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The Importance of IP Reputation in Email Marketing

Your IP reputation is essential for successful email marketing and digital advertising campaigns. Learn how to improve and maintain your online reputation.

One of the most important facets of digital marketing is email. Many online advertising campaigns are specifically geared toward building a better, more active email list. The reason is that email marketing can be profitable and valuable for multiple purposes. Plus, you can often reach more customers using email campaigns.

In order to achieve a good, ongoing relationship with those who get marketing emails, it's vital to have a positive IP reputation. Basically, IP reputation measures how authentic a sender's emails are based on the behavior of both the sender and receiver.

Not having spam complaints is one of the ways you can keep a good IP reputation, as are high open rates. A low IP address reputation can cause your emails to be classified as spam, meaning recipients may never open them. Having an untrustworthy IP address can halt all your online advertising efforts.

What is IP reputation?

An IP reputation represents how trustworthy your IP address is based on the number of unwanted requests that get sent back. The more times people unsubscribe, the more the particular IP address will be marked as spam. Ideally, you want a positive IP reputation for successful marketing campaigns.

Why does IP reputation matter in marketing?

The best way to reach customers is through an email list, especially if that list comes from real people who voluntarily submitted their email addresses to your company. That means they're interested in your brand and want to be notified when there's a promotion or event. These are often the consumers who are most likely to engage or make a purchase.

On the other hand, buying an email list with contacts who never subscribed to receive communications can have negative repercussions for your IP reputation. Individuals on these lists may not be interested in your marketing, leading to a surge of users requesting to be removed from the list. Even worse, they could report the email as spam. After so many reports, your marketing emails may be marked as a security risk. Email server providers aren't going to want to deliver your messages, at least not without warning the recipient.

This type of issue can impact any business that relies on online advertising. Being marked as spam means the percentage of opened emails drops significantly. The decline in open rates will only add to the problem.

Prolonged bulk spam emails can be viewed as coming from threatening domains with malware. Crossing over the threshold to be labeled as dangerous is a one-way ticket to a poor IP reputation that might be difficult to come back from. Of course, the best way to avoid falling down this spiral is to stay on top of your IP reputation.

Knowing your score will allow you to make changes before something negative grows out of control. Earning a positive reputation will ensure your emails are delivered.

What affects your IP reputation?

We've already touched on some factors that can lower your reputation score, but there are more things to watch out for. When analyzing your reputation, keep the following points in mind.

Email frequency

When you're first getting started with email marketing, you're technically classified as an unknown character. All that means is your score is neutral, and more emails need to be sent to make an impact.

What you want to avoid at this stage is sending out emails to too many recipients daily. That might be the quickest way to be labeled as spam and get blacklisted. Instead, send smaller batches to get the ball rolling. This is a steady way to build your reputation.

This also includes email frequency. Pay close attention to how your audience responds to the emails you send. Increasing how often emails are sent may sound like a good idea since more information gets out to the masses. However, tread lightly. If you send emails out too often, it could irritate recipients. Seeing your company pop up in their inbox every day might prompt complaints.

Malware attacks

When the internet was first blossoming across society, it was akin to the Wild West. There were viruses, hackers, and attacks being made on computers through the internet all the time. As technology advanced, so did our ability to combat potentially damaging programs.

Now, there's software created to wreak havoc and collect all kinds of private data; this is known as malware. Malware is bad news for major corporations and mom-and-pop shops. Not only can it infect internal systems, but it can reach out to customers. An IP reputation attack can happen so fast that it might be hard to trace the origins. It often occurs when users click a link with malware attached. Once a malicious program has invaded the computer, it can infiltrate your email list.

Suddenly, your IP address is being used to send out spam emails and attack other systems. Customers getting spammed or worse will tank an IP score. Malware protection can make all the difference.

Historical IP address data

Imagine sending out emails and doing your due diligence to maintain your IP reputation. After a while, you realize the emails aren't being opened. That seems strange since you have a good email list and haven't sent out any spam. If this happens, you might be the victim of ghosts from the past IP address.

How to check your IP reputation score

Checking your reputation score requires the use of tools. There are several sites online with the right tools available to help you understand what kind of standing your IP address reputation is in. You’ll also be able to gauge whether your IP reputation is a security risk.

To start, there's Google and Mail Tester. These IP reputation services allow you to provide a few bits of information to analyze your IP score. They'll even give you feedback to improve your reputation.

For a more advanced look, consider using the Mailchimp domain reputation checker. This IP reputation service takes a deeper look at your sending history to determine the IP reputation score. The tool will also explain how it reached that conclusion.

Tips to improve IP reputation

If your IP reputation is low, increasing it is essential for effective email marketing campaigns. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve it–some of which we've already mentioned throughout the article. We've put together a few more ways to help boost your IP reputation below.

Reanalyze your strategy

The easiest thing to do is look at what you're doing versus what happened when your score dropped.

Are you sending out too many emails? Is the open rate low? How informative are the messages you're sending? Are your subject lines clear and concise, or do they read like spam?

Watch for patterns in the emails that correlate to a drop in subscribers. Maybe you need to back off a little, or perhaps you need to send 2 emails a week that are more useful. Don't just send emails to send emails. Make it count.

Implement a firewall

A web application firewall, WAF, exists to keep spam and malware out. The server for the application uses a WAF to review everything that comes its way. With no malicious links getting past the firewall, malware can't get into the system.

Set up 2 servers

Efficiency is Business 101. Using the same IP address to handle email marketing and normal business emails might seem more efficient, but don't let the convenience fool you. Having 2 servers allows each one to focus on a different purpose. Emails sent to consumers are already sent at higher volumes. Removing business emails could majorly reduce the amount of activity, and streamlining the servers would show improvement.

Maintain a positive IP reputation for successful marketing campaigns

Your IP reputation dictates whether potential and existing customers see your marketing campaigns. A low reputation score can lead to deliverability issues, resulting in your campaigns never seeing the light of day. On the other hand, a positive IP reputation ensures your digital correspondence doesn't get flagged as spam and makes it to recipients' email boxes.

When it comes to getting the message across, you want to know that the tools your business uses in its marketing efforts are legitimate. From online ads and ad retargeting to email campaigns, Mailchimp helps keep your IP reputation in the green with automatic content reviews. This simple tool keeps everyone informed of potential problems.

Getting ahead of any issues and staying on top of your IP reputation score will keep your company from hitting marketing roadblocks. Avoid spam filters and get in front of the people who are most likely to engage with your emails by maintaining a good IP reputation.

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