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How your domain reputation influences inbox placement
How your domain reputation influences inbox placement
Updated over a week ago

Domain reputation plays a crucial role in determining the success of your emails and whether or not they’re placed in your audience’s inbox or spam folder.

Why is Domain Reputation Important?

Mailbox providers (like Gmail and Yahoo) use domain reputation as one of the factors to determine whether an email should be delivered to the inbox, the spam folder, or blocked entirely. A good domain reputation increases the chances of your emails landing in the inbox.

A positive domain reputation establishes trust with mailbox providers and with your subscribers, indicating that you are a legitimate sender with valuable content. This credibility can lead to higher open rates and engagement levels.

If you are experiencing a poor domain reputation are more likely to trigger spam filters, reducing the visibility and effectiveness of your email campaigns.

How do I know what my domain reputation is?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell what your sender reputation is. There’s no website with a score or phone number to call. However, domain reputation is powerful. An email provider can do everything right, but your emails won’t land in the inbox or potentially won’t deliver if your reputation is damaged. Your reputation is determined mainly by your subscribers.

A first step to determine your domain reputation is to set up a tool called Google Postmaster Tools. This tool was created by Gmail to help senders learn more about where their domain reputation lies with Gmail. There is also some additional information that’s helpful like user reported spam and IP reputation. Typically, if you see a spike in user reported spam over a consistent period of time, your domain reputation could be negatively impacted. Gmail recommends keeping your user reported spam below .1%. If they see user reported spam above .3% it’s likely more of your emails will be delivered to the spam folder.

Many senders have recently had to verify their domains in ConvertKit to comply with Gmail and Yahoo’s new requirements. In some cases, senders may see a drop in their engagement. After a sender verifies their domain they are now relying solely on their own domain reputation. Whereas in the past, many senders had ConvertKit’s domain reputation to help them offset a potentially poor reputation. Don’t panic though, even though senders must use their own reputation to send emails now, there are things you can do to ensure you have a healthy domain reputation to help you reach the inbox of your subscribers.

How can I improve my domain reputation?

It’s important to know that a couple small actions alone won’t immediately improve your domain reputation. Instead, it takes consistent focus on best practices over time to continue building a good sender and domain reputation.

Here are a few ways to improve your reputation:

  • Use healthy list collection methods. Buying lists and collecting emails without explicit permission can severely impact your domain reputation. Consider avoiding giveaways and other list collection methods that may not provide you with quality subscribers.

  • Send relevant and valuable content that your subscribers signed up for! This sounds simple but it may be better to send one less email if it means the next email they receive is helpful and engaging.

  • Ask for replies to your emails. Email replies can be extremely helpful in positively impacting your domain reputation. Replies help email look more 1:1 and potentially less promotional to mailbox providers.

  • Segmenting your list and subscriber preferences can not only improve your reputation but also the subscriber experience. It’s important to pay attention to positive and negative signals from your audience. Pick out a few subscribers and look at the emails they’ve opened or alternatively, not opened. Are there any trends? Give your audience the option to select less or more emails per week/month depending on what their interests are.

  • Clean your list! Cold subscribers can really hurt your sender reputation. Sending to cold subscribers for long periods of time are negative signals that mailbox providers look for to decide where they should place emails to your subscribers. If those emails don’t seem “wanted” it’s possible your subscribers could experience more spam filtering.

  • Be sure you are Yahoogle compliant and have correctly authenticated emails. Gmail and Yahoo have introduced new requirements that may impact your email deliverability so be sure you are set up properly.

Both your marketing strategy and the technical aspects of deliverability can make or break your reputation. The best course of action is to engage people who see your emails and use marketing tactics that encourage people to open, click, and reply.

If you are struggling to figure out the root cause of your reputation issues, feel free to reach out to our support team so we can help you!

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