By George Bilbrey
Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is; the tree is the real thing.
In email, Character is Reputation. And, while reputation has become the latest buzz word in the email industry, often it is difficult for marketers to find the road to an improved reputation with so many catchphrases clouding the space. The truth is, every marketer who sends email has a reputation, whether they know it or not, whether they actively manage it or not. That reputation dictates if their email reaches the inbox.
There are no shortcuts. You can’t just publish SPF records and stop. You can’t just pay more to get unwelcome email through (at least we hope things never get to that point, despite AOL’s Goodmail announcement this week). You can’t just send whatever you please, whenever you please, and expect your deliverability team to “make a call” and remove a block. However, following the best practices that build you reputation isn’t hard, and it’s likely what you want to be doing anyway to improve response rates and grow your file with active subscribers.
Reputation is so important, and so powerful, it’s no wonder that every email vendor, consultant and hardware manufacturer on the planet is starting to use the “R” word to describe their offering. We see a new use of it every day. This makes for very confusing jargon for marketers to decipher and decide what to focus on. Let’s clear things up.
Findings from a study of one major ISP by Return Path’s Sender Score reputation management service shows there are three primary reputation factors that directly correlate to email deliverability. Our study showed that while repuation can be based on a wide spectrum of factors and can be confused with other industry terms, 90 percent of delivery issues were affected by three factors that really matter — the THREE B’s of Reputation:
Use whatever service you need to help get your reputation in order and to keep tabs on it, but the onus is on you to be vigilant about keeping it pristine. If you don’t know what your reputation is with ISPs, find out with a free Reputation Assessment. It is the one thing you can do today that will give you actionable data you can use to fix your reputation, get more email delivered, and increase program response.