Do you need a dedicated IP address?

Sending email from a dedicated IP address

A couple weeks ago, we talked about the differences between sending email from a shared IP address and sending from a dedicated IP address. Sending from a shared IP means you send from the same IP as a group of other email programs, while having a dedicated IP means that you alone send from that IP address.

How do you know whether it’s time to move to a dedicated IP address? As we mentioned before, there’s no universal answer; depending on your needs, one may fit your email program better than the other.

However, if you find that the items on this list describe your email program, it might be time to venture out onto your own and get a dedicated IP.

1) You send a lot of email.

Shared IPs are ideal for senders who don’t send enough email to establish a reputation with mailbox providers. This could be low-volume senders with a small email list or brands who send a lot of email but do so infrequently, around the holidays for instance. Without the volume or consistency to create and maintain a sending history, small senders would have trouble hitting the inbox on a dedicated IP address.

On the contrary, if you’re sending tens of thousands of emails each day, you need an IP where you can stretch out your legs. Larger email programs are well-suited to reap the benefits of sending from a dedicated IP.

2) You send high-quality, engaging email.

While spam filters don’t rely on content filters to assess spam as they once did, the quality of your content indirectly factors into your inbox placement. The better your content, the more likely your email audience is to keep engaging with it. And the more recipients engage with your email, the more likely it is to keep getting to the inbox.

Mailbox providers use engagement metrics to determine whether an email is wanted or would be better suited in the spam folder. If you send from a shared IP, the content from other senders influences your inbox placement. If other senders drive low engagement, it could signal to mailbox providers that they should start placing less content from that IP in the inbox, including yours.

Even worse, recipients typically won’t engage with an email if it never gets to their inbox. That means poor content coming from other senders on your IP can further damage your engagement metrics, and therefore, your inbox placement. With a dedicated IP, you can ensure only high-quality, high-engagement content is sent from your IP.

3) The senders on your shared IP are hurting your inbox placement.

Your sender reputation affects your ability to get to the inbox. While every provider determines sender reputation differently, all of them take note of the history associated with your sending IP. What readers do with emails from that IP—click, ignore, mark as spam—affects sender reputation, and therefore, whether your email gets to the inbox.

If you send from a shared IP, your sender reputation is only as good as the reputation of the other senders on your IP.  At best, you’re propping up the inbox placement of less reputable senders on your IP who are getting ignored or marked as spam. At worst, those senders could be preventing you from attaining the inbox placement that you deserve.

Dedicated IP addresses allow senders to take full control of their IP reputation, giving them the best chance at achieving maximum inbox placement.

4) You want to own your IP reputation from the start.

Some senders might balk at moving to a dedicated IP because of the IP warming process it requires: mailbox providers can’t assess the quality of an IP with no sending history, which means senders have to slowly establish a reputation by warming up their IP gradually.

On the plus side, a dedicated IP gives you insight into your IP’s entire sending history because you own your IP reputation from Day 1. After all, warming an IP may seem daunting, but it’s easier to establish a good reputation on a new dedicated IP than it is to repair a damaged reputation. As long as you send good email, you’ll know your sending history is good too.

5) You want to take additional precautions against deliverability issues.

For high-quality senders who want to go above and beyond deliverability best practices, you can take additional measures to help ensure favorable treatment from mailbox providers and spam filters.

Securing a spot on an email whitelist or attaining certification through services like Return Path signals to mailbox providers that you’re a reputable sender. They’ll take this into consideration when determining your inbox placement.

Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to certify the quality of an entire shared IP off the practices of a single sender, so these certification services typically require a dedicated IP to qualify.

6) You want to address potential deliverability issues quickly.

While dedicated IPs shield you from inbox placement issues caused by other senders, it’s not a foolproof way to get every email to the inbox. It’s possible you might still encounter an issue getting email to the inbox, even if it’s just at a single mailbox provider like Gmail or Yahoo.

Fortunately, having a dedicated IP makes it easier to isolate, address, and solve deliverability issues in the event that they do happen. You don’t have to worry about someone else’s poor sending habits affecting your inbox placement, but if your inbox placement ever does take a hit, you know exactly which sender is causing the problem. That’s half the battle.

7) You want to take full advantage of the expert deliverability services available to you.

Dedicated IPs give you control of your sender reputation, but they don’t mean you have to go it alone. ESPs that offer dedicated IPs (like PostUp) often have expert deliverability consultants on hand to warm up your dedicated IP, maintain your sender reputation, and solve any inbox placement issues that manage to creep up. We’ve helped brands like 1440 media move to a dedicated IP with great success, seeing open rates of over 50% after they migrated to PostUp.

If you have a large, high-quality email program, it might be time for you to get serious about your deliverability. To get dedicated, if you will. Take a look at PostUp’s deliverability solutions to see how we help senders make it to the inbox.

Editor, PostUp PlayBook