Best Practices

Don’t give a damn ’bout my reputation

Chances are, you’re reading this on the internet right now. And if so, you’ve probably heard the word “reputation” thrown around a lot this week thanks to Taylor Swift and her new album announcement (I prefer Joan Jett, thanks). While reputation may be seeing a moment in the pop culture space, its place in email has been long established. A good sender reputation is paramount for a successful email program, and a bad reputation can lose you thousands in revenue on a single campaign. So why, then, do so many organizations treat it so carelessly?

Taylor Swift's Reputation album cover
Mert & Marcus

Case in point: I’ve worked with marketers who have partnerships with other organizations in which they cross-promote each other’s products. A common arrangement, no doubt, and in most cases mutually beneficial. Often one party reaches out to me or another consultant asking how they can protect their domain reputation from any damage caused by the cross-promotion.

When I get this question, I typically first ask if they believe there is a legitimate risk of damage to their sender reputation, If so, why? Are they partnering with an organization with poor email practices? And if they are that concerned about the reputation of this partner “bleeding over” into their own domain, why do they continue to do business with them?

Many senders seem to feel they can overcome these risks with some technical sleight-of-hand: using a different IP address or domain, redirecting links through different servers, etc. While these tricks may work temporarily, mailbox providers have become extremely advanced in their filtering. These practices are often associated with spammers and malicious senders, so using them can cause even more damage to your reputation when the providers start to associate them with your brand.

In email, just as in life, the parties with whom you associate can tarnish your good name. Doing business with disreputable email senders will start to impact your deliverability and brand reputation. In fact, Google even uses factors like web and search reputation as part of their mail filtering algorithms. Technology has led to the increasing intersection of our public and private lives – we’ve all heard the stories of folks who got fired after an inflammatory social media post was discovered. In the same way, every aspect of your brand’s digital presence is connected and has the potential to impact your email program.

If you have a high level of concern that your actions or partnerships will cause damage to your sender reputation, you’re probably right. Instead of looking for ways around it and causing more damage, explore ways you can generate additional traffic and revenue without the additional risk. Vet your partners carefully – make sure their practices don’t sink the hard work you’ve put in to establish your own good reputation.

– BG