HOW TO FIX YOUR EMAIL IP REPUTATION?
We’ve all heard the stories or have had the worry that our emails won’t get delivered. Click-throughs, open-rates, conversions, they’ll all plummet, and you end up getting invited to your boss’s office under stern circumstances. And then we wake up—sweating.
It was only a dream.
Some companies are not so fortunate. They’ll be sending emails without a care in the world and then BAM they’re not getting delivered. Or worse, they’re being tagged as spam (the horror!).
A little investigative work is done, and the culprit turns out to be…the email server!?. The IP’s reputation!?
How did that happen and how do I fix it? Let’s answer those questions.
What is Email IP Reputation?
Email service providers (ESPs), like Gmail for instance, and email filtering systems (EFS), like SenderScore for instance, get together and try and prevent the everpresent email spam circulating everyone’s inboxes.
They track this through different factors:
- The number of emails sent from your IP address
- The number of spam complaints from recipients
- If emails simply read “spammy.”
- If you’re not keeping up with your email hygiene
If enough of these factors add up, the reputation of your IP address will be put to the question, and if there’s enough cause to justify blacklisting, the ESPs and EFSs can do so.
This means your emails will either be rejected or not be delivered at all.
The bad news (note: there’s not really good news) is that the spamming doesn’t have to be done by you if you’re on a shared server (multiple businesses on the same IP).
You could simply be caught in the “bad neighborhood” effect.
What is the “Bad Neighborhood” Effect?
There are two different types of IPs: shared and dedicated.
If you’re on a shared server, that means that your IP is part of a network—or neighborhood. So Bob’s Flowers could be sharing the same server with a different Bob’s Sports Gambling.
Sports Gambling Bob loves to send “spammy” emails to the suckers he gives horrible odds too.
Flower Bob is nothing but generous, sending thoughtful and useful emails to his subscribers.
Unfortunately for flower Bob, Sports Gambling Bob’s actions affect him poorly. The ESPs will not differentiate between the two companies and will blacklist the entire server.
It’s always wise, when you start your email marketing campaigns, that you make sure you’re on a dedicated server.
A dedicated server means that you’re the only mailer sending from that IP. You have the power to hurt or help your reputation—and if you follow the rules for proper emailing, there shouldn’t be any issues.
Dedicated IPs aren’t hard to come by, but they do cost more than a shared IP. The cost, however, is well worth it to avoid being in a bad neighborhood.
If you have ended up in a bad neighborhood, though, you can try to speak with your ISP about the problem, but they typically won’t/can’t help.
Another trick would be to send emails through a third-party service (like MailChimp) that has a good reputation. The service should scrub all your emails before sending which removes all trace of the bad origin-IP.
If you’re already on a dedicated server and your reputation was hurt one way or another, then you must do some other work to get back into the ESPs good graces.
How to Improve Email Reputation with Email Validation?
Luckily, there is more than one way to improve your server IP reputation. But the first thing you have to do is stop sending emails.
Continuing to send emails before having a strategy in place to fix your email server IP reputation will result in more damaging of said reputation.
You can revive your reputation, but it will take some time and effort. Firstly, you need to ensure that you’re sending emails that your subscribers actually want to see and that you’re not overwhelming their inbox all the time.
In other words, you need to establish a track record of proper sending to the ISPs, ESP, EFS, and all the other initialisms and acronyms. You can do that by:
Maintaining Proper Email Hygiene
This should be step No. 1 in your reputation fix. Maintaining proper email hygienemeans going through and sorting out all the email addresses that are bouncing. You should be sending emails to a list that is free from users that rarely open or don’t open at all due to inactivity and whatnot.
You can read much more about email hygiene right here.
Rate of Sending
Slow down. Make sure you’re not sending your emails too quickly through different ESPs. Spread the love. Note what time zones your subscribers live in and send accordingly.
Pushing your emails too quickly is a red flag.
Content Is King
Another great way to increase your email IP reputation is to make sure your emails don’t sound like spam.
If you write great email content, your subscribers are also more likely to engage with your emails.
More engagements mean the less likely your IP reputation will suffer.
If you stick to this advice and make sure you’re doing everything in your power to ensure you’re doing the right thing, your IP reputation will slowly fix itself.
Unfortunately, there’s no set a timetable for when you’ll get unblocked. It might be in your interest to get a whole new IP and start fresh with best practices in mind.
Whatever you choose to do, following this guide will ensure that you always know how to keep your email IP reputation in the green.