Couch to 5K:Training to Become a Winner in Sender Reputation

Amanda DeLuke

A trustworthy sender reputation is crucial to getting your message delivered into your subscribers inbox. Ready to become a winner in sender reputation? Here are our training tips to get your messages to the finish line.

Get Ready…

You might have heard about the training program designed to get just about anyone from the couch to running 5 kilometers in just 9 weeks. Well, you should consider using this same training program with your sender reputation.

But, before getting started, you need the proper equipment, like running shoes, right? Well, before starting your 5K training (er, sending) it is highly recommended that your sender authentication is in place.

Get Set…

When you send from a brand new IP address, it is important to warm it first, similar to how you would warm and stretch your muscles before physical activity. If you sprint too quickly out of the gate, you are more prone to injury or harming your reputation. Let’s say (just to keep the 5K theme going here), it’s your first mailing and you are sending to 5,000 recipients at once. We recommend that you send to smaller lists over the course of days or even weeks until you can slowly ramp up to your full recipient list. After each smaller list is sent, it is advised to check your non-delivery reports for any complaints, blocks, soft or hard bounces. If you are finding that many emails are not being delivered, then it is wise to slow down your sending. If you run too fast before your body is ready, you may get injured!

Keep in mind that larger ISPs (Internet Service Providers) may view new sending activity on an IP address as spam and could result in a block (which most often can be removed).


Let’s look at a sample of what a training (sorry, “sender”!) schedule looks like for a 5K recipient list:


Sample schedule based on 5,000 recipients
# of recipients Send time length
Day 1 500 24+ hrs (distributed option)
Day 2 1,000 24+ hrs (distributed option)
Day 3 1,500 24+ hrs (distributed option)
Day 4 2,000 24+ hrs (distributed option)
*Check your delivery reports following each completed send


Just because you are a champ at sending in smaller batches and getting positive results doesn’t mean you won’t get blocked due to content or for other reasons. Warming up your IP address doesn’t make you exempt from other bad practices. Be sure to always check your content, subject line, subscriber list, and make sure an unsubscribe link is present before each mailing is sent.

Maintaining Your Sending Strength

Now that you’ve done all of that training (sending), don’t lose out on that benefit! You’ve gained so much, so now you need to maintain your sender reputation. Here are some tips:

  • Send at a consistent volume. Try to avoid significant spikes and dips in frequency and list size.
  • Ensure that the domains you use through Informz use the proper sender authentication.
  • Maintain an active list of engaged subscribers as well as opt-outs and unsubscribers. Remember that you will not send to opt-outs and unsubscribers!
  • Check your mailing content for spam triggers (exposed URLs, short links, excessive image use, suspicious subject lines, etc.)
  • Unsubscribe hard and repeat bouncers (Informz has an auto-unsubscribe feature that can help). Also, provide a clear way for recipients to unsubscribe from your mailings. Recipients are less likely to mark an email as spam when this is easy to do. Periodically test the functionality of your opt-out/unsubscribe process to ensure that it is working correctly.
  • Run a monthly report to understand the reasons your recipients have chosen to unsubscribe from your mailings.
  • Avoid using any lists that have not been directly obtained by your organization. These may contain spam trap email addresses and increase complaints.
  • Always send your mailings out in the smallest possible batches. Target your message to smaller groups!
  • Remember to send mailings to your subscribers in a recognizable pattern (use similar Friendly From lines and addresses, send at a consistent frequency, etc.).

But, I Don’t Feel Like Warming Up!

Sound like too much work? Well, think of it this way… it is easier not to get injured in the first place then be injured and have to go through the healing process. Try your best not to harm your reputation as it is harder to recover then just preventing it. Go ahead, train for a successful 5K. You can do it!

Need some inspiration? Check out how the National Restaurant Association went from a 72% deliverability rate and complete blog from Yahoo to a 92.5% deliverability rate in one month.

About the Author
Amanda DeLuke

As a Deliverability Specialist, Amanda helps with client sender reputation, abuse management, and internal deliverability process. When she is not busy at work, she enjoys playing the alto sax, mountain biking, and chasing after her identical twin boys.