Deliverability Spotlight: Help Your Subscribers Help You!

Greg Robinson

How your subscribers can improve your sender reputation

In recent history, many email clients have implemented some layer of filtering–or perhaps I should say “routing”–that is based on historical actions of your subscribers.  This means that your subscribers can influence your sender reputation, and with it the success (or failure) of your email campaigns, based on their engagement with messages you’ve sent them.  While some things are within your control (proper list building, message copy and targeting), user engagement isn’t under your direct control.

So, what actions can your subscribers take that could help improve your reputation as a sender?

Adding your address to their safe senders list

This is an oldie, but it can still be effective.  I think it’s obvious why marking you as a safe sender can help your reputation.  However, I believe that you probably DON’T want to start your email off with a line asking them to do so if you see that you have a significant mobile readership.  Don’t waste the valuable real estate at the top of your email with the direction to add you to their safe sender list.

Clicking through on content links

Clicks on content links show ISPs that recipients like your content and trust you, the sender.  Send messages that include enough information to get subscribers’ attention, but make them click on a link to see the full story.  Be sure to have a clear call to action, so they know where to click!  When you include images in your message, link them to relevant landing pages.  And don’t forget, people like to click on images, too!

Replying to your email

When a subscriber replies to your email, it demonstrates to their ISP that they recognize you and want to continue the conversation.  It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: your email should be like a conversation.  Engage your subscribers and encourage a direct response from them.

Opening multiple times

Subscribers opening multiple messages reinforces their trust in you, the sender, and it also shows a long term relationship between you.  This is one reason you should be targeting as accurately as possible and only sending relevant content to your subscribers.  If the content isn’t relevant, subscribers lose interest and stop opening your messages.  They may even go a step further and unsubscribe or hit the dreaded “Report Spam” button in their email client.  Too many of these spam complaints can cause issues with delivery, even to those subscribers that DO want your message!

Clicking “Not Junk” on your message

When subscribers retrieve your message from the junk folder, it means the message is important and the sender is trusted.  While you can’t really make subscribers go look for your message in the junk mail folder, you can improve your chances of retrieval by making your email recognizable.  If you are constantly changing the “From” address or creating subject lines that don’t help identify who the message is from, your chances of having a message marked “Not Junk” are slim.  Consistent sending patterns also help here, as subscribers get used to seeing your messages at some regular interval; if it doesn’t show up when expected, they may look for it in the junk folder.

While these subscriber actions aren’t the most significant factor in your sender reputation, they could be the deciding factor in whether your messages are ultimately placed in the junk folder or the inbox, where you want them to be.

About the Author
Greg Robinson

As the Deliverability Manager at Informz, Greg Robinson oversees all client deliverability inquiries, maintains relationships with ISPs and anti-spam entities, and enforces anti-spam policy. Greg educates clients on best practices and strategy, working to correct existing and avoid future delivery issues to maximize deliverability rates.