EMAILS, EMAILS, EMAILS are everything in this new Digital World. They can drive up your sales and give you more leads than ever. It needs to be done right, though. Getting them leads to mesh with you and convert them is critical. You want to hit high levels of conversion across the board.
As email marketers, we strive to produce great content and work. Whether that is if we build upon emails that drive brand awareness and engage our customers to entice them to interact with us, emails that make good interaction and engagement can boost your Sender Score and Deliverability fame. Your email sender reputation is a significant factor. You are looking at whether or not the email you send is going to reach a user’s inbox. You want to make the most of emails as they are an excellent tool for you and your business. With this in mind, you also need to be aware of SEO and the effect it could have on your domains.
Making sure you have a good email sender reputation involves a range of factors and aspects. Including the following IP warming rules, having a clean email list, and making sure you’re in consent with legal regulations. The dark art of Email sending reputation is made up of multiple complex calculations. Used to show the trust and credibility of the email sender and make sure they are also a valid sender and not spam. In a nut-shell, Deliverability Reputations are based on three core principles as which are the following:
Interested In Email Marketing? Have a look at our blog post ‘Amazing Lead Conversion In Email Marketing’
The Core Principles
- IP Reputation: Indicates how much users want to get an email from an IP address, by measuring the responses of bounces, spam traps, or unwanted bulk mail (UBE). They are then able to make accurate tests or decisions based on the data that is obtained.
- Content Reputation: Works on a set of criteria that determine the sender’s quality by their email campaign content. Content that is unique, relevant, and engaging to subscribers stand the best chance of reaching the customer. It’s the famous phrase of quality over quantity and making sure that your leads and customers are happy with your content. No matter what sector you are in.
- Domain Reputation: Things like domain age, how the domain identifies across the web, and whether it detects in the entertainment, advertising, finance, or education industries can all impact your domain reputation. You are always going to want to target people who are linked to your sector. Making sure you are viable within that sector is a big big thing to consider.
IP and Content Reputation can easily be fixed and improved by adopting some best practices of sending. However, Domain Reputation is often the most difficult to decide and build as it involves critical decisions in defining the reputation of a brand identity. Deciding on a domain name to use for sending your marketing emails is often the first hurdle businesses face when deploying their Marketing Automation platform. This sending domain is most visible and evident to your subscribers when (if) your email arrives in their inbox.
Top Level Domains
Though an immediate temptation might be to use your corporate domain Top Level Domain (TLD) e.g., @gravitai.com, it’s an industry best practice never to send marketing communications using corporate fields. Any reputation damage caused by spamming will severely impact the deliverability of your corporate (non-marketing and business-critical) emails. This means that your primary domain could be damaged. A better format would be to use a field such as .email!
The industry recommendation is to use a subdomain of your parent domain, e.g., @hello.gravitai.com, or to alternatively register a separate Top Level Domain (TLD) specifically for sales and marketing communications, e.g., @mail-gravitai.com or @gravitai.email as then all notifications and emails can be run through these domains.
By using this approach, you reduce the risk of brand damage to your corporate domain. The domain and subdomains that you send from are one of the factors that impact your reputation, and just like in real life, a parent (area) has a separate reputation from its (subdomain) children.
Using subdomains to send all mass communication can help to mitigate the negative consequences of situations where your company finds itself blacklisted by ISPs or, in many cases, where spam has come into play.
By establishing separate sending sub-domains for Commercial Vs. Transactional, you will also get a better insight into the different results that you’re seeing in your reputation monitor, as it will simplify the process of identifying which emails are struggling and why.
- Transactional Domain: alerts.gravitai.com
- Commercial Domain: hello.gravitai.com
Ultimately, ISPs decide through their datasets whether you send useful emails or not. For B2B senders, many corporate businesses will operate strict inbox filtering tools for their employee’s email accounts.
A key challenge many B2B email senders face is a natural turnover of bouncing email addresses as corporate email addresses are closed when an employee (your subscriber) leaves the business.
So while Reputation Scores might be a good indication of email sending practices, fixing it from low to high does not automatically guarantee that all email campaigns will land in the inbox. The best way to fix email sending is to look at the source and focus on deliverability (the rate at which a sender’s email campaigns land into the inbox, as opposed to the spam folder). Focus on communicating with your most engaged customers and accept that old/non-engaged customers should be deleted.
The Brand And Identity
Much like your website URL, branding is essential. Maintaining brand-recognition between your email sending domain and your corporate brand is critical. Your email sending domain should work together with your website domain name to create a cohesive brand so your subscriber can recognize and trust your brand as a reputable email sender.
You should avoid domain branding, which appears to the end-user as spam-like or untrustworthy. Avoid any keywords which would appear to have negative connotations to a recipient.
Contrary to popular sentiment, the internet does not need to end with .com. As the Web expanded, new Top Level Domains (TLDs) have become more frequent and accepted, especially by users who have grown up with the Web. With the introduction of Generic top-level domains (gTLDs), a common question has arisen as to whether the sending reputation of these gTLDs would differ from the sending status from the traditional Top-Level-Domains (TLDs). e.g., .com, .net or other country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) e.g., .co.uk, .com.au.
If you are looking for a .email domain, then this is a generic top-level domain (gTLD) that has become an attractive alternative for email marketing purposes. The .email gTLD is a new namespace suitable for the communications industry and is perfect for email platforms, inbox zero guides, and training tools.
For the simple reason, that .email domain is a generic top-level domain (gTLD) that has become an attractive alternative for email marketing purposes. The .email gTLD is a new namespace suitable for the communications industry and is perfect for email platforms, inbox zero guides, and training tools.
gTLDs & TLDs
Experts predict gTLDs will become as common as traditional domain endings. Many prominent businesses have adopted or switched to new TLDs alike, giving them more legitimacy for others to do the same. The only flip side of this is that there will always be people who are unfamiliar with the new endings. They are being created every day for different reasons.
There is a common misconception that .com has the best chance of topping search engine rankings and email deliverability. It’s a myth. Yes, it can be searched on a global scale, but it may not be the best option for you and your website. The fact is, every TLD can rank in the top positions if SEO and deliverability, provided best practices are conducted within your pages, blogs, and website were possible. Though .com is the most popular extension, it’s for that reason; it’s frequently ranked in top positions for companies all over the world.
It’s worth noting that in the eyes of Google and other search engines, all TLDs are equal to each other. New gTLDs and TLDs won’t carry any inherent SEO value, but neither will they be seen as inferior to .com. This is brilliant for most as for people who are building campaigns in most cases; their desired domain could be snapped up—a significant benefit to all areas.
It’s generally accepted that if your email has quality content and your IP Sending Reputation and Sender Score is right, then there are no reasons why a sending domain would be penalized. It’s almost like you following the rules. Unfortunately, there is little open-information and documented analytics on the performance of using gTLDs to compare to each other.
We’ve found through speaking our client’s who have used .email domains for their marketing communications and also testing their fields, that although they were skeptical and cautious at first when doing this. After following best practice IP Warming and Subscriber List Management, they identified no negative implications for using such generic top-level domains as they could see the results.
Domain Sender Policy
Provided you have correctly configured the domain’s Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Email (DKIM), and have adequately maintained a clean subscriber list and performed optimal IP Warming. The building of brand and customer reputation and their familiarity with your email address is driven hugely by the content you send and who you send it too. This would all depend on the company.
The most common Spam Filtering Software is SpamAssassin, which is very widely used to filter mail and putting a stop to spam mail. Both in its open-source version and buried anonymously deep inside many commercial spam filters and filtering appliances that can be used. Many ISPs offering Email Inboxes will use SpamAssassin to do pre-mailing content checks on individual emails or domains. Or we are looking at why content-based filters are objecting to a particular email in their systems and further. It’s very widely deployed, and influential far beyond the size of it’s implemented base. Another commonly used alternative within the corporate enterprises is Mimecast, which operates very similarly to SpamAssassin. For our investigation, we have assessed SpamAssassin. Both are useable options for the testing of domains, however.
SpamAssassin is a score-based spam filter that is aimed at domains. It checks an email against hundreds of rules, adds up the scores of each provision that matches. In typical setups, decides the mail is spam if the total score is five or more. Here are a few of the rules and scores (from the 2006 version of SpamAssassin). This can be seen in the graph below.
- 1.392 Advance Fee Fraud (Nigerian, 419).
- 0.493 Refers to an erectile drug.
- 1.995 Subject contains G a p p y T e x t.
- 0.496 Message is 40-50% HTML.
- 2.100 From domain has a series of 7 consonants.
- 1.635 Possible porn – Hardcore Porn.
- 2.013 Contains a URL in the BIZ top-level domain.
- 1.273 Contains a URL in the INFO top-level domain.
With the SPAMHAUS Top 10 of “bad” TLDs (June 2019), as shown below. You are indicating common “bad” domains based on the number of Bad Domains Detections Vs. The Number of Active Domains Observed. It’s wise to avoid using common ‘spammy’ gTLDs in your branding as this would mean more people would think your company or email was false.
|Rank||Domain||% Observed Vs Bad||Badness Index|
Way back in 2004. The SpamHaus Project pushed ICANN to create a new trusted sender system using a .mail top-level domain that could be used. SpamHaus proposed that such TLD would provide a way for email recipients and leads alike. This was to ensure that organizations send incoming mail that was reputable, and people knew. It would also stop scamming that the registered party agrees to abide by certain anti-spam mailing practices. Though their intentions were honorable and were excellent, as expected. The proposal proved controversial and, from a technical perspective, proved troublesome for most. As the .mail domain was considered so central to private networks’ internal functioning that they can’t be allowed onto the public internet and to be used for public use.
This shows why.email has become a very appealing gTLD for email marketing and further companies. It’s evident what it’s intended use is for. And what the sender’s intentions are also for. It gives a clear message and can be used for campaigns such as sign-ups!
The .email domain is low on the SpamHaus index. You are perhaps saying that the registry is doing an excellent job of enforcing policies and shunning abusers rather than the usual domains that are picked, as you can see below.
|Rank||Domain||% Observed Vs Bad||Badness Index|
Want to learn even more about TLDs have a look ‘here’
Before you settle on a domain to register from the ones you have seen, take a moment to check if the TLD you’re deciding on appears on any email blocklists. This is a crucial step you need to take. If there’s anything to suggest the gTLD is viewed with contempt online, that could be a bad sign. We recommend avoiding such a TLD. It will make your website look like it could be spam, which isn’t a good thing. This could also make leads, users, and visitors less likely to visit your site.
The only arena we truly see being impacted by the influx of new gTLDs is email (signup) validation that can be found in emails and websites. Depending on the depth of current email validation setups for different vendors, the impact will vary. B2B email senders might find tighter controls by the subscriber’s corporate spam filters as a workaround that way.
For owners of .email domains, should you choose to subscribe and sign up to 3rd party sites/subscriptions with a .email address for not only you but further research purposes. Then you might find that some web form validations may reject gTLDs as a valid email once you have signed up. As they are using outdated regex scripts or a hard-coded list of acceptable TLDs. Likewise, you should also consider your own web-form and CRM email validations practices that you could possibly use. As its highly likely that your customers will soon register their own gTLD domain as their own.