Landing (and Staying) in Your Customer's Inbox

It’s no secret that reputation can make or break a business. The opinions of your customers can have a large impact on your business. The same idea applies to your email reputation. Retaining current customers and growing customer loyalty are two main benefits of email marketing. Without a strong email reputation, you could be losing out on customer engagement and added revenue. Let’s learn more about the importance of email reputation and how that applies to deliverability, what good or bad deliverability looks like, and some tips to maximize the deliverability of email marketing for contractors.

What Is Email Deliverability?

Writing a good email is only part of the equation. Email deliverability is the ability to deliver your email to a customer’s inbox. Globally, the average inbox placement rate (IPR) was 83% in 2019—meaning one out of every six messages failed to reach their target inbox. We’re going to focus on how to make sure your emails reach their destination the right way.

Email Terminology

Before we get into the dos and don’ts of email marketing, it’s important to get some basic terminology out of the way.


  • Email provider. The company hosting email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.)
  • Email service provider. A tool for email marketing services or bulk email services (MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.)
  • Domain. A name used for either personal or business use after the @ sign in an email address. A domain is also your URL. The domain is after “www” and before “.com.”
  • ISP. Also known as the internet service provider, they’re companies that provide internet services. (AT&T, Verizon, etc.)
  • Email Reputation. A complex mixture of logic that ISPs and email providers use as a measurement to deliver email.


The important thing to remember from these definitions is that a good email reputation is what we’re aiming for. So, it’s going to take some work with all of these terms to achieve that goal.

The Mailman Scenario

Imagine that a mailman had to deliver mail to an entire block of 50 homes, each with their own mailbox. However, this gets cut down to 28 homes because the other 22 had scary dogs barking and chasing him within reach of the mailbox. A lot of mail in this neighborhood isn’t going to reach its destination.

This is an analogy for email marketing. The mailman is the email reputation, the dog is the ISP and email provider, and the mailbox is the email recipient. In order for our emails to reach their intended recipients, they need to have a great email reputation so the ISP and email providers don’t chase them away!

How Email Reputation Is Measured

Email reputation is measured by a sender reputation score, which is given by the ISP and email provider. Each one scores differently, which is why this can be so complicated. Here are three factors that ISPs and email providers use to determine whether an email is reputable or not.

Internet Protocol Reputation (IP Reputation)

This is the address that your email is coming from. IP addresses are just one tool that these systems use to find out if your business sends out reputable emails. If you’re using an email service provider, such as MailChimp, you will be using a shared IP address that many other companies use. However, MailChimp is very protective of its reputation and will suspend, or ban an account that may not be following a set of standards they’ve put in place.

Domain Reputation

What is the domain of your email address? If you’re sending emails from a Gmail or Yahoo account, it looks less reputable than an email address that belongs to a company domain. Basically, is more reputable than

Email Metrics

Your email metrics are a recipe of ingredients that show the overall reputation of your email address. These ingredients can range from spam complaints, to bounce rates that show how likely it is that your email gets flagged.


  • Open rate. This is simply the percentage of customers that opened your email campaign in relation to the number of customers it was delivered to. The higher this is, the better off your email reputation is. A strong rate is usually between 18-22% and anything above that is excellent! Anything below 18% is a great opportunity for improvement.
  • Spam complaints. Every time your email gets marked or flagged as spam, this gets logged as a spam complaint. If there are a lot of spam complaints for a single email campaign, they can cause email deliverability issues, hurt your email reputation and sender score, and they can be the quickest way for an email marketing campaign to tank.
  • Bounce rates. This is when your email cannot reach the inbox of the desired recipient. This can be due to a lack of inbox space, a nonexistent domain, or an email size limitation.
  • Spam traps. These are emails used by ISPs to find spammers and companies using poor list hygiene practices.


Improve Your Email Reputation

Now that we’ve navigated the email minefield a little bit, it’s time to talk about some practices that can help keep your business in the clear.


  • List segmentation. Target customers with a specific email campaign. Or follow-up with customers who already requested an estimate. This will keep your email list short but effective.
  • Improve subject lines. Don’t use all caps or more than one exclamation mark in your subject line. Also, be careful when using the words “deal” or “free,” these are called spam triggers and email providers may send these to the spam folder.
  • Send a final re-engagement email campaign. Sending an email titled “We Miss You!” or “Are You Still With Us?” to anyone that has never opened an email campaign is a great last attempt to re-engage previous customers before removing them from your email list.


Keep Your Email List Clean!

Your email reputation can be greatly affected by your email list. This is why it’s so important to clean your email list regularly as to avoid being suspended or banned from an email service provider, avoid spam traps, and also stop your business from becoming irrelevant.

We Can Help

Here at iMarket Solutions, we manage your email deliverability to ensure a healthy email reputation. Being dedicated to contractor success doesn’t just mean helping businesses grow, it also means solidifying the relationship between customers and businesses. Your next email campaign can thrive with our help!

Contact iMarket Solutions if you’re ready to take your email campaign to the next level. Dedicated to contractor success.