Why IP Reputation is Important to Email Marketers

As an email marketer, you probably spend a lot of time crafting appealing emails that should make the customers roll in. But all that time and effort goes to waste if your marketing messages don’t reach the inbox of your customers in the first place. Deliverability is the key to a successful email campaign, and IP reputation is one of the crucial factors to make it happen.

As a matter of fact, IP reputation not only influences email campaigns, but has an impact on the entire brand, too. When you run email campaigns from IP with bad reputation, they land in the spam folder, which may have a lasting negative image on your brand as whole. Therefore, establishing and maintaining positive sender reputation should be an important goal for you.

Why IP Reputation is Important to Email Marketers

How IP reputation affects the deliverability of your emails

Sender reputation is essential in the process of determining whether a particular email will reach the receiver’s inbox or will be marked as spam. Some emails even get rejected and they never reach any of the receiver’s email folders.

IP reputation is directly associated with the sender reputation. Internet service providers (ISPs) are evaluating your IP address based on several factors and then rank it using their own algorithms. Good IP reputation means that you are considered a trustworthy source and your emails should be delivered to the assigned addresses.

The sender score changes depending on your sending habits and the responses of the recipients to your emails. In order to build and maintain strong IP reputation and get your email campaigns to your customer inbox folders, you’ll need to understand the scoring factors. There are many aspects that ISPs evaluate, but we’ll go through the most vital ones:

  • External reputation – This scoring factor evaluates how your IP address compares to other IP addresses on external blacklists and/or whitelists. If your IP address is listed on any blacklist, it significantly decreases your IP reputation. Bad IP reputation is one of the most common reasons ISPs block email messages. Thus, you’ll have problems delivering your email campaigns.
  • Receiver complaints –  ISP algorithms evaluate how complaints about your IP address compare to other IP addresses. They calculate complaint rates compared to accepted mail.  The more complaints there are, the worse your sender reputation gets.
  • Unknown users – ISPs track how often your IP address attempts to send emails to non-existing addresses. As people often change email addresses, even well-managed email lists may contain some invalid addresses. If your mail server attempts to deliver messages to many invalid addresses, it will look like spam activity. This will dramatically lower your sender reputation
  • Message volume and frequency – If you have a new IP address or haven’t sent a lot of emails from it yet, the IP has little or no reputation. If you start blasting big email campaigns one day, your mail server would look like a machine compromised by a spammer. This will inevitably lower your IP reputation and even get it blacklisted. This may also happen if you go to extremes in sending many emails/sending none in different time periods.

How to ensure strong IP reputation

Having the crucial factors in mind, there are several things you can do to build and maintain high IP reputation.

1. Minimize the complaints

The sad truth is that you can get spam complaints even from customers that have subscribed to your mailings. They sometimes forget they’ve subscribed to your list, or find your content irrelevant but can’t find the unsubscribe link. To reduce complaints, clearly state your unsubscribe link in every email message you send.

You can’t impress everyone, so it’s better to let people unsubscribe than risk getting on their spam list. Make sure to remove everyone that unsubscribes or complains about your email from your mailing list.

Why IP Reputation is Important to Email Marketers

2. Verify your email lists

Oftentimes old or purchased email lists contain many invalid email addresses. Collect addresses using a confirmed opt-in method and verify old opt-in lists for validity. After each mailing, remove addresses that will bounce to prevent sending emails to them over and over again.

3. Check if your IP address is blacklisted somewhere

Make sure the IP address you’re sending messages from is not included in any of the common blacklists. In case you find it blacklisted, it’s important to immediately start working to get it de-listed. Check what got your IP address there and keep an eye on your mailing activities so they won’t lead to blacklisting issues again.

4. Pay attention to the number and frequency of messages you send

Don’t try to build your sender reputation quickly. Setting up a new IP address and sending your emails from it won’t guarantee that your emails avoid the spam folder. A brand new IP with no history of email activity is actually considered suspicious by the ISPs.

Therefore, take the time to “warm up” your IP address. Start by sending small blasts of emails and slowly increase the volume. If you need to send many emails fast, use multiple servers and multiple IP addresses. It’s better to introduce your address to the spam filtering services slowly than make efforts later to remove your IP from spam lists.

Why IP Reputation is Important to Email Marketers

5. Use a dedicated IP address

Sending your emails from a shared IP address means that you share the sender reputation with other users. Thus, someone else’s activities affect the sender score and influence your deliver rates. With a dedicated address, you are the only one responsible for the IP reputation and you can build it up over time as you wish. You should also make sure to use a static IP address to have complete control over the success of your email campaigns.

6. Have all authentication records set up correctly

IP authentication proves that your sender information is correct and you aren’t involved in email forging of any kind. Emails that don’t pass authentication checks can easily end up in the spam folder or even get rejected. Many ISPs use authentication to track sender reputation, too, so you need to be sure that no one can damage your reputation with forged emails.

7. Check if someone else has been using your server or IP before you

Setting up a brand new IP address doesn’t guarantee that it will come with no negative reputation. If someone has been using the address before you, you may get it with existing poor IP reputation. In this case, your messages will automatically land in the spam folders of your customers. Hence, before you start sending emails actively, check the blacklists and gradually “warm up” your IP address to ensure good IP reputation.

Why IP Reputation is Important to Email Marketers

Take your email marketing campaigns to the next level

Now that you’ve learned how to get your messages into the inbox of your customers, it’s time to think about open rates and click through rates. We’ve created Emercury to help you, as an email marketer, understand the best delivery practices and provide you with a tool that can actually increase your delivery. We offer services that will make your job easier. Check them out here.

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One Response to “Why IP Reputation is Important to Email Marketers”

  1. […] attention to the IP address ratings as you would to the domain’s reputation. Otherwise, your emails will go directly to the spam […]

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