Domain Reputation: How to Improve and Maintain It
Domain Reputation Definition
A domain reputation (also known as a sender reputation or an email reputation) is a score assigned to domains by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to evaluate the safety of a message before pushing it through to the recipient. Domain reputation is one of the multiple factors ISPs and spam filters look at when considering whether an incoming email is secure.
If a domain has a positive reputation, it’s more likely that an ISP will let an email from that domain through. However, the message will likely be directed to the recipient’s spam folder if the reputation is less than ideal.
A positive domain reputation makes your email marketing campaigns more effective because when ISPs trust you as a sender, your messages will go to your recipients’ inboxes. Messages in inboxes mean more eyes on your emails. Additionally, a good reputation decreases your bounce rate because spam filters and ISPs recognize you as a safe sender.
As a marketing team, it’s essential to maintain a high domain reputation because a tarnished reputation could land your domain on a blocklist. If your domain is placed on a blocklist, your email marketing campaign will have to be put on hold while you get your domain removed from the list and repair your reputation.
How to Check Your Domain Reputation
There are a multitude of free online tools you can use to view your IP reputation. Each reputation analyst gives more weight to certain factors that make up domain reputation, so it’s not a bad idea to check multiple sources. Some of the best tools for checking your IP reputation include:
- Google Postmaster Tools
- Validity’s Sender Score
- Cisco’s Talos Intelligence
- BrightCloud’s Threat Intelligence
- MX Toolbox
Knowing where your current reputation stands is essential, but it’s just as critical to frequently check your domain reputation to ensure you stay in good standing. Growing complacent about your domain reputation may cause you to miss something that could have been avoided.
How to Maintain Your Domain Reputation
If you already have a positive domain reputation, you’re on the right track! Keep doing what you’re doing to continue operating as an ethical email sender.
For additional guidance, we’ve compiled a list of best practices to help you keep your reputation as high as possible.
- Maintain Your Email List: Just because you add someone to your subscriber list doesn’t mean that they’ll continue to use that email as long as you send messages. People abandon emails all the time, so it’s essential to verify that the addresses you’re sending emails to are still in use. The first time you get a hard bounce or a spam complaint from an address, remove it from your list
- Use Double Opt-In or Confirmed Opt-In: Replace your single opt-in method with a double opt-in or confirmed opt-in. Single opt-ins often lead to people not realizing that they signed up for your email lists, so confirmed opt-ins allow your recipients to tell their ISP that they want your content. At the same time, it gives them the chance to verify that their email was entered correctly.
- Monitor Your Deliverability Rate: Monitoring your deliverability rate can help you maintain a high reputation by avoiding future email bounces. But keep in mind that deliverability generally only refers to whether your email made it to the recipient. Deliverability doesn’t distinguish whether the message went to the customer’s inbox or spam folder.
- Send Phenomenal Emails: The ultimate goal of any email campaign is to have your recipients read your message and click through to your website. The more engagement you get with the emails you send, the better your reputation will be.
- Avoid Spammy Words and Content: Before you send out your emails, you may want to run the copy through a spam checker to see if ISPs will think your message is from a spammer. If you don’t want to use a tool, be sure to proofread your copy for any typos and be wary of your word choice to make sure it sounds like a human (not a robot) wrote the message.
- Warm Up Your Inbox: Give ISPs the chance to recognize that you’re a safe sender by slowly increasing the number of emails you send in a day before you start sending out bulk emails. The process takes about four to six weeks, and we can help you with the warming process.
How to Improve Your Domain Reputation
You can improve your domain reputation with a bit of time and effort. In addition to the habits discussed in the previous section, you may want to consider the following practices:
- Pause Your Cold Email Campaign: Sending cold emails can have many benefits for gaining new leads. However, if your reputation isn’t in good standing, ISPs will be hesitant to allow your messages through to recipients who didn’t subscribe to your content. Once your reputation is back in good standing and your inbox is warm, you can strategize a cold email marketing campaign
- Request Removal From Any Blocklists Your Domain Is On: This is absolutely necessary for your reputation. If your reputation suddenly plummets, your first step should be to check blocklists. If you are on a blocklist, contact the list administrator to request removal.
- Make It Easy for Your Recipients to Unsubscribe: This may seem counterintuitive, but if your recipients don’t have the ability to unsubscribe, they may simply mark your content as spam. Unsubscribe requests are less damaging than spam complaints, so providing an unsubscribe link is better in the long run.
- Clean Your Email List: If your reputation is struggling, you should evaluate your email list meticulously. You can use an online tool to verify that the emails on your list are still active. Additionally, it’s essential that you never buy email lists because they are often packed with fake emails and spam traps.
- Switch to a Dedicated IP: Using a dedicated IP instead of a shared IP gives you more control over your domain’s reputation. While a dedicated IP is more of an investment, it can significantly improve your reputation because you won’t be at the mercy of other users on the shared IP.
How Is Domain Reputation Related to Email Deliverability?
Because a positive domain reputation makes it more likely that your messages will make it to your intended recipients, reputation directly impacts email deliverability. Since ISPs use your reputation to determine whether or not your message is safe to send to the recipient, domain reputation and deliverability rate are closely connected.
Additionally, a low deliverability rate can negatively impact your reputation. ISPs are suspicious of multiple email bounces because it indicates that you aren’t maintaining a clean email list. And in a worst-case scenario, low email deliverability or a poor reputation can get your domain put on a blocklist. And as you know, if you’re on a blocklist, you won’t be able to deliver any emails.
The good news is that Warmup Inbox provides a comprehensive platform that helps you monitor and maintain your domain reputation while keeping your inbox warm. Experience Warmup Inbox’s platform for free and see how easily you can improve your domain reputation.
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