Fixes for Email Reputation

Fixing an email reputation issue can be a long and frustrating process. There are a few important questions to answer before making any major changes:

1. Are you responsible for the reputation issue?

Someone may be using your infrastructure to send unwanted emails. Bad actors utilizing your IP can negatively impact the deliverability of all domains using that IP.

2. Do you know what’s causing the issue?

If you’re experiencing deliverability issues for a given email, it could be that the email has a content problem. Fixing the content issue will get you to land in inbox again.

If you’re noticing drops in engagement metrics across all of your campaigns (and you’ve ruled out someone else causing your issue), run an inbox placement test and we will tell you what the problem is. If it’s a reputation issue, here are some recommendations that will help you reach the inbox again:

1. Simply pause the domain for awhile:

Resting the domain (ie. stopping all sending for 1-2 weeks) acts like a cool-down process for your domain. This strategy can be enough to start reaching the inbox again. Once you’ve let the domain rest and you’re still not reaching inbox, it’s time to move on to the next recommendation.

2. Send a personalized email to 10-20 contacts that you haven’t sent to before and have them mark you as “not spam”

When recipients mark your email as “not spam”, this tells spam filters that your emails are wanted. You will want to send them to recipients that you haven’t sent to before and that use the same email service provider you’d like to reach inbox for (ie Gmail or Outlook).

It’s important to note that this tactic only works 2-3 times before spam filters learn what you’re doing. It can at least get you back in the inbox so we can begin investigating what landed you there in the first place.

3. Send a campaign targeted at your most engaged recipients

Once you’ve let your domain cool down, you’re going to want to create a campaign that will produce positive engagement metrics. We’re going to leverage your core set of users (those that regularly engage with your campaigns) to train spam filters that you’ve improved your sending practices.

It works by curating a campaign to go out to customers/ prospects that have opened, clicked, or replied to your email within the last ~90 days. If you can bolster your engagement rates with this initial campaign (on a large enough volume), positive signals will be sent to the spam filter and your emails will start reaching inbox again. (This can take about 2-3 days).

If you’re still not reaching inbox, it’s possible that your domain has been damaged beyond repair (or beyond the scope of fixing it on a realistic timeline). In this case, you will need to migrate the domain and start fresh.

4. Migrating the domain

In the event that all of the above strategies have been exhausted and you’re still not reaching inbox, it’s time to migrate the domain and start fresh. When starting a new domain, it’s very important that there are no spam complaints within your first 100 emails. Receiving spam complaints early in a domain’s life will quickly burn it and result in spam placement.

Starting with one of the above strategies is still recommended here. Sometimes new domains are automatically sent to spam (so getting 10-20 contacts to mark you as “not spam” will work to reach inbox). A carefully curated campaign to go out to your most engaged recipients (and slowly adding more volume) will also work to properly warm the domain.

5. Moving off of a Shared IP or Segmenting your Domain

If you’re operating on a shared IP address, someone utilizing your infrastructure may be engaging in malicious sending activities. Also, if your domains are unsegmented, your outreach emails may be impacting the deliverability of your main domain. IP and domain reputation can affect each other, so if there’s a bad actor on your shared IP, their actions can spread to your individual sending domain. In this case, you should move out of the shared element creating the issue (ie domain, or IP).

A dedicated IP will give you full control over your IP reputation. It also provides simplicity in the sense that when there are deliverability issues, you know that it’s your own sending practices that need to be investigated. Segmenting your domains (having one for marketing emails and one for transactional emails etc.) will also improve deliverability by not allowing low engagement metrics to spread.

Next Steps

After you start landing in inbox again, there’s still more work to do. It’s important to remember that the underlying cause (s) that led to your spam placement in the first place still haven’t been addressed. This could be due to issues with the email itself or with who you’re sending to.

 As you begin slowly restarting campaigns and loosening the parameters (ie recipients that have opened, clicked, replied in the last 6 months) there will be a point when you end up back in spam. With our monitoring tools, we will be able to see precisely when this happens again. It could be the email itself or the people you’re sending to. If spam placement is due to a content issue, we can provide you with the exact problem area that needs fixing. If it’s due to a recipient issue, however, this will require you to look further into how you prospect your leads or how you can make content more relevant/ engaging for your audience.

Adding our pixel tracker to your most important campaigns will allow us to monitor your campaigns in real-time. Installing our GSuite plugin, allows integration with your mailbox where we can run tests on your behalf if we start noticing anything strange.