How to regain a good domain reputation?

A sudden decrease in open and reply rates can be a sign that your emails land in SPAM. Learn how to conduct a domain recovery process.


Reasons for getting a bad domain reputation
How to find out what went wrong?
Domain reputation recovery process

Reasons for getting a bad domain reputation – bad sending practices

Sending to a low-quality prospect list

Your prospect list should be verified and up-to-date. An attempt to send your campaign to non-existent or invalid email addresses will result in bounced messages, which can put your domain reputation at risk. The more bounces you receive, the higher the chance of being marked as a spammer.

For the same reason, you shouldn’t buy ready-made prospect lists. You can’t be sure if the data was acquired in a legal way. Also, the contact info may be outdated and unverified, thus your emails will bounce.

Bad targeting

Make sure your prospects belong to your target groups. If the people you send your message to think that your email is not relevant to their scope of business, they may mark your messages as spam manually. It’s a sign for their email provider that the messages from that sender are considered unwelcome. To avoid such a situation, define your target group and contact only those individuals who could actually benefit from your solution.

Spammy and impersonal email content

Every email is scanned by spam filters before it gets to the addressee’s inbox. If the content of a message looks alarming (for example, contains words overused by spammers), spam filters direct such an email to the SPAM folder. Especially if they notice that exactly the same email is sent out to hundreds of email addresses.

Check your content against a list of SPAM words, remembering to edit it every now and then. Also, personalize the content with snippets. The level of personalization: basic, or more advanced, will significantly affect the effectiveness of your cold email campaign and its deliverability rate.

Suspicious, non-human-like sending behavior

Sudden high peaks in your sending activity look very suspicious to the SPAM filters, which are especially sensitive to any unusual sending activity. Avoid sending out hundreds of emails per hour, having in mind that this is not quite humanly possible. Take into consideration your email provider’s sending limits when scheduling a campaign. Exceeding the limits results in blocking your email address for some time.

How to find out what went wrong?

Analyze your campaign and identify the reason behind a low deliverability rate:

Follow our detailed instructions on How to Check & Improve the Reputation of Your Domain and Email Server IP »

Now that you have identified the reason for the bad reputation of your domain, you can work on improving it. Start a recovery process.

Domain reputation recovery process


STEP #1 Pause all your running campaigns

Put your campaigns on hold until you find out what negatively affected your email deliverability.

STEP #2 Send a couple of personalized messages manually

Send a few emails a day from your own mailbox to the contacts you know or to your other email addresses. Make sure your messages are unique and personalized.

Keep in mind that sending all the messages to the same domain won’t help. Choose addresses at different email providers. You can set up a free account at some of them and use them anytime you need to check your deliverability.

STEP #3 Ask for reporting the emails as not SPAM

Your recipients may mention that they can’t find your emails in their mailboxes. Ask them to check their spam or junk email folders, as most probably the messages landed there. If that’s the case, ask your addressees to manually report the emails as not spam. How? Look for buttons like “Report not spam” (in Gmail) or “It’s not junk” (Outlook).

After you click the button, your message gets moved to the main inbox. That tells the email provider that the emails coming from you are safe.

STEP #4 Have a natural email conversation

Continue this process for a couple of weeks. Next, check your domain reputation again to see if it has improved. If necessary, continue the process.


Thanks to Woodpecker Warm-up & Recovery, you can start the recovery process with a few clicks.

To begin the process, choose which email account you’d like to recover in the Emails or Warm-up tab, under the Settings -> Accounts.

In the Email tab, simply click on the warm-up icon, next to the chosen email account. Select Recovery mode and finish by clicking on ADD WARM UP button.

Warm-up icon: a flame

From the Warm-up tab, click on the ADD WARM UP button and follow the instructions as described above.

By choosing the Recovery mode, you allow Woodpecker’s tool to send emails with our ready-to-use scenarios. If your daily sending volume is low, running a campaign while using this mode shouldn’t be an obstacle. However, in case you’re sending a lot of emails daily, let’s say more than 300, we recommend keeping a lower volume and decreasing your sending by about 50-60%. If you notice that your deliverability is very low, consider stopping your campaigns altogether.

To learn more about Warm-up & Recovery, see our article here »

Domain reputation recovery process is quite similar to the domain warm-up process. The difference is that it takes a bit more time and effort because your starting point is negative, not neutral, reputation. The recovery process requires much more effort on your part. identify the reason why your domain reputation got damaged and avoid those bad sending practices in the future.