5 dirty habits that impact your sender reputation and why it matters

email deliverability Feb 27, 2019

“An' I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation. Oh no, not me.” — Joan Jett

Joan Jett may not care about her reputation, but you probably care about yours.

But if you’re like most Realtors, you probably have some unintentional but dirty habits when it comes to your email marketing. And these habits can negatively impact your sender reputation. Here’s why you should care:

Your sender reputation is a lot like your credit score. If you have a poor sender reputation, it means Internet service providers (ISPs) may skip your subscribers’ inboxes and deliver your email campaigns to their spam folders, or reject your campaigns outright.

Numerous factors determine your sender reputation, including but not limited to the following:

  • The amount of email you send
  • How many recipients mark your emails as spam or otherwise complain to the ISP about your campaigns
  • How often your emails hit the ISP’s spam trap
  • Your inclusion on different blacklists
  • How many of your emails bounce
  • How many recipients open, reply to, forward, and delete your messages, as well as click the links inside them
  • How many recipients unsubscribe from your email list

There are many metrics you can monitor that will reveal the health of your list, such as open rate, click-through rate, abuse complaints, unsubscribes, and bounce rate. But today, I’d like to take a look at five dirty habits that drive these metrics and impact your list health and sender reputation.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Adding people to your list without express permission

It's not illegal to add people to your list without permission, but it's not a best practice. 

Let's talk consent for a second. There are three types: no consent (You add an email address to your list without permission), implied consent (You add the email address of someone you know—friend, client, lead—without permission), and express consent (You add the email address of an individual to your list who has given you permission).

Express consent may seem like a real drag when it comes to building your email list, but yes is always best.

Here's why:

  • You demonstrate that you value the trust and privacy of your clients, peers, and friends.
  • It strengthens your brand because your subscribers want to hear from you. If you’re sending without permission, it may dilute your brand because people may not like your intrusion on their inbox.
  • Your sender reputation is better, and so is your email deliverability.
  • Subscribers interested in what you’re offering will improve your open and click-through rates
  • Your unsubscribe and abuse rates will decrease

Dive deeper into consent here and email compliance here.

Sending something instead of something of value

Why attach your name and reputation to information of little or no value to your clients, leads, and peers? They deserve better, and you can do better.

Your granular knowledge of the city, insights about real estate, and personality make up your unique awesome position. Please use that and spark a little joy by sending emails that add value to the lives of your subscribers.

Settling for showing up in subscriber's inboxes

Showing up in your subscribers' inboxes is a good thing. But if you think that's good enough, your bar is way too low.

If you settle for showing up, it's likely you're sending something instead of something of value. Because you're happy when people simply notice your name in their inbox.

This dirty habit will bite you in the ass. If you're not offering something of value, your email may show up, but it will likely be deleted or remain in email purgatory (unopened). Both ding your sender score and, when it happens often enough, your emails won't show up in your subscribers' inboxes. 

Obsessing with quantity not quality

Bigger is not always better, my friend. The size of your list is not what matters; engagement is everything.

If you spend a lot of resources importing lists you get from third parties—stop! This practice puts your sender reputation and email deliverability at risk. 

And if you're playing it loose with your sender reputation and email deliverability, it’s likely you’re overlooking critical CAN-SPAM requirements—like honoring unsubscribe requests within 10 days.

Violating CAN-SPAM requirements will bust your budget. According to the Federal Trade Commission: “Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $41,484.”

Blasting the same information to everyone on your list

 Being relevant is incredibly important, and when you opt to send information to everyone on your list—relevance is lost. 

I think it's natural to want to get things done, and that's why we blast the same info to everyone on our list. One and done! 

But when we're truly focused on our subscribers as people—not as entries in our database—we understand there are naturally occurring groups within our list and they require different things from us. And that's when our marketing becomes more human, we build better connections and relationships, and we make more sales as a result.

Now what?

We all have dirty habits that prevent our marketing from achieving the results we want. And these habits usually arise because we're pressed for time. Totally human.

If you have some dirty habits (email marketing-related, natch) you'd like to clean up, I'm here to help. There's no reason for you to do anything less than your best.

Image: By Jessie Pearl - Flickr: joan jett, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21217095



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