Are your emails falling flat? Is your email reputation dropping day by day? You may think you’re doing everything right when it comes to your campaign, but the hard truth is you’re probably not…

That’s okay!

At Strategic Media Inc., we want only the best for your organization and are here to help you establish and elevate your online presence. This includes creating an effective email campaign.

In this article, we’ll teach you all you need to know, including where you may be going wrong, to repair your email reputation and get this area of your marketing back on track. If you’re new to the world of email campaigns, this article will also help you understand what it means to have a positive or negative email reputation and its significance for business success.

Keep reading for the “how to” on establishing an email reputation that does your work for you!

What Is an Email Reputation

An email reputation is a result of and directly related to the health of your sending reputation. Your email sender reputation is a score out of 100 given to your organization by its Inbox Service Provider (ISP). This could be Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or other email providers, and your goal is to achieve a ranking of 90 or higher. Such a score indicates a very positive sender reputation which translates to strong results at receiving domains or the audience you’re directing your email campaign towards.

Your score is determined by several factors, such as:

  • The number of emails your business sends
  • How many subscribers are engaging with your emails
  • How many recipients mark your emails as spam or send complaints
  • If your emails trigger any ISP spam traps or are on any block lists
  • The number of recipients that unsubscribe from your emails
  • Your email bounce rate

These parameters help mail servers, and spam filters keep up with the cumulative effect of your email campaign.

For measuring engagement, ISPs will be specifically looking at:

  • Open rate
  • Replies
  • Forward rate
  • Deletions
  • Click rate

So, as you can see, there’s a lot that goes into determining your email sender reputation score, and each ISP will weigh these factors differently. However, when you succeed in these areas, not only are you creating a positive effect on a specific email campaign and your email reputation, but you’re promoting the success of all future email sends. Meaning your email or sending reputation is cemented to the domain your sending emails from, so it will follow you wherever and whenever you utilize that domain.

Why Your Email Reputation Is Falling

A poor sending reputation, which creates a failing email reputation, is a cumulative effect of less than positive results at receiving servers from email sends. This can be in the form of high bounce rates, low open rates, or high spam complaints.

The number one trigger for such negative results is a lack of engagement. ISPs are created to track or monitor metrics and when they see senders aren’t interacting with your emails, they’ll automatically either block, bounce or route them to junk. This establishes a vicious cycle that continues to damage your sending reputation as time goes on. ISPs may even begin flagging emails containing hyper-relevant content as spam due to your organization being deemed as “problematic”.

Another common cause of a failing email reputation is poor data hygiene or acquisition sources which negatively affects the health of your email list and email deliverability. Meaning the information you have stored about your target audience, used to determine where your emails go, is inaccurate or outdated. This causes unpleasant ramifications for future email sends, your sending reputation, and, consequently, your email reputation.

Other, more unique issues that could be causing your email reputation to drop include:

  • A lack of permission to send an individual an email (non-permission-based data)
  • Send to an invalid address
  • Content and/or send frequency not aligned with subscriber expectations
  • Email is clipped by the receiver due to no clear unsubscribe link

The best way to spot these issues is to monitor your metrics. Stay observant of any patterns, trends, or irregularities that could signify a damaged sender or email reputation.

How To Fix Your Email Reputation

Once you’ve identified where you may be going wrong by looking at key metrics such as open rates, bounces, spam complaints, clicks, and unsubscribes, you can then begin working on a solution.

Quality Over Quantity

Following the ideology of quality over quantity, your first step is to filter your email list by targeting those who show the most engagement and removing inactive recipients. Though this may shrink the number of people you’re reaching, it’ll also help repair your sending reputation by improving engagement rates and ensuring inbox placement. When segmenting your email list, you can create engagement segments to help you identify these extra active subscribers.

Read our blog: Building better emails


This pertains to the content you’re sending and how relatable it does or doesn’t feel to your audience. Just as it’s important to know your potential customers and keep them in mind when building websites and creating blog articles, the same goes when sending emails. One of the best ways to implement this feeling of comfortability is by using the recipient’s first name. It’s been shown that individuals are much more likely to engage with emails that feel directed at them specifically rather than a mass audience.

Change Your Hook

Possibly the most crucial part of an email happens before you even get to the content itself. In other words, the subject line. This piece needs to demand instant attention and draw your reader in by telling them why they should open your email in the first place. If your email reputation is failing, look at your subject line text and ask yourself what might need changing. Maybe the tone is all wrong and doesn’t reflect your target audience or your brand. Try asking questions to peak your recipient’s curiosity. This gives them the opportunity to apply your content to their own life. Play around with it and see what works, but most importantly, don’t be wishy-washy when trying to hook your readers.

Avoiding The Spam Box

Knowing how to avoid being labeled as spam can be the saving grace of a failing email reputation. This is best done by withholding words such as “free” or “buy” in your content and especially in your subject line. You can even ask recipients to add you to their address books. If you and your receiving audience are in each other’s contacts, then you can avoid spam issues altogether.

Check Your Metrics and Keep It Going!

If you’ve followed these steps and observed an increase in engagement rates, it’s time to start sending out more emails again! While expanding your reach and your email list, keep these guidelines in mind to maintain the health of your email reputation.

Need help with more than just emails? Not sure if what you’re doing is working or if you’re doing it right? Contact Strategic Media today, and we’ll ensure that you and your business are on the way to success!