will be required to go into their inbox and click the confirmation link.

Some marketers avoid the double opt-in, as they believe it discourages subscriptions and doesn't allow them to grow their email list as fast as they would like. Don't be afraid to add it to your email marketing, as a measure of precaution against bad signups.

Remember, when it comes to your sender reputation, the quality of your list weighs more than anything. It's easier to keep up with your email hygiene when people confirm they want to join your community. Plus, if they're willing to go through this two-step process, it means they are more likely to click and engage with your content.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that using the double opt-in won't be enough to keep unwanted signups away. There are sophisticated bots out there that can click your confirmation link. So, instead of getting a legitimate lead, you're only adding a fake email address to your mailing list.

The solution is to install an email verification API on your signup forms, to validate emails in real time. Knowing that you're collecting genuine and valuable email addresses will give you peace of mind.


A good email sender reputation starts with following email marketing best practices. Take great care of your email list, put your heart into creating fantastic content, be consistent, and you should be able to build your reputation and get your emails in the inbox.

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About the author

Corina Leslie Corina Leslie
A former journalist, Corina Leslie is the PR & Marketing Manager for email verifier ZeroBounce. She is passionate about communication and helping others email successfully. You can find her on the ZeroBounce blog, where she shares her best tips on digital marketing, copywriting, PR and everything in between.
MarbleHost has been providing reliable web hosting services SINCE 2005.