In the world of email marketing, maintaining a good sender reputation is as crucial as maintaining a good financial credit score for individuals. The reputation that a business builds for itself, takes it a long way and in most cases will save you from being tagged as a spammer/junk by mailbox providers.
An easy way to think about the importance of reputation is to consider your credit rating. The credit agency arrives at credit score based on a person’s spend pattern, credit repayment behavior, payment history, type of credit availed, and various other factors. All of us at one point or the other in our life have wondered what our credit score looks like and what can be done to make it better. We would refer to credit agencies like CIBIL, Equifax, Experian and others to know where exactly we stand and will defiantly take measures to maintain a reasonably good score.
On a similar note, every mailbox provider adopts its own method to decide on every email sender’s reputation. Ideally, reputation is broadly decided based on your IP reputation and Domain Reputation. A reputation score is arrived only after a thorough scrutiny of one’s email sending practice. This includes subscriber behavior, email send list, IP history, domain relevance to your business, email content, and many more factors, which may not be public knowledge.
We have credible sources to check our credit history, but do we have credible sources to know what our email reputation is like? Can we go by a single source’s assessment? Is it possible to know what factors are influencing the reputation score?
Successful email deliverability can be a tricky and tactical task, especially when you have a new IP to start with and there is no reputation attached to it. On a positive note, this is a right place to start well and get into the good books of mailbox providers, earn good reputation and put in efforts to retain that reputation for as long as you can without pushing it downhill. But how do you know where you stand with your reputation?
There are many free tools in the market to help you understand your reputation from a standpoint where you can know if the reputation is good or bad; but noting in detail.
At Oracle Marketing Cloud, we use a proven triangulation method to understand the reputation-building process and where exactly each of our customers are. Adoption of the triangulation method aids in cross verifying more than two sources, understand the consistency of the result and leaves very less to probability. This method has helped us understand the actions and measures to be taken to get it right with a certain level of cooperation (good data, consistent email send pattern) from customers.
Implementing this involves analyzing data from our email marketing tools: Oracle Responsys (B2C) and Oracle Eloqua (B2B), deliverability plus and postmaster services of mailbox providers to know where exactly we stand with our email reputation.
Oracle Responsys and Eloqua have detailed campaign analytics built into the tool. These reports show us how each of the campaigns have performed starting from delivered rates, bounce rates to the obvious opens, click throughs, and can get as detailed as return per email. A metric is arrived based on industry standards for the above-mentioned attributes and analyzed to understand the logical reason behind the numbers.
The second source we rely on is the tool called Deliverability Plus. The tool compares your inbox placement in a number of different ISPs and allows you to see inbox placement as well as the rate at which emails are deleted and the rate of emails reaching spam folder of major ISP’s. The capability of the tool is just not limited to the above. Deliverability plus aids in campaign analysis, top five competitor analysis, brand analysis, company analysis, and more.
The third source is the postmaster tool of respective inbox service provider. This will be a first-hand info on how your emails are being treated. Gmail and Hotmail postmaster services categorize IP and domain reputation with RAG status. Red indicates serious reputational concerns. Amber indicates mediocre or that everything is okay. Green indicates “All Good “status.
Culminating the analysis and findings of these three sources will give us the logical reason behind where our reputation stands. And an in-detail analysis should lead you to the exact point where one needs to correct. It could be email send pattern, drastic fluctuations in send pattern, unengaged contact list , irrelevance in the content, subject line, or domain name. These are just a few reasons to name some.
The triangulation method has proven beneficial for all our customers so far and has been fool proof. It is very important to know the historical data of an IP OR Domain which has been in use for long in the past, to take measures to correct reputation- unlike for a new IP. Taking corrective measures to set a damaged reputation right is more daunting and time consuming than setting the reputation right for a new IP. So, a word from the wise will be always to “Get it right, the first time. And set it for a while.”
Email marketers must account for mobile. It cannot be ignored. Take a look at the “Mobile Email Guide” for tips and tricks on how to successfully adapt for mobile and capture more click throughs.