What is an email sender score?

The phrase “email sender score” may inspire you to imagine a new TV show in which judges hold up their 1 -10 placards and grade the quality of contestants’ emails. But, there’s unlikely to be much audience for that – even with the low standards of reality television today.

However, audience is very much a factor in email sending score. After all, the email communications you send will never get to your targeted recipients unless you have a good sender score.

What is an email sender score? Email sender rating report example

A sender score helps the IPS to weed out spam marketing, a continued malignancy in the marketing world. Cisco’s SenderBase.org examines over 100TB daily across over 1.6 million web, email, firewall and IPS appliances. The site claims to process 300B daily email messages with 86% of email volume detected as spam.

Mail servers will routinely check a sender score before deciding what to do with the emails from that address. Return Path, which runs a free Sender Score algorithm, reports that 83% of the time an email is not delivered to an inbox, it is due to poor sender reputation.

Using data gathered from over 60 million mailboxes at big ISPs, Return Path measures complaints, volume, external reputation, rejections and more related to a specific email address. This monitoring leads to a reputation score between 0 and 100. The lower your score, the less likely the email network is to deliver your email. Scores are calculated on a rolling 30-day average.

Smart marketers monitor their sending reputation so as to better understand how their emails are being received. Along with Return Path and SenderBase, there are several other organizations calculating sender reputation —ReputationAuthority, BarracudaCentral and TrustedSource among them.

Boosting your email reputation can make a difference to your marketing success. George Bilbrey, Return Path Sender Score Division VP & GM, suggested the following good reputation practices to Marketing Sherpa:

  • Keep your IP address. Switching to a new address opens you up to volume sent limits and stricter reputation thresholds.
  • Test small before going big. If you’re going to change the type or frequency of your emails, test the changes first with a small portion of your list. This way you can see if your complaints jump dramatically or not before making a significant strategy shift.
  • Listen to your audience. When someone opts out of your mailings, get them off your list quickly to minimize complaints.

Back in the day, having a bad reputation meant detention if you smoked in the bathroom at school. A bad e-mail reputation, however, gets you on a blacklist or in a spam trap where no one will ever see the marketing messages you’ve been laboring over–and, worse, it could disrupt your standard, day-to-date communications as well.

Related reading:
Tips for Email Marketing
Why You Should Not Buy Email Lists




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