In this second article of our deliverability series, we’re going to be looking at the importance of using a Dedicated IP. If you’re not sure what that is, or if you’re finding that your emails often end up in the spam folder, get comfortable, take note and get ready to put our second installment of expert advice into practice.
If you’re running your own business or working in email marketing, you’ll expect that your emails arrive safe and sound in your recipient’s inbox. What you’d least want, of course, is that they end up in the spam folder. To reduce the chances of this happening, one of the things that you can do is use a Dedicated IP. Boosting your chances of avoiding the spam folder is just one of the advantages of using a Dedicated IP in your email marketing. Let’s have a look at a few more.
What is a Dedicated IP?
Most of you have probably heard of Dedicated IPs but you may not be sure of exactly what they are. Let’s imagine then that an IP address is a road where, instead of having cars, we have lots of people’s emails using the road. This would be a Shared IP. A Dedicated IP, on the other hand, is a private road where only the owner’s emails can travel. The advantage is that emails on a Dedicated IP move quicker and remain unaffected by the potential “accidents” of other users along the way.
A Dedicated IP is for your very own use and not sharing it with others means that you don’t have to worry about how their quality and quantity of sending could affect you negatively. For example, if, from a Shared IP, one or more users sends spam, all users in that group could be marked as spammers. In the case of a Dedicated IP, only you would use it so your campaigns will depend on your actions alone.
If you are using or choose to use Benchmark as your email marketing specialists, we will work to protect your reputation, even if you opt to use a Shared IP. We apply a quality protocol that groups clients by their public reputation. So, to give you an example, this protocol might qualify clients as good, bad or average. If you have good quality lists but don’t work by best email marketing practices, then you might belong to the average group. We monitor this behaviour constantly but you can also work to make sure you’re always in the best possible group by ensuring that you abide by best practices.
You should also bear in mind that the various ISPs (like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc.) have lists of IPs called “blacklists” and they use them to help to reduce spam. These lists contain IPs that are known to be used to send spam and they’re used to filter email messages and help when categorising a message as spam or not.
Some examples of organisations that compile blacklists to help combat spam are SPAMHAUS, Trend Micro and spamcop.net.
Of course, maximising the advantages of having a Dedicated IP requires that you use good email marketing practices. You don’t want to risk its reputation or end up on a blacklist. Some of these good email practices include:
- Good quality lists: You must have permission from your recipients. Double opt-in contacts are best.
- Minimal spam reports: The more your email campaigns are marked as spam, the more your reputation suffers.
- Avoid sending from public addresses like @gmail, @hotmail etc.: Using a private domain (like firstname.lastname@example.org) looks more professional, but it also helps build your reputation. A private domain allows you to add an SPF record too, providing an extra layer of authentication that you wouldn’t get with a public address.
- List compilation: Don’t buy lists, avoid using lists that belong to third-parties and do not harvest addresses. Keep an eye out for future installments of this series for more definitions and advice.
Other advantages of Dedicated IPs
Dedicated IPs offer greater reliability when it comes to time-sensitive promotions. Those campaigns that require special attention also benefit from the timely delivery offered here.
If you’re a high volume sender, we recommend that you buy various Dedicated IPs, apart from the one(s) that we will configure for you, as this will improve send speed. If you’re a client on a smaller plan, then one Dedicated IP is beneficial for the reasons mentioned above.
At Benchmark, when we finish configuring a high volume plan, we will send a maximum of 20,000 emails at a time for your first 5 campaigns. Why? Because the various ISPs don’t like receiving lots of emails all of a sudden from an IP address with no history. Your campaigns would run the risk of ending up in the spam folder or being blocked.
What about Dedicated IPs that are not on high volume plans? In this case, we “warm” the IP up for you beforehand and then it’s up to you to build your reputation and keep it as close to 100% as possible. In fact, you can keep an eye on your IP’s reputation on sites like https://senderscore.org/.
Remember that your Dedicated IP with Benchmark costs just $28.95/month. If you’re a client with a high volume plan, contact us to find out how many Dedicated IPs you already have included in your plan. Adding another takes just 24 hours to set up and will boost your send speed.
Did you like this article? Have you spotted any areas of your email marketing that you can improve?
This is the second article from our brand new deliverability series. Next up, “The 5 factors that affect your newsletter’s deliverability.” Follow us, subscribe and don’t miss out!
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