What is domain reputation and how does it impact deliverability?
An email domain is the part of an email address that comes after the @ symbol. For example, when you send personal emails via Gmail, your domain is gmail.com. If you’re a business, your company likely has a designated domain that often matches the website address.
When talking about email marketing, an interesting analogy often crops up; consider your sender reputation like a credit score. A low credit score might lead to difficulties in securing loans or mortgages. And if you do secure one, you might end up with high interest rates due to the associated ‘risk’.
In a similar vein, a low sender reputation could mean a substantial chunk of your emails land straight in the spam folder, regardless of their content. Email service providers use this method to determine how recipients interact with your emails. Do they move them out of spam or let them stay there? A particularly bad reputation might even hinder your emails from reaching the inbox entirely.
Just like it takes time and good financial practices to improve a poor credit score, it requires consistent, quality email marketing practices to improve a low sender reputation.
However, maintaining a good sender reputation is tricky because each email service provider has its algorithms to assess and calculate your sender reputation. That’s why it’s crucial to take care of your sender reputation, to avoid putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Securing New Domains for Cold Email Outreach
The first rule of thumb in cold email outreach is to use dedicated domains, separate from your main business domain. For instance, if your primary domain is myblog.com, avoid using it for cold outreach. This tactic safeguards your business domain and email reputation from the risk of being marked as spam.
Your outreach domains should be similar to your main one to maintain the brand association.
Main domain: www.akhilpillai.com
Outreach domain: hello.akhilpillai.com or updates.akhilpillai.com
Remember, keep the domain names consistent, recognizable, and avoid using dashes; they’re commonly associated with phishing attempts, leading to potential deliverability issues.
Domain Warm-up Process
Once you secure your outreach domains, you’ll need to warm them up. Domain warming essentially means gradually increasing your email activity over a certain period to build a reputation with email service providers. It’s a precaution against appearing like spam, which often involves a sudden spike in email activity.
Consider this, a new domain, especially if it’s under a month old, raises suspicion among email service providers. To bypass this suspicion, allow your new domain to sit idle for a short while or warm it up very slowly over 30 days. Recommendations from many ESPs even suggest waiting at least 12 weeks before going full speed into outreach.
Some Tools for Email Warm Up
As a dedicated growth marketer juggling multiple channels, it may feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. This is precisely where email warming tools come into play. These services automate the time-consuming task of warming up emails, ensuring you establish and maintain credibility with email service providers.
While you focus on your broader strategy and the day-to-day tasks of running your campaigns, these tools work quietly in the background, building your sender reputation, and maximizing the effectiveness of your email outreach.
When choosing an email warming tool, consider these key features:
- Appropriate pace: Fast warm-up is desirable, but too fast might raise suspicions.
- Extensive network: A bigger network assists in building a good sender reputation.
- Advanced automation: Automated warming simplifies the process, saving you time.
- Detailed reporting: Tools should provide in-depth insight into your reputation and the warm-up progression.
- Value for money: Choose a high-quality tool that’s affordable and offers a free trial. Avoid overspending.
Here are some of my favourites.
- This is my favourite because they provide a a true free plan. In their free plan, we can send 3000 emails and provide support. I believe no other platform does this.For my personal blog, I am using Quickmail.
- I prefer this because it’s affordable , $15 is what they charge you and you may Get 15% lifetime discount on all their plans with the code WELCOME15.
- Provide features like: Auto-Remove from Spam, Spam score monitoring, Auto-Reply to emails, Fully custom warm-up.
- They claim that they provide a Smart warming algorithm, Multiple ESP warm up (Google, Outlook, etc.), Live blacklists and DNS check ups
- $25 /email account/ month (Little expensive)
Staying Active: The Human Touch
During the warm-up period, your focus should be on proving your ‘humanity’ to the email service provider. You need to establish that your email address isn’t being used for mass spamming, but for regular, human-like activities.
These activities include sending emails to friends, signing up for social media accounts, subscribing to newsletters, and so on. The idea is to keep the email traffic flowing in both directions – incoming and outgoing. These actions show your provider that your emails are desirable, leading to interactions and replies, which is entirely opposite to spam emails.
Cycling the Crops: Knowing When to Pivot
Just like a farmer rotates crops to maintain the soil’s productivity, email marketers need to ‘cycle the crops’ – the domains. One domain might work great for a month, two, or even three, but eventually, deliverability might start dropping due to various reasons.
How can you tell? Keep a keen eye on your open rates. A significant drop in open rates is usually an indication that it’s time to switch up the email domain you’re sending from. When this happens, it’s advisable to let the original domain ‘rest’ for about three to four weeks. During this resting period, the domain reputation often resets, allowing you to get back on track.
Contrary to what you might think, domain reputation damage isn’t permanent. If you find yourself in a difficult spot, remember that patience and appropriate rest can heal most wounds. With the right practices and careful nurturing, your email outreach can thrive, delivering your emails right where they need to be – in the inboxes of your potential clients.
Stay tuned for more insights from us, and happy emailing!