May 6, 2015

5 tips to improve your email reputation.

Your reputation is the most important factor in your ability to deliver mail, but the path to a clean reputation isn’t always clear. The good news is, you can avoid reputation issues by monitoring email blacklists, keeping your mailing lists clean, and properly setting up your authentication methods.

Without further ado, here are 5 ways to improve your email reputation:

1. Proactively monitor blacklists

ISPs and filtering companies commonly used third-party blacklists to filter mail and identify spam from senders with poor reputation. Being blacklisted severely impacts your reputation and your ability to deliver mail to your recipients.

The good news is that there are a number of inexpensive tools on the market to quickly notify you in the event that you are blacklisted. 250ok scans and reports blacklist data from across the globe to help you identify if your IP or domain is blacklisted before you hit ‘Send’.

2. Set up authentication records

Authentication records essentially tell mailboxes that your message is authentic. Implementing DKIM and SPF authentication dramatically help your deliverability by confirming that mail came from where it says it came from.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records tell mailboxes which hosts are allowed to send mail from a given domain. Your IT administrator can add SPF records in your DNS settings to easily prove your authenticity.

DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) signatures allow you to claim ownership of the message being sent. Mailboxes use DKIM to evaluate whether or not a message should be trusted, and it’s a critical step in protecting their customers from phishing. You can read this guide on how to set up DKIM or talk to one of our deliverability experts for help.

3. Proactively monitor spam traps to identify poor sending habits

As outlined in our Q&A about understanding spam traps, hitting spam traps can play a big role in your difficulty delivering mail. Spam traps (also known as honey pots), are email addresses set up solely to catch spammers in the act. Senders often end up hitting spam traps due to poor list quality, like renting (or buying) lists or sending to inactive subscribers.

By using a tool like Reputation, you can monitor your IP addresses and domains to see if you’re regularly hitting traps. You can see trap hits by sending IP, from address, subject line, and more. You’ll also see if your DKIM or SPF records are failing and identify if you have an authentication issue. The key is taking corrective measures to make sure poor sending habits aren’t impacting your email deliverability.

4. Clean your mailing list regularly

If you’re bouncing mail or hitting spam traps, it’s probably a sign that you need to clean your mailing list. You’d be surprised how many people change their email address on a regular basis. Our customer act-on recommends that you remove email addresses that have been inactive for a year.

There are other simple measures you can take to maintain a clean mailing list:

  • Only send mail to customers who opted in (double opt-ins preferred)
  • Never buy or rent mailing lists
  • Provide an obvious unsubscribe link in your email footer
  • Immediately unsubscribe customers upon request

5. Protect your brand from phishing attempts

You don’t have to be a big brand with a huge mailing list to be impacted by phishing. The Better Business Bureau points out that small businesses are regularly impacted by phishing scams or fraudulent mailing activity.

Reputation is just one of the tools you can use to protect your business and customers. You can easily monitor your domains for unauthorized emailing or phishing attempts and see where the mail is coming from. This enables you to see who is targeting your customers and where they’re attempting to send them.

Monitoring your reputation is critical in improving your email deliverability. If you’re ready to get rolling, please be sure to check out our free tools including our blacklist checker and SPF analyzer.

Author: Alex Griffis

Alex Griffis is the VP of Product (a product geek) at 250ok, where he focuses on product design and improving our customer experiences.

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