Emаil has massively grown in terms of traffic and technologies over the years. One important factor in email marketing has always been your email reputation.
Simply put, your email reputation is how internet service providers (ISPs) such as Google and Yahoo perceive your emails. A good reputation helps you avoid spam and land in your recipient’s inbox.
And there’s a good reason behind its importance. About 300+ billion spam emails are sent each day, comprising about half the global email traffic. ISPs take it upon themselves to protect their users as best they can. To do this, each ISP develops its own algorithm to determine how trustworthy a sender is, which in turn determines your email reputation. Multiple factors help determine this, such as:
- Do people complain and mark your emails as spam?
- Is your email sending address on blacklists?
- Do your emails provide value for their recipients?
Marketers today are lucky enough to have tools available to them to measure and analyze their email reputation. These tools are broken down into two important categories: IP reputation and domain reputation. While very different, they are both important to getting your emails to land in the inbox.
Domain reputation is a more recent assessment of a brand. In general, it is also a more precise indicator of sending history. While IPs can vary and be changed, your sending domain stays with you and is a unique representation of your brand. Domain reputation can even go as far as affecting your search results. Because a good domain reputation is crucial for a brand and can be hard to repair afterwards, some companies opt to use separate domains for their large-scale email marketing. This is also advisable for cold email marketing campaigns. Find more details on maintaining your domain reputation here.
IP reputation is based on the IP address (a unique string of characters identifying a computer over the internet) from which the email originates. This reputation also factors in key metrics such as bounces, complaints, opens, and spam traps. Email frequency and volume also play a pivotal role in IP reputation. This becomes extra important when you need to choose what kind of IP you want to use: shared or dedicated. A shared IP is used by several senders, while a dedicated IP is owned and operated by one sender.
Pros of Dedicated IPs
When you use a shared IP, like those provided when you send from your Gmail account, you’re limited on how many emails you can send as it’s designed mainly for 1:1 emailing, which makes it very difficult to send newsletters if you have to do them one by one. This might sound like a nightmare to you, but this is where dedicated IPs come in to give the owner full control over deliverability.
If you send high volumes of quality mail, go through the efforts to properly maintain an IP, and maintain a consistent sending plan, a dedicated IP has far better odds to do wonders for your business. Just make sure you have a dedicated team before switching to a dedicated IP.
Cons of Dedicated IPs
One reason why dedicated IPs aren’t mainstream is that they are not good for low volume senders. You’ll want to be sending at least 100,000 emails per month just to maintain a trustworthy reputation with ISPs, and many IP providers will recommend that you don’t even consider this option unless you plan to send out twice that amount.
Before you get to that volume you’ll also need to take the time to warm up your IP. Starting out with a fresh dedicated IP, your address will be “cold”. Suddenly sending large volumes of emails will raise red flags for ISPs. It can take 60 – 90 days to slowly ramp up your volume, not to mention the management of these will require staffing someone on your team.
As can be expected, dedicated IP reputations also bring higher costs. Email service providers spend lots of money to offer IPs for customer use. Swapping to a dedicated IP reputation is a long-term investment best left for companies sending high volumes of email on a frequent basis.
This is one of the great ways AllClients CRM helps their users. We manage multiple dedicated IPs behind the scenes, and whether you’re sending 200 emails or 200,000 emails, we allow you to send through our dedicated IPs which we focus on maintaining a high reputation for.
Which Is More Important?
Mailbox providers develop their own complex algorithms to determine the destiny of your emails. Because there is no standard algorithm or set of filters, it is necessary to evaluate both your IP and domain reputation in order to optimize your deliverability, however there are situations where a shared IP address will outperform a dedicated IP address, such as cold emailing to prospective clients who may not have opted into your newsletter. While we do not recommend sending cold emails – if you’re going to do it, you should send very few of them from an isolated domain (not your primary company domain), and you should send them spaced apart and 1:1 to avoid sending out a “blast”. This is why tools such as CRMs are very bad to send cold emails through.
5 Ways to Get a Bad Sender Reputation
If you’ve run a few tests and realized your sender reputation is falling behind, you’ve already made the first step to improving your deliverability. There are several aspects of your email marketing strategy that you’ll need to check, but we’ll give you a quick rundown to get you started.
1. No Warmup
If you’ve just started out with email marketing, you may have forgotten to slowly ramp up your email volume. This is particularly necessary if you’re working with a fresh domain. Start by sending to a smaller group of your most loyal readers and slowly expand to your full list.
2. Sending Frequency
Whether you need to email your list daily or monthly, consistency is key. A steady sending frequency doesn’t just help improve your open rates as your readers know exactly when to check their inbox, it gives your sender reputation a boost.
3. Inconsistent Volume
If you send 10,000 emails one week and 200 the next, you’ll likely get a penalty for inconsistent sending. While it may be trickier if you’re sending to multiple lists of different sizes, try to spread out your email volume as best you can. This is far less impactful on your domain reputation than it is on an IP reputation, but we have a system that makes sure any IP addresses in our system are sending a consistent amount daily, so you won’t have to worry about that.
4. Spam Reports
Spam reports are one of the most direct ways to harm your sender reputation. If you find your emails are marked as spam at a rate above 0.1% you should evaluate whether you’re providing value with your emails and whether your recipients have clearly opted into your marketing.
5. Spam Traps
Spam traps are email addresses owned by ISPs and blocklist owners to identify senders not following best practices. Spam traps could be email addresses that have never been valid and thus couldn’t have ever opted into receiving email. They can be hidden on public websites, identifying email marketers using poor list building practices such as buying lists or scraping sites for emails. Spam traps could also be once valid emails that have been repurposed by the email provider. Emailing these abandoned emails is an indication you’re not actively engaging with and cleaning your list.
By using a CRM like AllClients, you’d have a team dedicated to managing your sending IP address, which means they uphold the highest IP reputation for your senders and you won’t need to stress any repercussions that come with having a bad sender reputation.