An email marketer’s IP address is one of their most important assets—and it deserves the proper amount of attention and understanding.
Say you’ve kicked around the idea for years and finally made the decision to switch to a different email service provider. Or, maybe your subscriber list has reached a point in volume where you feel it’s necessary to expand to another IP address.
Maybe you just want a dedicated IP for all of those transactional emails you’re sending.
Whatever the reason may be, you’re now facing one of the most dreaded events in any email marketer’s career: an IP migration.
The IP migration process is notoriously prone to error. It’s one of the biggest risks an email program can face on the path towards satisfying subscribers and earning higher revenue.
So, let’s do a quick refresher course on IP addresses. Then, we’ll provide you with some best practices to master the IP warming process and avoid common pitfalls.
IP stands for Internet Protocol, and is used to enable communication between devices on a computer network. An Internet Protocol address is a unique string of numbers separated by periods that is used to individually identify each device connected to that computer network.
For email marketers, the IP address is the name tag for the email sending server. And since the server is linked to your program, the IP address becomes the name tag for you as a sender.
This is a critical aspect of the IP warming process because mailbox providers (MBPs) use your IP address to assign you a reputation as an email sender. Your email sender reputation dictates your ability to reach subscribers’ inboxes instead of being blocked or filtered to spam.
Let’s say you’re attending a marketing conference where the organizers are the MBPs and the audience is your list of email subscribers.
You’ve registered for the conference and applied to be the keynote speaker. That means you’re able to just walk on stage and deliver your speech, right? Nope!
You still have to provide credentials to prove that you’ve got the knowledge and experience to be the keynote speaker.
It’s the same for email senders. Your email sender credentials are based on your past performance, and you need a positive history to earn your spot in the inbox.
MBPs will vet your credentials critically, because your subscribers expect their MBP to provide spam prevention as part of a good user experience. If the MBP doesn’t deliver on that expectation, then the subscribers will go find an MBP that does.
Sender reputation also applies to your IP address. MBPs are constantly evaluating the reputation of sender IP addresses based on the emails that are received and how the audience reacts to those emails.
If the MBP considers your email content to be spam or the audience starts indicating they don’t like these emails, the MBP will mark your IP address with a bad reputation, which marks you as a bad sender.
This bad reputation can affect your future sends with spam designations or message blocks, and it takes valuable time to repair.
However, if your IP address has a positive reputation, your emails are more likely to be treated favorably by the MBP and be sent to the inbox.
You want to be comfortable with what IP addresses are and how to introduce them to your sending program because you’ll likely need to go through this process at some point.
Here are a few reasons for adding a brand-new IP address:
Did you know there are two different kinds of IP addresses? Here’s why the distinction is important:
A dedicated IP address is an IP address that is assigned to one sender who has full control over which emails are sent from it.
Your emails aren’t grouped with other less diligent senders, which means you establish and are accountable for your own IP reputation. This typically ensures better inbox placement—as long as you follow email best practices.
Having a dedicated IP address also makes it easier to troubleshoot root cause of deliverability issues. Having only your activity on the IP address allows you to measure and interpret IP address reputations easily.
Segmentation on multiple dedicated IP addresses allows you to segment based on message type, engagement level, etc.
On a shared IP address, the IP address is shared between senders who do not have full control over which emails are sent through it. This shared IP is controlled by the email service provider and has already been warmed up by other senders.
In this scenario, the negative actions of other senders can undermine your reputation and deliverability.
But there are benefits too. For example, low-volume mailers can quickly establish a reputation and history with mailbox providers, and seasonal mailers don’t need to warm up dedicated IP addresses every year.
This is also an inexpensive way to have access to an IP address
When migrating to a brand-new IP address, you need to follow a warmup process that introduces your new name tag to the MBPs slowly and earns their trust. Building that trust lays the foundation for a good reputation and boosts your deliverability.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you enter an IP migration:
IP address warmups can be stressful, but with patience, awareness, and smarter sending, it can be a seamless process.
While there is no single formula or standard “right” way to warm up a new IP address, keeping these steps in mind will put you on the path to a smooth transition from a cold IP address, to a warm one ready to handle your usual distribution.
To customize a warmup plan for a new IP address or domain, speak to Validity’s Professional Services team.