To get into college, you had to keep up good grades. You had to work hard, do your homework, and finally send in the application. Bottom line: you had to convince that college admissions board to let you in based on past performance. The same applies for being let in to an email inbox—your reputation matters.
Reputation is the biggest determinant in email deliverability. Period. Hands down.
Group Projects: The Collegiate Equivalent to Shared IP Addresses
Before we dig into the ways to keep your grade up, you’d better know how you’re getting that grade in the first place: your IP address or your domain (brand) name.
An IP address is how your email gets where it’s going. Your IP address identifies your email stream.
A shared IP address is like doing group projects in college. You remember group projects in school: one person does all the work and everyone else gets the credit—or one person misses their part and everyone gets a lesser grade on the project. That is what a shared IP address gives you: no reputation control.
A domain relies on the reputation of your brand. If you are Nike, this is a great strategy. Some brands are strong enough to get through to the subscriber by name dropping alone—just like those kids whose families have been at that prestigious university for years. Hey, don’t blame them for their luck. But for the rest of us filling out applications, here are the best practices to keep your email reputation at the top of the class.
Email Reputation Rules
1. 60 percent of the time, it works every time (the rule about email best practices)
There is no magic number of emails to send per campaign. There is no formula that works every time. But, generally speaking, the best frequency for emails is a new campaign every two weeks. If you’re sending a promotional email, most subscribers are down with a once a week email. There will be some variance based on your particular niche, of course, but these five steps to your optimal email frequency should start you on the right track.
(There is also no right time to send emails, but there definitely is a wrong time).
2. Give the people what they want (get to know your spam complaints)
Sometimes the best way to see what someone does want is to pay attention to what they don’t want. According to Teradata, when you run a domain distribution report for each message sent you typically see the following reasons for a spam complaint:
Subject line, content, frequency, and content/ frequency mismatch.
Use your ISP feedback loop (FBL) to see what your market’s spam triggers are in these areas so you can avoid them.
3. Apply to the top schools (segmenting subscribers)
You didn’t just cut and paste your college application to 100 different schools and hope that somewhere let you in. You probably targeted your top schools and made sure to spend extra time getting to know the right things to put in that application to give you the best competitive advantage. Do that with your emails.
The engagement pros at Hubspot recommend you reach a specific market segment with relevant content through lead nurturing and content mapping. Bottom line: Know where you are aiming and get the right content there.
After all is said and done, you can’t get in at every place you apply. But by timing your emails, avoiding spam triggers, and targeting market segments, you will improve your reputation to get that coveted spot in your subscriber’s inbox.