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How to Maintain a Positive Email Reputation

good neutral bad

Last week we talked about how you can effectively blacklist yourself on email servers. Blacklisting is when emails are blocked from sending out campaigns because they have been identified as spammers. This puts them on a Blacklist, which blocks their emails from reaching their destination.

Legitimate users can mistakenly be marked as spammers based on their email sending habits. This affects email deliverability. It is in your best interest to do everything you can to ensure your email deliverability remains high. To do that you must retain a positive email reputation. Otherwise, you risk having your emails not reach your target audience.

What affects email reputation? Do you know how to check your email reputation, control it and improve it when possible? If not, read on to discover the answers and some helpful tools.

Domain Reputation

What is an email domain? For example, frescodata.com in johndoe@frescodata.com is an email domain. Its reputation is affected by many factors.

The age of the domain is important. If the email has just been registered, it will be considered suspicious by default. This is because email reputation can only be gained over time. It is a good idea to warm up a new email domain before using it to send out targeted marketing and sales campaigns. You can do this by sending a few emails a day during the first couple of weeks of its registration.

Domain reputation is also impacted by how it’s been classified on the web—business and industry, education, finance, dating, or gambling.

In order to better control the reputation of your email domain, we recommend setting up a separate domain for outbound campaigns. This will help ensure that your primary email’s reputation remains intact; plus, if the reputation of your outbound email becomes affected, you can always switch to a new one for prospecting.

Keep in mind that new domains need about 1-2 months to establish a good reputation. Therefore, we recommend warming up all email addresses on a new domain before starting to send out regular email campaigns.

How to Warm Up a New Email Domain

As we mentioned, you need to warm up new email domains. To do this, you should send out a few emails a day on the new domain. You should also respond to some of the emails you send. Regular email usage will help your new domain earn a positive reputation among blacklist servers.

In the beginning, start by sending 5-10 hand typed emails a day. As time goes on, increase the number to 20, then 30 emails a day.

Start sending email campaigns around a week after the warm-up process, but keep in mind that you should not go from sending 30 emails a day to 500 emails a day. This type of behavior will lead you to get blacklisted since surges in email volume from your domain can trigger anti-spam filters and indicate possible spammer behavior.

Your email campaigns should never target thousands of prospects. Instead, your campaigns should be smaller, segmented and personalized for more successful prospecting campaigns. We suggest that sending up to 50 new emails a day is enough to keep your outreach going smoothly.

The deliverability of your emails will increase with a positive email reputation. This makes it important to check and fix all the issues that could affect it before you begin serious outreach campaigns.

Server IP Reputation Basics

Along with your domain reputation, your email server IP also maintains a reputation. It depends on your email service provider, but you can watch it as well to check for abnormalities that could affect your email reputation.

You will be assigned an IP from Google if you send messages using an email provided by Google. You will be assigned an IP from a host server—for example, GoDaddy—if you use an email configured with an SMTP and IMAP on your server.

The IPs you get from your email provider sometimes already have a reputation tied to them. For this reason, we suggest checking your email server IP before sending out any email campaigns.

How to Determine Your Email Server IP

At FrescoData, we recommend using Mail-Tester to check if your email looks like spam to other email servers. It allows you to check up to three messages a day for free. This tool also can show you the server that sent out your email. We will walk you through how to use it below.

email spamminess website

  1. Go to mail-tester.com
  2. Copy the generated email address
  3. Send your test email to the address you copied. Make sure you send your actual email copy to this test email. Mail-Tester checks the full content of your email for spamminess along with email server settings.
  4. Go back to mail-tester.com after sending the email. You should see your email score on that page within a few seconds.

If your email is not considered spam, you should receive the following results:

email spamminess

The number marked in yellow is your email server’s IP. Marked in circles are also your SPF and DKIM, which may or may not be properly set up and also affects deliverability. It makes recommendations on ways you can improve the content of your email campaigns, let you know if you are blacklisted and inform you if your message contains broken links as well.

How to Interpret your IP Score

  • If you get a 10/10 on mail-tracker.com, then you have nothing to worry about. This is what you should strive for with all of your campaigns.
  • 8-9 is still a good score, but you could improve it by taking advice from Mail-Tester
  • 6-7 is an acceptable score, but some strict email providers may block your email campaigns
  • 0-5 You should never have a score this low. If it is, follow our advice to improve it immediately.

How to Check Your IP Reputation

Once you have figured out what your IP is, you can check its reputation using an online tool. Talos, offered by Cisco, allows you to enter your email server IP and your domain to check their reputations.

talos website

When you use the site, it will show you whether your domain or IP address is good, neutral or poor. You should always aim for good. Neutral indicates that there is room for improvement. Poor means your emails are most likely not reaching their target destinations.

talos details

The best solution for fixing the reputation of a poor IP reputation is to change it. You can do that by setting up a new email address and following the steps provided in this blog post to maintain a good domain and IP reputation.

If your IP is neutral, improve it by optimizing your sending workflow. Ensure that you are not sending too many emails in a short period of time. Instead, work on sending emails more steadily so you do not create spikes in your sending volume.

In Talos, you can review your sending volume history. Best case scenario, your graph should look like the one below:

talos email volume

If your reputation is poor, you may see spikes in your graph where you have sent many emails in a short time. These peaks create suspicion among email servers that will negatively impact the reputation of your email server IP.

Plus, Talos will let you know if you are on any blacklists:

talos blacklists

If you find that you are listed on a blacklist, head over to their website and check their unlisting process. We have listed some of the top blacklists to watch vigilantly on our previous blog post as well as general rules to follow to remove yourself from a blacklist.

Why this Matters for You

If email outreach is an important part of your business, maintaining your domain reputation and email server IP reputation is imperative. Neglecting these two factors can lead to difficulties when sending our campaigns. If you get blacklisted it can take time to get taken off the list, or even worse, you may have to spend a lot of time setting up a brand-new domain. In those cases, it can affect your ROI since no emails are reaching your prospective clients.

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