7 ways to improve a damaged email sender reputation

7 ways to improve a damaged email sender reputation

Once damage has been done to your email sender reputation, the deliverability and overall success of email marketing can be severely impacted.

In this blog, we explore the different ways you can take control of your sender reputation, and the actions you should prioritise to drive success for your future email marketing campaigns, including reviewing your account performance, cleaning your email lists, implementing email verification and more.


How to improve a damaged sender reputation

Thanks to the intelligent algorithms used by internet service providers (ISPs) and mailbox providers (MBPs) to filter incoming mail and protect inboxes, the data used to evaluate sender reputation is ever-expanding.

This can be overwhelming for marketers when it comes to addressing a damaged email sender reputation. However, there are a wide range of actions you can take to start rebuilding your reputation and improve the performance of your future campaigns:

  1. Review your email performance over time 
  2. Identify your problem metrics
  3. Review the content of the emails you've been sending
  4. Clean your email list and identify priority contacts
  5. Send a re-permission campaign
  6. Enable double opt-in and reCAPTCHA
  7. Implement email verification 

Learn more about each of these steps below. 

1. Review your email performance over time

Sender reputation is built up over time, taking into account all positive and negative aspects of your past email activity. As a marketer, it can be easy to focus on the results of your current or most recent campaign. However, gaining a more complete overview of your account’s performance over time will allow you to identify where your emails and your metrics started to deteriorate. You can then use this information to find opportunities to improve your future campaigns.

2. Identify your problem metrics

Successful email marketing campaigns are delivered to the right people, with the right content, at the right time. Assessing how closely your past campaigns have achieved each of these goals will help you to identify which areas you should review as a priority.

If your emails saw an increase in bounce rate, this could indicate low quality contacts in your email lists. Or, if you notice consistently low engagement rates, or an increase in spam reports or unsubscribes, this may show a lack of relevance in your email content or the time at which it was sent.

3. Review the content of the emails you’ve been sending

A lack of relevance and effective targeting can severely impact the performance of your campaigns and in turn cause your reputation to deteriorate. Aspects you should review include:

  • Subject lines - Using words such as free, offer, discount and guarantee are likely to trigger spam filters
  • URLs and links - Assess the quality of any links included in your email copy and whether those links are secure
  • Shortened URLs - These should be avoided as they can appear suspicious
  • Targeting - Are you effectively targeting your customers with your content? Using dynamic content can help to make your emails more relevant.

4. Clean your email lists and identify priority contacts

Over time your valuable contact lists can evolve into one of your biggest problems in terms of deliverability. If lists are not managed and cleaned regularly, you run the risk of sending to inactive subscribers, disengaged contacts, disposable or spam email addresses and spam traps. Removing these problematic addresses using a bulk email checker, removing completely inactive subscribers, and filtering out contacts who have not given permission to receive your emails are just some of the ways to clean your email lists.

Once your email lists have been reviewed, you can identify your most-engaged contacts. These recipients who regularly open and engage with your emails should be your priority contacts as you are rebuilding your reputation. By condensing the list of people you are sending to, you can more easily tailor your communications which will help to improve your engagement metrics.

5. Send a re-permission campaign

As you focus on sending to permissions-based lists, it is a good idea to launch a re-permission campaign. By sending this to contacts who occasionally or rarely engage with your campaigns but have not met the criteria to be removed completely, you will give them a fresh opportunity to update their permissions or choose to unsubscribe.

You can use this campaign to re-emphasise the value your communications offer and encourage engagement. It will also act as a way to further clean your email lists and prevent you from contacting disengaged contacts in the future.

6. Enable double opt in and reCAPTCHA

Adding double opt-in and reCAPTCHA to your sign up process helps ensure that you build a contact list that is likely to be more engaged in the future. These processes also prevent spam addresses and bots from completing your sign up forms and adding problematic addresses to your lists.

7. Implement email verification

Email verification tools carry out checks on email addresses in real time and tell you whether they are valid, able to receive incoming emails, and likely to belong to a real person.

Most email verification products allow you to either import a list of the email addresses you want to verify, or alternatively connect them directly to your business systems and sign up forms to verify emails the moment you capture them. Whichever method you choose, it's worth making this a routine part of your email marketing strategy so you can identify and address potential risks to your sender reputation before they have an impact. This will also prevent you from unintentionally contacting:

  • Known spam traps
  • Disposable email addresses
  • Spam or fraudulent addresses
These addresses can be extremely hard to spot and can be the unknown cause of email sender issues. To learn more about email verification and the benefits to email marketers, 

Download our guide for a masterclass in email verification.


Despite email sender reputation being a complex calculation, the key factors and metrics which influence it are within your control as a marketer.

By implementing these tools and techniques, you can start to improve your current sender reputation, while also preventing any future damage being done.


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Written by: Lisa

Wednesday, 30 March 2022