Every device connected to the internet has an Internet Protocol or IP address, including the server that sends your email campaigns to subscribers. This simple numerical address is extremely important from a reputation standpoint, but whether or not an email marketer requires more than one is certainly an issue that is up for debate. This post will examine how using multiple IPs compares to the common options of sharing one and having one dedicated to yourself. Shared IPs A shared IP is pretty much what it sounds like, a situation that calls for you to share the same address with other customers using the services of your Email Service Provider (ESP). Ironically, it is also an option that calls for you to share the consequences brought forth by your neighbors. For example, if neighboring marketers are ignoring their bounces and sending messages to obsolete email addresses or blatantly sending spam, the reputation of the entire IP address could be compromised. When this happens, every message sent from that server is placed under a microscope by recipients’ Internet Service Providers (ISP). In a worse case scenario, the entire IP is blacklisted, meaning any message you send to the ISP’s server will be automatically blocked. Dedicated IPs With a dedicated IP, you essentially have an entire address that is exclusively reserved for you or your company’s usage. What this means is that you are the only entity sending email from the server. Having a dedicated IP address is a situation that comes with numerous advantages. For one, the simple fact that it is dedicated solely to you means that being penalized because of the bad sending practices of your neighbors instantly becomes a non-issue. If you end up getting blacklisted, then it is only the fault of your own. The biggest perk of a dedicated IP is having total control over your reputation as a sender. As long as you follow the best practices of email marketing, your reputation and deliverability rates should remain in good shape. The downside of a dedicated IP relates to the additional cost that comes along with it. This is generally a luxury you have to pay extra for and the added expense could take a sizeable chunk out of your marketing budget. Though usually not a problem for larger companies, having a dedicated IP could actually be cost prohibitive for a smaller business. Multiple IPs With multiple IPs, you have the perfect middle ground between a shared and dedicated IP address. Some ESPs allow their email marketers to send mail across a range of IPs. Although there could be bad apples in every bunch, they tend to do a fine job of making sure their users are only sending from an address with a good reputation. If you have a reputable ESP in good standings with ISPs, using multiple Internet Protocols could be an ideal alternative to the standard options. Whether it’s shared, dedicated or of the multiple variety, each type of IP address has pros and cons as far as the email marketer is concerned. Above all, what you should take from this post is the importance of adhering to the best practices of permission-based marketing. If you are steadily tallying up complaints or bounces, your reputation could suffer no matter which type of IP you choose.
I can not stress enough how important it is to have a contact list that is refined and specific to the demographic that you are trying to market to. Usually marketeers will hold to the saying \"bigger is better\" but this is not always the case. If you have a contact list that has 10,000 contacts acquired over years and years then you are ripe for your reputation to go down. If you have acquired a list from multiple sources and merged them all together, how can you know specifically whom you are reaching? DO NOT BUY CONTACT LISTS This should not need elaboration: don’t do it. If you do buy lists, understand you are not a marketeer, you are a spammer. The chances of you getting a list of contacts that are anywhere close to being interested in your message will be next to nil. You will see your amount of hard/soft bounces and complaints - that all ISPs track - shoot through the roof. And the reputation of your business and the ESP that you use will plummet. Date Your Contact List Once you have permission to market to a list, mark the day you acquire the contact. Once you and the client have not had any contact for a time (six months is usually a conservative length) send them a proactive re-opt-in message. If the client does not click on your links or even open the email, let them go. You need to avoid email overload and sending to a \'stale\' contact will not yield any. Tailor Different Campaigns to Different Lists With advanced techniques in demographics you can hone in on your target markets to best reach the market that wants your product. If you are just selling one product or marketing to a single local area then you should already have a basic idea of your customer; if you are trying to reach recipients from sea to shinning sea then you need to use demographics as a baseline leading up to best practices in email marketing. Email marketing can be easy and rewarding. Good lists, built organically over time and kept clean, are extremely effective, low cost, and deliver an incredibly high ROI.
It is very common for companies to slowly and steadily gather email addresses on their websites from the very first day. The problem here is they are so busy collecting these addresses that they fail to use them. The reasons for not contacting those email addresses immediately could range from companies not knowing how to send marketing messages to not having the time to contact their addresses. Whatever the reason, these companies tend to hold on to their collection and do nothing - till one fine day, a year or more later. At some point in the future these companies suddenly wake up and decide to inaugurate their massive collection of addresses, compiled lovingly through the years. Unfortunately, when they start emailing their list they do not get back very loving replies. Why? Because the email addresses, and the permission that was given with them, has an expiry period. After holding on to addresses for more than 12 months and doing nothing, you no longer have the right to send these addresses your campaign newsletters. If you do suddenly blast them with newsletters – you are heading for some serious trouble. Take a look at some of the trouble you are headed for: You will get accused of sending spam Your customers visited your store, bought something and left. Some of them signed up to your email list. Now 12 months later you set up a brilliant email marketing system and send them sudden and frequent newsletters. Will they be happy to receive your numerous newsletters? Would they remember ever visiting your store? The answer to both is No. The recipients of your newsletters would in all likelihood wonder who you are and how you got their email address, and then complain that you are sending them spam. This is also the right path to getting blacklisted. Your mails will rapidly bounce back When you send newsletters to email addresses that are more than 12 months old you will notice that a lot of your mails come bouncing back. There are a lot of reasons for this: The email address may no longer exist: When this happens you should remove the address from your list. Unfortunately, if too many messages bounce you may not have the time to rectify your list as your Internet service provider may think you are sending spam and take action. To remain above the blacklist radar you need to ensure that you do not exceed a bounce rate of 10%. The address has been redirected: This could happen when a person switches jobs, or when an account is cancelled. In either case, there is a good chance that someone new will receive your newsletter. This new person has no idea that the person the newsletter was intended for had subscribed to it; this person will therefore complain that the newsletter is spam. The address has become a spam trap: Addresses that are very old are sometimes turned into spam traps. These are dangerous as sending marketing mails to these addresses have a huge adverse affect on deliverability and result in making your email service provider quite irritated. You may get blacklisted After being accused of sending spam and having your emails bounce back you now discover that you have been blacklisted by all the big Internet service providers (ISPs). This is due to a combination of people forgetting that they had signed up for your newsletter, people changing their email addresses and you walking into spam traps. Most of these issues may not be your fault, but the end result is that your mails have been bouncing and people have been making spam complaints. To your ISPs, you are using a list that is old, dirty or has been bought. This leads to your ISPs blocking you which in turn leads to your email service provider shutting down your account. So the basic fact is, if you want to save yourself the head ache of going through all these issues, make sure you clean your list regularly and remove all old and outdated email addresses. If you must use email addresses that are older than 12 months, make sure you re-introduce yourself and remind the recipient how you got their email address. You can also ask them to either sign up again, or you can ask them to use the unsubscribe link in your very first mail, if they are no longer interested. This helps getting rid of those addresses that can cause you problems later on.
Today ISP\'s are seriously working to rid their networks of spam. Email authentication can help these ISP\'s to validate that the email is originating from a legitimate source and the recipient can validate the mail source. So if an email message appears to come from one domain, while actually it is delivered from another, the recipient can verify if the mail source is valid based on additional header information passed in the email. This is a great technique to prevent spoofing and phishing scams. ISP\'s uses different techniques to authenticate the incoming emails, and the three major standards prevailing are Sender ID Sender ID is a Microsoft protocol which validates one of the email\'s header fields. It retrieves the Purported Responsible Address (PRA) for the email and then validates that address against the sender. It is used by Hotmail and Windows Live Mail. Sender Policy Framework (SPF) SPF authenticates the envelope HELO and MAIL FROM identities by comparing the sending mail server\'s IP address to the list of authorized sending IP addresses published by the sender domain\'s owner in a \"v=spf1\" DNS record. It is used by AOL, Google, Earthlink, Hotmail, and many other providers. DomainKeys DomainKeys uses cryptographic authentication to validate the domain name that is associated with the message. What are the benefits of email authentication? All major ISP’s like Hotmail, Gmail , AOL, Yahoo! and use email authentication to filter out suspected spam emails. By setting up Email Authentication, you can enable these ISP’s to verify that your campaign are from a “legitimate” source, and being delivered to your target’s inbox, instead of being flagged as spam. For example, here\'s an authenticated and non-authenticated email in Hotmail: What email header difference will my contacts see if I use Benchmark Email Authentication? Benchmark Email includes the Sender ID if you have enabled the Email Authentication. This information is part of the email header. Outlook, Hotmail, and MSN webmail clients would display these headers to the recipients. Email Clients displaying only From Name (friendly name) From: ABC Sales These includes Outlook Exprees, AOL, Comcast, MacMail Email Clients displaying From Name (friendly name) and From Email If Email Authentication is set off If Email Authentication is enabled These includes Microsoft Outlook, Hotmail, Entourage, Thunderbird