While email has become the standard of communication, people leave the majority of messages they have received unread, oftentimes without even reading the subject.

Due to the filtering services provided by most email clients, long gone are the days of digging through dodgy spam messages for important messages, with specific folders now designating what is important and what is promotional material, social media, etc., with the spam of yesteryear never even making it into the inbox.

But how do these clients determine what is spam? And how can you bring your message to potential customers while navigating these standards? The key lies in what is referred to as a Sender Score.

Return Path, a marketing company that has pioneered the metric, has defined Sender Score as “a number between 0 and 100 that identifies your sender reputation and shows you how mailbox providers view your IP address”. Very much in the same vein as a credit score with a bank, Sender Score is used by email clients to determine if you are reputable to deal with and gain access to their users.

This score is integral in expanding your message, with Return Score’s 2016 Sender Score Benchmarkrevealing that marketers in the 91-100 range reach 95% of their audience and avoid falling into spam folders, while those in the 81-90 range reach 90% and those in the 71-80 range reach 76%. Marketers scoring below 70 will find that nearly all of their messages have been set to spam or blocked. Return Path’s research has determined that only 28% of all emails will reach the inbox.

What exactly determines a Sender Score varies with each email client, but the most obvious blemish in a sender score has become users marking unsolicited emails as spam, a common occurrence for those in the business of buying email lists. Return Path has found that senders with a score above 70 average a complaint rate of .47% while its lowest rated senders average 2.38%. Other factors that determine a low Sender Score include sending to non-existent email addresses, falling into spam traps and appearing on blacklists, all common results from purchasing email lists secured inappropriately.

More often than not, cultivating a following through those interested over time will pay off over the shortcut of buying a mass of emails and playing the numbers game, particularly as email clients become savvier.

While avoiding the spam distinction is the path to a respectable sender score, the 2016 Sender Score Benchmark notes that subscriber engagement is the way to move towards the top of the spectrum and receive placement in the primary inboxes of email clients. Senders can maintain respectable scores by simply sending to interested parties, but developing your relationship with subscribers and encouraging dialogue with your emails instead of shouting your message into the abyss is the key for those looking for an edge in email marketing.

Having a knowledge of your sender score and taking the time to improve it should be a priority for any business owner or online marketer. Not only would a focus on the most essential route of delivering your message be beneficial, what defines a high Sender Score goes hand in hand with what defines a good business relationship. Sender Scores shouldn’t be looked at as an arbitrary benchmark to get into an inbox, but instead as a mark of respectability for one’s business.



Terrence Smith

Terrence Smith

Terrence has previously written articles for Basketball Ireland, Creative Loafing and Hot Press. He is currently a content writer for Connectors Marketplace.


Terrence Smith

Posted by Terrence Smith

Terrence has previously written articles for Basketball Ireland, Creative Loafing and Hot Press. He is currently a content writer for Connectors Marketplace.

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