Four Basics That Can Keep Your Reputation and Your Email Deliverability Intact


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tip-imageFor those of you who want a quick and simple overview of some basics to keep in mind when thinking about your email reputation, here’s a short and helpful list to get you started: 

1. Keep a clean list, avoid traps

A clean, well-managed subscriber list can be your best asset.“Dirty” lists–those with out-of-date information, are a leading cause of deliverability failures and are sure to damage your sending reputation. List hygiene is the process of removing “bad” addresses in a timely manner. Good list hygiene practices are essential if you want to avoid spam traps and keep your bounce rates low–key drivers of your reputation.

If a lot of your mail is bouncing back, it means your subscribers aren’t engaged and you’re not keeping up-to-date with them. It also indicates that your list hygiene practices are not up to industry standards. If you sound like a spammer, you look like a spammer to an ISP. And if that’s the case, your email isn’t going to get delivered! There is no better way to assure consistent deliverability success than by regularly cleansing your list of hard bounces, unknown users, and other inactive addresses. SendGrid’s real-time Event API is a great start–it provides instant information like opens, bounces, and unsubscribe requests for individual subscriber records.

2. Send a welcome message

Welcome messages are the cornerstone of a well-run email program. When was the last time you signed up for a new online service and didn’t receive an immediate message confirming the sign up? Welcome messages (like other types of transactional email) are more than confirmations: they’re an opportunity to engage with subscribers and start the relationship off on the right foot.

3. Adhere to the CAN-SPAM Act

Complying with the federal CAN-SPAM Act is not difficult. The requirements are straightforward and most legitimate programs were adhering to these standards long before they were legally required. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Have a working unsubscribe mechanism in the footer and/or header of all email communications. A link to your preference center is also a good idea, but make sure the removal can be done in a few clicks.
  • Include your official business street address in the footer of all email communications. This should be your corporate headquarters or another address where official communications are handled. It cannot be a PO Box.
  • Handle all unsubscribe requests within 10 business days. This means when someone asks to be removed from your list, you must suppress that email address from future mailings within 10 business days. This is the minimum, and ideally the suppression should occur within 24 hours.

4. Send good mail

This sounds obvious, but it’s actually harder than it sounds! There is no secret formula to sending emails that work. First, make sure you’re following the suggestions outlined above. Second, the content of your emails needs to be relevant, interesting, and aesthetically aligned with your brand. Ask yourself some basic questions before you hit “send”—will my subscribers want to read this email?  Is it a positive reflection of my brand? Overall, am I getting the right message to the right subscriber at the right time?

Keep in mind, this list isn’t an exhaustive, it’s just a tease–there’s a lot more to know! For more tips on the ins and outs of Email Deliverability, download our free Deliverability Guide.


Carly Brantz is a veteran in the email deliverability space working to make email simple and easy for developers by regularly writing whitepapers, research briefs and blog posts about email, technology and industry trends.

Carly Brantz on Twitter

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