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What the heck is domain sender score?

A Complete Guide to Sender Reputation


Khalid Ismail


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What is one thing that email marketers need to consider to improve email deliverability in 2022? The answer is the domain sender score. This article briefly answers the following questions.

  • What is sender reputation?

  • Why is sender reputation important?

  • How can you check your sender reputation?

  • What are the factors that affect sender reputation?

  • What are the ways to improve sender reputation?

What is sender reputation?

In simple words, sender reputation is a score assigned to the email sender by the Email Service Provider (ESP) based on the content and mailing habit. This score plays an important role in email deliverability and the success of email marketing campaigns. This score is also known as sender reputation score. This score ranges from 0 to 100, and 0 means the worst and 100 means the best. This is a score that determines how credible and trustworthy the email domain and the associated IP address is? The greater the score, the greater the possibility that the email service provider will land your email in the recipient’s primary inbox instead of a spam or junk folder. This score is calculated on multiple factors such as bounce rate, open rate, engagements, spam rate, domain reputation, and IP address reputation.  

Why is sender reputation important?

The sender reputation score is very critical for email marketers as it greatly influences the success of email marketing campaigns. Every day, billions of emails are sent, and not all of them, land in the recipient’s primary inbox. A lot of these emails are sent to spam or junk folders by the email service provider to prevent the user from unnecessary distractions. The sender reputation score plays an important role in the determination of the destination of the emails sent by email marketers. A good domain reputation and email reputation score increase the likelihood that the email lands in subscribers’ inboxes, consequently increasing email deliverability and email campaign performance.

In addition, a higher email reputation score reflects that you are following email marketing best practices and that your email domain and IP address are authentic, credible, and trustworthy. Therefore, it is imperative to do an email reputation check to ensure the success of email marketing campaigns. How can you check your sender reputation, email reputation, and domain reputation? The following part of the article answers this question.   

How can you check your sender reputation? 

The following are the top 4 strategies that you can use to identify your sender reputation score. 

1. Use tools to calculate sender score

Here are some of the important tools to check email reputation score and domain reputation. 

GoCustomer : It’s a credible and user-friendly tool to make sure that your email lands in the recipient’s primary mailbox. It has multiple valuable tools such as DMARC, DKIM, SPF, BIMI, and Domain Blacklist that you can use to ensure the success of your email campaign. This is a tool provided by Validity and is free. It gives you scores on a scale of 0 to 100. 0 being the worst and 100 being the best. It calculates your sender score based on your email activities and kinds of engagement with your emails for the last 30 days. It assigns you a score by comparing your email performance with other users.

Google Postmaster Tools: Google is an email service provider and has tools to collect a huge amount of data on email deliverability. This tool allows you to track data on the high-volume emails that you send during email marketing campaigns. It used this data to analyze your sender score and domain reputation.  

Microsoft SNDS: Like Google, Microsoft has its own tool called Smart Network Data Services (SDNS) that allows its user to check their email reputation, IP address reputation, domain reputation, and sender score.   

MxToolbox: Like all the above-mentioned tools, this is also an important and easy-to-use tool to check email reputation and sender score. Further, it also tells you whether your domain has any issues. It notifies you when there is any change in your sender score. 

2. Send multiple messages to yourself

This is one of the most effective yet neglected strategies to check your email deliverability. Make multiple email addresses and send an email to all of them from your email domain. Your sender score is good if you receive the email in the primary inbox of all the new and temporarily created email addresses. If not, then your email reputation score is not good; hence follow email marketing best practices to improve your domain reputation. 

3. Check deny listings

Deny listings are lists that contain IP addresses and email domain names that are caught sending malicious and spam emails. You can use tools such as GoCustomer, MxToolbox and Netcore to identify whether your IP address or email domain name is blacklisted or not. 

4. Analyze your email marketing campaign performance

Another way to find sender reputation is to check bounce rate, engagement type, open rate, un-subscription rate, click-through rate, spam declaration rate, return on investment and other matrices of your email marketing campaigns. This gives you an idea about your sender reputation score. The better your email marketing campaign performance and email deliverability, the better your domain reputation and email reputation score.  

It is imperative to understand the factors affecting sender reputation to maintain a good email reputation score, domain reputation, and good sender score. This helps email marketers to be meticulous about these factors while starting email marketing campaigns. Let’s explore the factors affecting sender reputation.

What are the factors that affect sender reputation?

Multiple factors affect the sender reputation score. Some of the most crucial factors are outlined in the following.

The number of recipients: Usually, spammers send messages in very high volumes. Your email service provider (ESP) limits the number of emails you can send per day. If you exceed that limit, it will negatively affect your sender score. 

Open rate: How many recipients open your email also plays an important role in determining your email reputation score and domain reputation. The greater the number of recipients opening your emails, the greater your sender score and email deliverability will be. 

Bounce rate: When you send an email to the wrong address, or there are spelling errors in the email address, your emails are bounced back. Further, emails are bounced back if you are sending emails to an email address that is closed. Such things adversely affect email deliverability, email reputation score, and domain reputation. 

Spam reports: If many recipients report your email as spam, there is something wrong. Either you are sending emails to the wrong people or sending irrelevant content. In addition, if you are sending a lot of emails, then the recipients get offended and may report it as a spam email. In brief, the greater the number of spam reports, the lower will be your sender score. 

Spam trap: Spam traps are email addresses that email service providers use to monitor and determine spam emails. These are inactive and dormant emails; if you keep sending emails to these addresses, your email service providers negatively rate your email reputation score. 

Is there any way out? How to improve your sender score. Here are a few pragmatic ways to boost your sender score. 

What are the ways to improve sender reputation?

Following are some of the important strategies to improve domain sender score.

Use email verification tools: This is one of the most crucial strategies to improve sender reputation score and email deliverability. It is email marketing best practice to verify the email list. It helps in removing inactive, spam traps, and dormant emails. This drastically reduces bounce and spam report rates.

Monitor negative marketing signals: Keep an eye on negative signals such as spam rate, un-subscription rate, op-out rate, and nonresponding rates to ensure that your email list is clean and you are sending the right content to the right audience. Negative signals tell you how the recipients and ESP perceive your emails. It helps you to improve your sender score.

Send customized and personalized emails: Sending customized and personalized emails increases the likelihood of the recipient’s opening the emails. In addition, also write compelling and engaging subject lines. It helps in improving the open rate, consequently, improves sender score.  

Check your IP and domain against blacklists: It is a list containing all the IP addresses and email domain names that are blacklisted for sending malicious and spam emails. Keep checking whether your name is on the list or not. 

Good sender reputation score is essential for email deliverability and the success of an email marketing campaign. It is imperative to keep your sender reputation score high with top tools to enhance email deliverability and email marketing campaign success.

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Table of Contents

    In a nutshell

    The domain sender score is a measure of the reputation of the domain name used to send emails, and it's important because it can affect email deliverability and the likelihood of landing in the spam folder.
    Sender reputation is a measure of the trustworthiness of an email sender, determined by factors like the quality of the email list, engagement rates, and spam complaints.
    Strategies to check sender reputation include monitoring email metrics, checking for blacklistings, and using reputation monitoring tools.
    Deny listings are lists of IP addresses or domains that are known to be sources of spam or malicious activity, and they can be checked using online tools like MX Toolbox.
    Factors that affect sender reputation include email engagement rates, spam complaints, email content and formatting, and the presence of spam triggers.
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