Most marketers know that search engines use domain and page authority to rate the quality of content providers. Higher authority improves your placement and gets you more views.

However, many marketers are still not aware that almost one-fifth of quality subscriber emails will never make it to the inbox. It is your sender reputation that drives emails to spam or to the inbox.



The judge and jury when it comes to your sender reputation are the email providers themselves: Google for Gmail, Yahoo for Yahoo Mail, etc.

Each provider has its own algorithm for determining where every email it receives will end up.

On average, providers decide that 18% of permission-based emails will never reach the inbox.

That’s a scary (and annoying) stat.

It means that after everything you’ve done to create great subjects, fix your sender field, and fill your email body with valuable content, you still have another hoop to jump through.

82% of email delivery failures are caused by sender reputation

So, knowing that email providers determine your reputation and that the bulk of email deliverability is based on that reputation, how can you fix it?

Unlike subject line and content best practices that require hours per month, fixing a bad sender reputation is easy-ish.

Many fixes are one-time fixes, and ongoing fixes should take less than 10 minutes per month (or almost no time if you can automate them).


How many emails are you losing to poor sender reputation?

To recap: 18% of emails don’t make it to the inbox, and 82% of those are based on your sender reputation.

This means that improving your sender reputation can help 14.72% of “lost” emails make it to the inbox.

Here’s a quick reference chart based on global averages. For your industry, we have a chart available here. Average monthly sends is 5, with financial services being the highest at 12.2 sends per month.

Monthly send volume

List size Monthly send volume Bounced




Inbox placed


10,000 50,000 1,000 9,000 39,500
100,000 500,000 10,000 90,000 395,000
1,000,000 5,000,000 100,000 900,000 3,950,000


How to recover your 9, 90, or 900k monthly lost emails

If you fix your sender reputation, you fix your deliverability problem.

And what is dragging down your reputation? The bounced emails in column three. In other words, the 2% bounce is causing 18% not to make it to the inbox.

So removing bounced emails should solve the problem, right?

Unfortunately not. After the bounce is too late. Your reputation has already taken the hit.


Sender reputation checklist

The key to improving sender reputation is to identify yourself to the email providers and have a plan to avoid future bounces.


Emails without proper authentication have a high chance of being rejected or placed in spam. Take the time to register yourself properly with all of the major email providers to increase your sender reputation.

These quick fixes are the bare minimum for a quality sender reputation:

  • Publish an SPF record (5 minutes)
  • Publish a DMARC policy (5 minutes)
  • Register your IP addresses with email providers (10 minutes)
  • Verify your email list for deliverability (10 minutes)


general best practices

  • Only email people who want to receive your emails
  • Avoid spikes in traffic and instead sprinkle your emails over time
  • Avoid common spam language in the subject line
  • Always include an unsubscribe link


Routine checklist (30–60 minutes)

The larger the email list, the more changes can happen in a short period of time. Adding new emails, sending the wrong email, and receiving negative feedback or having a large number of users change their email address leaving the current one invalid can all impact you on a monthly basis.

These top fixes will improve your email send quality and increase your reputation with email providers:

  • Verify your current email lists or newly acquired lists before importing (5 minutes) – Test email verification free
  • Integrated real-time email verification into your forms (10 minutes) – More information here
  • Sign email messages with a DKIM greater than 1,024 (10 minutes)
  • Bonus: Opt out users who have marked your content as spam (30 minutes). Use each email provider’s feedback loop (available in their postmaster tools) to identify users that have marked you as spam so you can unsubscribe them.