By Kevin Senne
Several times over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with either prospects or new clients about their “email” history. I’ve now heard the idea of a pre-warmed dedicated IP, from multiple senders, on a couple of different platforms. It takes me back every time that I hear it, mostly because it must be presented in such a way that it actually inspires confidence.
I immediately feel bad for the sender, because most of the time they were so misled that they didn’t go through a proper warm-up, damaged their reputation, or just can’t understand why they are having deliverability issues.
We’ve been writing quite a bit about domain reputation lately, because for the vast majority of your email list, domain reputation is going to determine inbox placement. Sophisticated ISP’s moved off of IP reputation as a major factor years ago.
Check Your Calendar
The ESP’s still pushing IP reputation either don’t know any better, don’t have the technology to flesh out what’s really happening, or maybe still think it is 2003. The ISP’s who really look at IP reputation are the small ones built on a very old system of blacklists that don’t much matter to high quality email marketers.
Let’s get back to the notion of a pre-warmed dedicated IP. I can almost understand an ESP promoting a shared pool environment as “pre-warmed”, although that’s not even true anymore. We see and hear about that used as a carrot for some inexperienced marketers, who don’t yet know the ins and outs of the deliverability process.
Those beginning marketers may read an article about the warm-up process and then they hear about something being pre-warmed. If your ESP is selling a pre-warmed IP address, and then tells you that you don’t have to go through a warm-up, that sounds great. The problem is that it just isn’t true.
Any sender of significant volume must establish their domain reputation. When you go to a new ESP, or domain, or setup internally, you must establish this reputation. This is based on a combination of things. Your email domain has a reputation, but so does the top-level domain to which it rolls up. If you have any links in your email that lead to partner links, their domain (and top-level) reputation is factored in.
The ISP looks at your list make-up, any previous domains used (or currently in use), and the IP address. You have to go through the warm-up with your own domain. Just because someone else has sent email from that IP doesn’t help you as a sender in any way. The truth is that for a dedicated IP, the fact that someone else has just been sending on that IP, can count against you.
Dedicated IP’s should be unused for at least a year prior. It’s like putting on someone else’s worn, wrinkled, and stained shirt and wearing it to your wedding. You just wouldn’t do it. Don’t do it with an IP.
I understand that the warm-up period is long and difficult. You are starting on a new setup, and presumably you switched because your new ESP has lots of features that will enhance your marketing. I know you can’t wait to use all these new bells and whistles, and the last thing you want to explain to your management team is that it’s going to be 30-45 days before you can plan on ramping up to full volume. It is a necessary evil in today’s climate, and it’s the smart play.
Building that reputation is so important to setting you up for long-term success. Don’t get misled into believing the fairy tale of a pre-warmed IP. You can’t be ready to send, until you yourself send email from your own domain. You have to go through the process, there aren’t any short cuts.
Modern Marketers must orchestrate and deliver marketing messages that are relevant to individual preferences and behavior. Getting email delivered to the inbox is critical to this process.
Download Email Deliverability: Guide for Modern Marketers to find out how to achieve email deliverability that really delivers.
Image source: Flickr