IP Warming – What Is It And Why Is It Important for Marketers

For those B2B and B2C marketers that migrate to a new Marketing Automation Platform or Email Service Provider (ESP), the choice of paying for a dedicated Internet Protocol (IP) or using a lower-cost shared IP becomes an important one as it can affect email deliverability. Shared IP pools allow senders to come online quickly without an IP warming period, which is the gradual process to establish reputation as a legitimate email sender to your recipient’s ISPs. When using a shared IP, your emails will be affected by the reputation and habits of all of the other senders using that pool of shared IPs. Selecting a dedicated IP allows you to establish and build your own IP reputation without any other senders affecting or sharing it, but there are some important steps to take if you choose this option.

IP imageISPs and networks put a great deal of scrutiny on new IP addresses because there is no historical data available on them. Because of this, some may think it can be easier to rebuild a poor reputation then to start out on a new IP address. This is untrue; untold damages may result from shared sender’s poor reputations,including things you cannot control, while warming a new IP has a clearly established process to follow and is driven by your team or hired professional.

Why put time and resources into a dedicated IP and the warming process? Spammers are known to hop around different IP addresses, sending high volumes of mail from each new IP address, and then moving on to a fresh IP when they get blocked. This is often done without proper technical configuration and very sloppy sending practices. Spammers tend to have high volumes, a high ratio of complaints, high numbers of unknown users, high spam trap hits and low engagement. ISPs and networks view all new IP addresses the same and provide restrictions on incoming mail until a sending reputation has been proved over time.

Good, legitimate senders must first prove themselves on a new dedicated IP. If your email program mimics a spammer with high volumes, a high ratio of complaints and low engagement then you will be viewed as a spammer.

How to avoid looking like a spammer? ISP and network algorithms are sophisticated and accurately provide a view of your mail stream.  Properly warm your IP by mailing to your most engaged users first. This helps build the IP reputation. After identifying those recipients, build out a volume ramp up plan to help warm up the IP. By establishing a proper sending pattern from your business, the ISPs and networks can identify what to expect from your IP address.

There are several very important, technical steps to take to ensure your IP is warmed properly to avoid major errors or disruption in service. Part two of this post will outline steps ANNUITAS goes through when we work with our clients developing an Email Deliverability Strategy and how to build an effective IP warming plan.

*Note-most of this work needs to be done with a qualified email deliverability consultant, ESP or marketing automation professional.

Trust us, this is not something you want to go wrong. Taking the right steps to ensure you have properly warmed your IP to maximize email deliverability is an important part of your Demand Generation Strategy. Read part two next week.

Author: Chris Arrendale, CIPM, CIPP/US CIPP/IT @arrendale Chief Deliverability and Privacy Strategist, ANNUITAS


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