Because the success of your email marketing strategy depends on your ability to reach your subscribers’ inboxes, deliverability should always be one of your main priorities. As such, it is important to keep a close eye on all the factors that can impact it.
Though there are multiple components that ultimately determine your deliverability (our email deliverability guide explains all of them). But your sender score is one of the most important pieces of information for a marketing professional to have access to.
Read the most significant, most organized volume of information written about email deliverability.
What is sender score?
A sender score is a number between 0 and 100 that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) assign to an IP address. The number denotes your sender reputation and can determine whether or not an ISP elects to deliver your message to a recipient’s inbox folder.
With sender scores, higher numbers indicate that a sender IP is held in good esteem, while lower numbers indicate a poor sender reputation. This system enables mail servers to quickly identify senders who pose a risk to their customers, such as spammers and fraudsters.
Generally speaking, a sender score of 70 or above is considered good while a score of 90+ is excellent. On the other hand, anything that falls below 70 is suboptimal and warrants your attention as the sender.
What contributes to your sender score?
There are a variety of different factors that influence your final sender score, including the following:
The nature of your email activity
ISPs monitor how you use their service and keep track of your email activity because it can indicate some important things about you as a sender. This includes the volume of email messages that you send as well as the frequency with which you conduct your send-outs.
Your key metrics
The performance of your marketing emails is also taken into account. For instance, if your emails have high open rates and engagement and generate a good amount of clicks, you are more likely to have a favorable sender score.
By the same token, negative performance metrics can be equally influential. If your recipients frequently unsubscribe upon receiving your messages, this will lower your sender score. Similarly, if your emails are often bounced for one reason or another, your sender score will suffer, with hard bounces having a more detrimental effect than soft ones.
The reputation of your IP address
Your broader IP reputation also contributes to your sender score. Your inclusion on the whitelist/blacklist of an ISP or ESP (Email Service Provider) will affect your final score. Similarly, ISPs also keep track of spam reports that you receive, as well as the regularity with which you hit their spam traps.
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How to improve your sender score
Fortunately, sender scores can be improved, and there are a number of different actions you can take to achieve this. Here are just a few suggestions:
ISPs are likely to deem you a suspicious sender if your send-outs are erratic. Conversely, sending out emails in consistent volumes at regular intervals indicates that you are reliable, which will improve your sender reputation and, ultimately, your sender score.
Focus on list hygiene
As mentioned above, bounces and spam reports can have a negative effect on your sender score, but list hygiene is the solution.
Removing inactive and invalid email addresses from your mailing list will help you avoid spam traps and prevent bounces.
Offer an easy way to opt out
While it may seem somewhat counterintuitive to present your subscribers with an obvious exit route, opt-outs can benefit your sender score. By allowing your recipients to opt out, you avoid disengaged subscribers reporting you for persisting with your communication.
Of course, you don’t want all of your subscribers opting out, and that’s why you need to prioritize high-quality marketing copy in your emails. Providing your recipients with the option to unsubscribe allows those who are disengaged to cease communications, and from there it is up to you to create content that engages those who have remained subscribed.
Your sender score is a vital aspect of your online identity as a marketer, as it can define the success rate of your email marketing campaigns. For this reason, it follows that you should want to be aware of your sender score at all times, as well as the factors that can cause it to fluctuate.
When it comes to deliverability issues, prevention is always better than cure. While it is possible to repair your sender score after it has fallen to suboptimal levels, it is preferable to enact best practices ahead of time to circumvent these kinds of issues entirely.