Deliverability is a must for email marketers, but how can you improve yours? While every Internet Service Provider (ISP) has its own “secret sauce” for determining good senders, they all look at many of the same metrics. Your email sender reputation, for example.

You have a lot of control over your sender reputation, which filters into IP and domain reputations. When your customers receive email from you, your domain is what they see. As far as your customers are concerned, you are your domain. Similarly, your IP reputation validates you as a sender in the eyes of the ISP. How long has your domain been registered? Where is it registered? Do you have a website?

These are just three of the many metrics — Yahoo! has more than 4,500 — that ISPs review when determining sender reputation. Many of these signals change dynamically based on the current stream of email the ISP is receiving. However, there are a few main drivers every email marketer can optimize for, such as engagement. Think about the content of the emails you send. Are they relevant and engaging? To quote one major ISP postmaster, “Send email people LOVE.”

3 Tips for Sending Email People LOVE

1. Start with smart data collection. Learn as much about the consumer as is necessary to create a great user experience. For example, the TechStyle Fashion Group brands — JustFab, ShoeDazzle, Fabletics, FabKids and Savage X Fenty — quiz new shoppers about their sizes, style preferences and even celebrity fashion inspirations.

2. Utilize the personalized data to segment and send relevant messages. With those style quizzes, the TechStyle brands learn consumers’ tastes early and well enough to keep their recommendations hyper-relevant, increasing engagement among end users while decreasing the likelihood they mark messages as spam.

3. Pay attention to how your users are interacting with your messages. Treat your engaged and less-engaged audiences differently. Maintaining preference centers and suppressing inactive users are key here.

Sender Reputation Maintenance

Just because you’ve created email people love doesn’t mean your work is done. Be sure to maintain your sender reputation by proactively monitoring open rates at top domains. Open rates should be consistent across the top ISPs. If one is significantly lower than the rest, you may have an inboxing issue at that particular ISP.

You should also proactively monitor the critical blacklists and spam traps. If a sender appears on certain blacklists, the ISPs will flat out block their entire mailstream, even if they’re otherwise regarded as a healthy sender. Designed to catch spammers red-handed, spam traps are operator-maintained email addresses that, in many cases, have never been opted into a sender’s list. Other spam traps are recycled, meaning that they had been signed up, but abandoned for a significant length of time, causing the ISP to bounce. Recycled spam traps are generally indicative of an old, poor quality list. Either way, continually messaging these addresses and routinely hitting spam traps will lead to a blacklisting.

Sender reputation is just one piece of the puzzle. Download our ebook, Delivering Results to the Inbox, to learn more about the complex path to the inbox, how deliverability drives revenue, and more.