Will a dedicated IP address fix my email delivery score?

by Nicolae Buldumac
Will a dedicated IP address fix my email delivery score?

With more email application popping each day, every body is rushing to have the best email delivery rate and this is the main cause/feature which clients are looking. There are hundreds of email delivery which compete with each other but at the end - they all use the same technology. There is no “God method” of 100% email delivery and 100% inbox. Majority of Email Application which guaranteed you 100% delivery are not real, or not a serious Emarketing App provider.

So the question we will talk today is: Will the dedicated IP fix my email delivery score?

As everyone observer, all email marketing platforms offer dedicated IP and they promise they will help with your delivery and will be a “Fresh Start” for your company.

Here are some reasons why companies still provide dedicated IP:

  • To generate additional money by offering a dedicated IP (approx from 30$ to 100$ per month for a dedicated IP)

  • To not lose the clients, if their first campaign with shared IP don't perform well, then they will offer to client to subscribe to “Dedicated IP”

  • The Email App  still believe that Dedicated IP is a premium feature which will be attractive to all email subscribers.

  • To make the company look good, with many features, options / add-ons

So we talked about why Email App are still providing Dedicated IPs to clients. Now lets talk how Dedicated IP play a Role in ISP

Years ago, majority of Email providers such as Gmail, yahoo, Aol or Comcast did not have the high technology to detect spam, to filter content, to analyze or research the data which resulted in scoring. So majority of them were trusting the IP which resulted in as a Filter trigger for email delivery. So if you had a dedicated IP, your campaign will run perfect, a fresh start from beginning.

BUT the “Dedicated IP” started to be abused, more companies started to “buy dedicated IP” to send spam which resulted in sending billion of spams annual.

To fix spam, top ISPs  providers started to move away from unique IP to a more content analyzation / sender reputation based on subscriber actions (Open/click/clicked on SPam).  By moving to Message analization, sender analization, majority of ISPs have dropped the IP dedicated priorities and moved to “performance IPs or Shared IP.  Performance IP or Shared IP are used by a group of senders which in commun help improve the IP (different senders, different messages, different bounce rate, different subjects), also a Shared IP or Performance IP IP which have at least 10 years of history. The History of IPs can be Website Hosting, VoiP used, and even Email history of a corporate company which used the email with due diligence.

So now we have understand how Dedicated IP have started and how the have been downgraded or refused by my ISP.

So you may start thinking of moving from Dedicated IP to Shared IP, but not so fast, Dedicated IPs do still play a role in email marketing, but you have to follow some rules so you can still have performance.

Here are 7 rules if you want to use “Dedicated IP”

  • If the IP is new, you will have to warm Up the IP, send first day 100 emails, next 200, next 300, next 400,  grow daily your email sending with 100 until you reach one month. The next month grow your email sending with 200 per day, and the third month you can raise it with 500 per day. This way you are warming an IP.

  • Warm up the IP for Personal and Corporate emails. Personal emails have different rules and corporate emails have their own rules. Warm both of them simultaneously. (Example: if you send 200 emails per day, send 100 to corporate emails and 100 to personal emails)

  • For beginning, send emails just to subscriber, so the email performance would look good to ISP and they will raise the sender score.

  • Send emails by intervals, 100 now, 100 in 4 hours, don't send in one minute 1000 emails

  • If your audience is US, use a US IP

  • Make sure you have Unsubscribe link and address information

So we have been what is Dedicated IP, How dedicated IP has lost it is credibility and what steps to take if you still want to use Dedicated IP.

In general, dedicated IPs are great for companies which send million of emails, the company will want to manage it is own reputation and will want to keep everything under their control. By implementing the steps above, anyone can have a great email delivery using the dedicated IP. But be careful, don’t assume Dedicated IP will be answer, use Dedicated IP as last resort and stick with Shared IPs.

Almost every day seems to bring with it the release of a new email platform - but the success of email campaign doesn’t really have a lot to do with the technology used. After all, the vast majority of these platforms actually use exactly the same technology under the user interface.

One of the key metrics for determining success will be email delivery rates – specifically, how many of your messages get into the recipient’s mailbox. But no matter how many email platforms guarantee a 100% delivery rate, the truth is that no “God method” exists, and you will never achieve 100% deliverability. Any app provider that claims otherwise is lying and should not be taken seriously.

Ultimately it’s down to you how to boost deliverability in any way that you can. But will a fixed IP address for your mail server help?

First it helps to understand why some companies still offer fixed IP services:

  1. As an add-on service, fixed IP addresses are a healthy additional revenue stream for email service providers – typically $30 - $100 each month.

  2. If a client’s first campaign fails to perform as expected, service providers may offer a fixed IP address in order to keep the account.

  3. Some providers still believe that a fixed IP address is a genuine premium feature.

  4. By offering as many features and add-ons as possible, the provider hopes to appear like an expert.

Where did the importance of fixed IP addresses come from?

In the early days of email, services like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail did not have intelligent spam detection systems to protect their users. Instead they relied heavily on IP addresses to assess whether a sender was legitimate or not. As a result, any business with a dedicated IP address stood a far greater chance of having their mails delivered successfully.

However, spammers quickly realised the value of dedicated IP addresses and began abusing them in an effort to circumvent spam security. Soon spammers were buying dedicated IP addresses, quickly generating billions of unwanted messages each year.

In order to stay ahead of the spammers, email providers and ISPs developed a range of advanced detection techniques, including content analysis and sender reputation scoring. Subscriber actions like opening emails, clicking on links and reporting spam quickly became more important than dedicated IP addresses.

With dedicated IPs being of lower priority, ISPs quickly moved to “performance IP” or shared IP configurations. These systems allow groups of senders to share a single IP address whilst maintaining their own reputation scores – different senders, messages, bounce rates and subjects, all helping to get their messages delivered. This performance IP set-up has been in use by many ISPs for at least ten years now.

So I don’t need a dedicated IP address?

So if spam filters no longer rely on dedicated IPs, can you get by without one? The truth is that there are still some good reasons to consider using a dedicated IP – if you follow these rules for maximum performance:

  1. If the IP address is new, it will need to be “warmed up” to avoid being flagged as a spammer. On the first day after activation, you should send 100 emails. You should increase that number by 100 every day (200 on day two, 300 on day 3 etc) until you reach the end of the month. The following month you can increase daily volumes to 200 emails, and in the third you should go up to 500. This steady increase prevents you looking like a mass mail spammer.

  2. Corporate and personal email accounts are typically governed by different spam filtering rules. As you warm your IP address, split personal and corporate emails equally each day.

  3. When starting a campaign, make sure that messages are only sent to recipients who have opted in to your mailing list first. Recipients are more likely to respond positively, which looks good to ISPs, and helps to improve your sender score.

  4. Always spread your outgoing email in batches throughout the day. Instead of sending 1000 messages in one go, try sending 100 per hour over the course of a day.

  5. Try and use a dedicated IP address in the same country as your targets; if they are in the US, choose a US IP address.

  6. Always include an unsubscribe link and your company address in every email that you send.

In general, dedicated IPs are great for companies who send millions of emails every year – particularly those that want to manage their own reputation and maintain complete control of their sender score. Using the techniques outlined above, anyone can improve their email delivery rates using a dedicated IP address. However, it is vital to realize that simply having a dedicated IP address is not a magic bullet. A dedicated IP address involves a lot of additional work and should be considered only as a last resort – in most cases the use of shared IPs is more effective and efficient.

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