What Is Email Marketing Sender Reputation?

As a marketer, your email marketing sender reputation is something that you should keep in mind. You can spend countless hours crafting the perfect email for your prospects, but at the end of the day, if your email is landing in their spam folder, your campaign won’t be successful.
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You’ve been sending emails, but have you been getting results? Marketers spend a lot of time looking for ways to optimize their emails to improve their open and click rates, but often don’t take into account their email marketing sender reputation.

Put simply, email marketing sender reputation refers to how much a sender is trusted by recipients. It’s difficult for marketers to build trust with their audience in general, but it becomes almost impossible when the majority of your emails aren’t even making it into prospects’ inboxes.

Read on to learn more about email marketing sender reputation and the crucial role it plays in your overall marketing strategy.

How Email Marketing Sender Reputation Affects Engagement

Your email sender reputation builds over time, and there are many things that negatively affect your sender reputation that you might not even know about. It’s tied directly to your email domain, and it acts as a record of how well or how poorly emails sent out from your domain have performed. 

While it isn’t easy to repair a poor email sender reputation, it’s possible. Crafting your email marketing campaigns with relevant content that has the right message, for the right audience, at the right time can help your email reputation recover.

What Affects Email Sender Reputation

It can be difficult or even impossible to identify the underlying factors that are negatively impacting your email sender reputation. Here are the four major factors to look out for that could be influencing your reputation:

  • Email list quality
  • Sending history
  • Email consistency
  • Low-quality content
  • Open rates or engagement


Content mapping comes into play during these stages because a prospect’s intent will differ depending on which stage they’re actively in. By mapping the most relevant content to each stage in the buying cycle, you’ll speak more directly to the individual needs of each lead, so you’re having the right conversation with the right people at the right time.

First and foremost, make sure that the contacts you’re sending to have the most recent and accurate email addresses. If an email address is outdated or even misspelled, that’s going to negatively impact your email marketing sender reputation.

That said, you should always take the time to clean your email list; remove old data and unengaged contacts. Sending quality content to quality prospects improves your reputation and your overall outreach efforts.

Sending History

The IP address tied to your sender plays a big role in boosting the legitimacy and email reputation score of your emails. Having an IP address with an established history improves your email marketing sender reputation since it serves as an indication that everything is legitimate—your sender, content, and recipients.

This bump up in your credibility is helpful since spammers will often change their IP addresses, which makes it nearly impossible to obtain a reputable sending history with IPs. The more legitimate you are, the more likely you’ll end up in your prospect’s inbox.

Email Consistency

Another factor that impacts your email marketing sender reputation is the volume of emails you’re sending on a daily basis, as well as how consistently they’re going out.

Mailbox providers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) analyze sending patterns frequently to determine if you, as a sender, are following best practices or act like a spammer. It’s also important to be aware of what your mailbox provider’s maximum daily sends are so you can avoid your account getting flagged.

Low-Quality Content

The next factor that negatively impacts your email marketing sender reputation is low-quality content. If your email comes off as too salesy, is filled with links, poorly formatted, or littered with spam triggering words, then you’re pretty much guaranteeing that you’ll end up in the spam folder. Your prospects will not hesitate to mark your email as spam, and this will greatly damage your sender score.

Open Rates or Engagement

Mailbox providers have recently begun monitoring the way their subscribers are interacting with emails. So if they notice the email you sent to a prospect has low (or nonexistent) open or click-through rates, then they’re going to start filtering out your emails based on their subscribers’ preferences. As a result, this also negatively affects your email marketing sender reputation.

How To Measure Email Sender Reputation

There are plenty of third-party inbox delivery and spam filtering tools available today geared toward measuring email marketing sender reputation. When evaluating your sender reputation, you must also consider the concept of deliverability. Deliverability is your ability to successfully send emails and not land in the spam folder.

These third-party tools analyze your sender’s deliverability and will typically give you an overall sender score. They review your sender, domain, and content in order to generate a breakdown of what percent of your emails are making it into the inbox vs. what percent are going to spam. Most of these tools will also provide you with tips to improve your content as well in order for it to sound less like spam.

While these third-party tools are helpful for getting a pulse on your email marketing sender reputation, they do come at a cost. So if your marketing budget is already tight, then a better method to understand your email sender reputation is keeping a close eye on your email metrics. If you notice a steady decrease in your open rates or just a lack of engagement in general, then it could likely be due to a poor sender reputation.

Ideally, your open rates should be around 18% and above (Source). Open rates that are consistently below 10% should indicate to you that it’s time to take a deep dive into how to go about improving audience engagement. It’s also important to remember that average open rates will vary depending on what industry you’re in, so make sure you’re familiar with what your specific email marketing benchmarks are.

How To Protect Your Email Sender Reputation

Since email marketing sender reputation is often overlooked by many, you’re already ahead of the curve if you’re aware of the various factors that influence your sender reputation score.

Apply these best practices to increasing your odds of reaching your prospects’ inboxes every time:

  1.  Don’t send to purchased lists, and make sure you’re sending to prospects who have opted in. This reduces bounce rates and increases successful email delivery rates.
  2.  Clean your data and make sure to remove outdated or unengaged email addresses from your lists.
  3.  Control your sending frequency in order to avoid spamming your audience. By creating a send schedule and sticking to it, you lower the odds of your email being marked as spam.
  4.  Segment your audience. We’ve seen first hand that when we have too vague of an offering and too widely cast a net (including too many recipients), our results fall short.

Key Takeaways 

As a marketer, your email marketing sender reputation is something that you should keep in mind. You can spend countless hours crafting the perfect email for your prospects, but at the end of the day, if your email is landing in their spam folder, your campaign won’t be successful.

Having an accurate pulse on your email marketing sender reputation is a full-time job if you want to get the most out of your email marketing efforts. Here at Sapper Consulting, we have email sender reputation down to a science and know exactly what to do if our emails aren’t performing well. If this sounds like an area your business could benefit from, it might be time to consider outsourcing your lead generation efforts.

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