Build Your IP Reputation

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Warm up your IP address with initial email sends.
  • Ensure your IP address maintains a good reputation.

Who Is It?

Are you more likely to answer your buzzing phone when you see a friend calling or a blocked number? Probably your friend, right? (But we won’t tell if you ignore those calls sometimes, too.) The point is, based on what you know or don’t know about the number, you can make an informed decision on whether to answer or not.

And while the numbers behind email addresses aren’t as obvious as phone numbers, email services perform similar screening tactics when evaluating the reputation of IP addresses. The email services are more likely to accept messages that come from a trusted IP address than an unfamiliar number. Don’t let your IP address get the cold shoulder.

Warm Up Your IP Address

The best way to develop your email marketing reputation is to send only relevant messages to those who opt to receive them and, of course, follow all sending regulations. So how do you do that if you’ve never sent an email message from an IP address before? As part of the Sender Authentication Package (SAP), you get a dedicated IP address for sending. But before you send, let’s talk about how you can properly warm up your IP address.

Start Slow

Ramping up your new IP address is a marathon, not a sprint. Which means slow and consistent sending will pay off. How do you send responsibly?

  • Keep your sends at 50,000 or below per day for the first week.
  • For the second week, you can move up to 100,000 messages per day.
  • For the third week, raise your limit to 200,000 per day.
  • For the fourth week, set your cap at 400,000 per day.
  • For the fifth week, limit your sends to 800,000 per day.
  • Beginning with the sixth week, we recommend limiting your sends to 1.6 million per day.

Of course, if you reach the amount of your regular sends before one of these weeks, you can start sending normally from there. But these guidelines help you warm your IP address gradually and develop your reputation over time.

Know Where You’re Sending

Email services like Gmail and Outlook cover pretty much the entire world, so you can count on these send limits working for those services no matter where you are. Other services around the globe might require some more care, though. Typically, sends of about 20,000 messages per day work for ISPs, but you can drop that total as low as 5,000 per day if there’s any doubt over higher send rates.

See a Send Strategy in Action

Michele smiling

Michele Hansley is a technical marketer for outdoor gear and apparel brand Northern Trail Outfitters (NTO), and her supervisor Isabelle tasked her with warming up a new IP address for NTO’s new product line. She’s aware of the send limits from Marketing Cloud help documentation, but she decides to dig a little deeper and modify the send practices for NTO’s marketing efforts.

Michele starts by moving some of the transactional sends for NTO’s website from the existing IP address to the new IP address. These sends include welcome emails for new accounts and transactional send receipts. As time goes on, she adds some surveys and other material that isn’t as time-sensitive as sales offers. Finally, she splits sends for larger sales over several days to make sure email service providers don’t get overwhelmed by all the new traffic.

Her efforts pay off, and one month later the new IP address is humming along. Of course, the spectacular content and subscriber respect from NTO helps out, but the IP warming process is critical to maintaining the brand’s strong reputation.

Growing Forward

As you expand your marketing efforts and send more messages, you can outgrow the capabilities of a single IP address. In fact, Marketing Cloud recommends maintaining a dedicated IP address for marketing sends and a separate dedicated IP address for transactional sends. That way, you ensure that time-sensitive transactional sends (such as shipping information or account balance alerts) aren’t affected by unforeseen issues with marketing sends. You can add more IP addresses to maintain optimum send levels (generally around 250,000 per month for a good reputation), but remember that each IP address requires the same IP warming process that your initial address required. So plan ahead!

Sum It Up

Ready to warm up your IP address? Keep these fundamentals in mind.

  • Split large, non–time-sensitive sends over various days.
  • Split campaigns between a new Marketing Cloud IP address and your legacy mail system.
  • Migrate over smaller-volume, triggered campaigns to Marketing Cloud before larger marketing programs.
  • Create non–time-sensitive campaigns (for example, subscriber surveys) to use specifically for ramping up new IP addresses.
  • Follow send limits for the first month.

After all of this activity, your email sending engine is warmed up and ready to go. Put your vehicle in gear and get going!

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