What is a Sender Score? (And how to improve it)
Sender Score: This is a number assigned to your sending reputation. The higher the number, the better the Sender Score.
Email Sender Reputation: Measured by several key performance factors to mailbox providers and email subscribers, this helps the ISP determine how welcome your email will be to the end user, and whether or not it should be delivered.
What factors determine a Sender Score?
All ISPs have their own determining factors for what they decide to include in assigning a Sender Reputation.
Below you’ll find a round-up of some of the common factors used to determine a Sender Score
- Complaints - The rate of user complaints against emails being junk
- Filtering rate - Emails that are filtered to junk or spam
- Infrastructure - Hardware and software use to deploy your emails
- Sending volume - Emails to a large number of unknown users
- Rejected by Sender - The percentage of email blocked by a mailbox provider
- Hits to spam traps - False data records that are deliverable, but designed to catch brands emailing non-subscribers
- Number of unknown users - Invalid or unrecognized email addresses that never existed, that were closed, or that were abandoned by the end user
How can you help improve your Sender Reputation?
- Maintain a clean email list - Ensuring that users are aware they will get your emails will help keep complaints down, while looking for bad emails right out of the gate will help with sender rejection and hard bounces. To clean your list...
- Regularly check your emails for misspellings
- Use a validation tool to get rid of unknown users and to remove known spam traps
- Delete “info@” or “noreply@” emails
- Get rid of long-time inactive contacts - If the email is more than a year old and you don’t remember the last time you spoke one-on-one to that person, call them to verify or get rid of the email
- Make sure contacts have opted-in and know they’ve opted in to receive emails from you.
- Send a confirmation email when users subscribe.
- Never purchase an email list from a third party vendor - More likely than not these contacts are not aware their information has been sold and will immediately report you as spam.
- Send education-based materials, instead of purely sales materials. Sending things like whitepapers and helpful informational bullets will make it more likely that a user will open your email and find it useful.
- Have consistency by keeping the same number of emails sent out on a regular, scheduled, basis. High volume campaigns, followed by no emails for weeks, will be a negative knock to your score.
- Ask your contacts to whitelist your IPs. You can approach this conversation from the realm of being a new, unknown sender.
- Properly set-up your infrastructure, or if using a marketing service, make sure they are doing it on your behalf. Ensure that they have DKIM & SPF certificates, and are properly handling bounces, and complaints.
Does a high Sender Score mean my emails will always be delivered?
Not necessarily - Many email marketing providers will promote a high sender score as a fool-proof method for making sure your email gets into the inbox of its intended recipients. A high Sender Score on its own doesn’t translate into higher deliverability rates because ultimately it’s up to the mailbox provider’s calculations - but working to improve yours can help to greatly increase the chances of ISPs delivering your emails into recipient’s inboxes.