Sender Score

The success of an email marketing campaign relies on the sender score and the sender reputation of a business or website. For novice email marketers, these terms can seem irrelevant. However, they are crucial to ensure the effectiveness of any email campaign. 

What Is a Sender Score?

A sender score is a set of numbers, ranging from 0 to 100, that reveals the reputation of the IP address used to send out the emails. This score determines the quality of the sender reputation, which then determines whether an email campaign will become successful or not. 

If the score skews towards the lower end (70 and below), it means the sender reputation needs to be repaired. 

Why It’s Important to Know the Sender Score 

Mail servers do a constant check of this score to determine what to do with the email that was sent. A sender score can affect three things: 

It can decide on the email’s deliverability

If the sender score is sound, the email service provider (ESP) will ensure it reaches the recipient’s inbox. 

It serves as crucial data on the success of an email campaign

Email data is important. When a business has a strong sender reputation, it means the email campaigns are working. This could mean there is a high engagement rate, the subscribers are opening the emails, and even replying to or engaging with it. 

It can prevent fraud and spam email from being distributed

Fraudsters often use big brand names to trick people into giving up personal information, like passwords, credit card numbers, or even an address. A strong sender score and reputation indicates that the email is from a reliable source.

Who Calculates the Sender Score?

There are programs designed by companies to calculate the sender score. These businesses collate information from the mailboxes of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to determine whether a company or IP address is sending quality emails or not. 

Companies like Return Path or SenderScore gather information and present it in the form of a score. These figures are recorded and averaged every 30 days. 

Factors Affecting the Sender Score

There are various elements influencing the result of a sender score. These include the following: 

Email frequency and volume

The number of emails sent by a business or organization can impact the score. For example, if an email campaign is successful, it will reveal a high open rate or engagement rate. A good engagement rate improves the score. However, the opposite is also true. If a company sends 10 emails a month and receives 9 complaints, it will result in a low score. 

Spam reports

The score considers how many subscribers have marked the email as spam.

Bounce rate

It records how many emails from a specific IP address gets bounced compared to other IP addresses. There are two forms of bounce. A soft bounce happens when the server denies the mail temporarily because it’s full or unavailable at the time the email was sent. However, a hard bounce happens when the mail is tagged by the server as spam, the domain is misspelled, or the email address doesn’t exist. 

Open rate and engagement

This is the rate at which an email is opened by the recipient and includes how many times it was replied to, forwarded, or how many times subscribers clicked the included links. 

Unsubscribe rate

This is the number of times readers unsubscribed after receiving the email. 

IP address reputation 

This considers the reputation of the IP address, taking note of how many email service providers or Internet service providers have it on their blacklist or on their whitelist. 

Ways to Improve the Sender Score

To improve a less than stellar sender score, there are a few key things a business can do. These are: 

  1. Being consistent with email volume. Sending the same number of emails during each schedule signals reliability. 
  2. Having a fixed schedule for when emails are sent out. For example, one email a week, six emails a month, etc. 
  3. Removing incomplete and invalid email addresses. After a campaign, it’s important to remove bounced emails so they won’t affect the score. 
  4. Providing an opt-out option for subscribers. Just like how companies make it easy to opt-in to their email list, it should also be convenient for subscribers to remove themselves from the list.   
About the Author
Koba Molenaar brings nearly a decade of rich experience in content writing, specializing in digital marketing, branding, SaaS, and eCommerce. Her passion for helping brands, from solopreneurs to established companies, connect with their audiences shines through her work. As a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Koba’s commitment to excellence is evident in her work, showcasing her as a relatable and knowledgeable voice in the industry.