The Scoop on Sender Score

January 22nd, 2014 by Search Influence Alumni

Jan14Any business that sends regular emails to a list of subscribers has a Sender Score. Your score is a method of determining how mail servers (inbox gatekeepers, so to speak) view your reputation as a trustworthy email source.

To keep it simple, think of it this way: if you’re not monitoring your Sender Score, the emails you send to your subscriber list may not have a positive impact on your business. Unfortunately, a poor Sender Score could land your emails in the spam folder, never to be seen by your subscribers.

Five Things You Need to Know about Email Marketing

Let’s start off by saying that Sender Score is important, and you should not only know what yours is, but you should constantly work to improve it. A great first step to take to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourself with email marketing protocol is to make sure you understand the CAN-SPAM Act.

Once you know the law, you can move on to nuances like double opt-in email marketing vs. single opt-in email marketing.

Many top email marketing firms are of the opinion that a double opt-in subscriber system is superior to a single because it ensures not only a higher level of recognition, but also of subscriber retention. In an article that defines both systems and gives advice on whether or not to use them, one email marketing expert adds,

“…Double opt-in serves you when you already have a good amount of interactive leads, and don’t want to have any more headaches with bad email addresses.”

Increase Your Score

No matter what system you decide to use, the goal is the same: you want to increase your Sender Score (trust us!), and here are the top 5 ways to do just that:

  1. People who get frustrated when they have trouble unsubscribing from email lists may be inclined to mark your emails as spam (which is BAD). Make it easy to unsubscribe from your email list.
  2. Use a consistent theme to reinforce your brand when you send emails to your subscriber list. Your email subject line should accurately reflect your email message and include a reference to your brand.
  3. Analyze your reader engagement data once you’ve sent out an email to your list. Knowing how many people are opening, reading and clicking around vs. unsubscribing from your list is a very handy way to evaluate the effectiveness of your email content.
  4. Maintain your reputation by focusing on how to avoid complaints and keeping up your subscriber list hygiene. List hygiene is determined by how frequently you send emails to unknown users and spam traps.
  5. Be sure your emails are coming through authenticated. That means ‘showing’ ISPs (Internet Service Providers) you’re doing your best to follow their authentication protocols, which may include reverse DNS, Sender Policy Framework (SPF), SenderID, and/or Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM). Using a reliable email marketing service will prevent many authentication issues.

How to Interpret Your Sender Score

Once you have your Sender Score, you can begin to interpret your level as an email marketer. But how do you know what the Score means? Here’s the gist: any score over 90 is GREAT. If you score that high, give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re doing it right!

If you score between 50 and 80, you’ll need to take a step back and spend some time figuring out what the problem is. For example, how many of your emails are accepted vs. rejected? How high is your unknown user rate? Any score under 50 indicates you’re a spammer. “But wait! I’m NOT a spammer!” you might be thinking. Unfortunately for you, the mail servers think you are. It’s up to you to rebuild your reputation.

That’s why it’s so important to maintain your Sender Score, lest your emails wind up marked as spam or worse: your IP is blacklisted and your emails never arrive to an inbox at all!

So pay close attention and monitor your email marketing activity and you’ll be well on your way to a great Sender Score. Good luck email marketers!

Kelly Lucia is  the Lead Staff Writer A ghostwriting service that provides businesses with the opportunity to build their online presence and grow their companies, Posts by Ghost offers strategic blogging, content marketing and SEO assistance to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Kelly hit the ground running as a web copywriter several years ago and hasn’t stopped since. Over the last few years she’s developed a vast range of knowledge within the realm of content writing, and she prides herself on being able to write clear and unique content for an immense variety of industries, from overseas blogs about raffle tickets to small business and marketing advice on