How To Boost Your Sending Reputation By Managing Your Engagement

Last week’s Open Q&A on Email Deliverability was a huge success! 

We had a great turnout for the live call with some great questions, and lots of people have already watched the recording.

I’m going to be writing some blog posts answering some of the questions that were asked on the call, starting with this one from Rob Hulford.

His question was about segmenting your audience according to their level of engagement. This is massively important, because Google in particular uses the way you’re managing engagement as the one of the greatest factors that influences your domain sending reputation.

So… how should you best manage your engagement and send to the right people, so that you maintain a good sending reputation with Google?

Note – these guidelines only apply if you’ve currently got a good sending reputation. If you’re already in “Google Jail”, you need to adopt a much tougher set of criteria when sending your emails.

Your most recently engaged audience

The people who should receive the most emails from you are the ones that have opened something most recently – contacts who have opened at least one email in the last 30 days

This segment of your audience should receive your best content, as often as possible, because they’ve engaged recently and are are the most likely people to open your emails. Be careful though – don’t overwhelm them with irrelevant content or send emails too frequently.

As a rule of thumb, one or two emails per week to this segment is ideal, maybe more if you send shorter emails.

Your less recently engaged audience

People who have opened something between 30 days and 90 days ago should receive a lower frequency of emails – maybe half the frequency that you send to your most recently engaged audience.

This segment of your audience should receive great content still, but maybe once a week or once a fortnight.

Your least engaged audience

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t send anything to people who haven’t opened anything in the last 90 days, apart from a re-engagement campaign (see below). Every time you send an email broadcast to this group of people, you’re probably hurting your sending reputation.

Having said that, I appreciate that some people struggle to let go of their unengaged contacts… so if you really must send anything to this segment of your list, don’t do it more than once every month or two.  And please, please, don’t bother at all if it’s a year or more since someone opened an email from you!


When someone reaches 90 days of unengagement and still haven’t opened anything from you in that time, consider sending them a re-engagement campaign. This is a short, very focused series of emails giving people a wake-up call, maybe sending some extra high-value content, and warning that they’ll be removed from your list if they don’t respond.

If they still don’t engage after they’ve received a re-engagement campaign, I’d strongly recommend that you unsubscribe them.

Automating this process

Most marketing automation platforms have searches and reporting tools to allow you to manually identify contacts based on engagement. If you’d like to automate this entire process and have your contacts automatically tagged based on their engagement, why not check out Deliverability Defender? It was designed specifically to help you manage the process of identifying your engaged contacts, triggering re-engagement campaigns and automatically unsubscribing contacts that don’t respond at the end of that. If you’re on my mailing list, you’re welcome to try Defender out at no charge for a couple of weeks – please contact me to request a trial.


Leave a Comment