Creating relevant emails, client-oriented subject lines, and a valuable product? Hiring the marketing gurus and working 24/7? Paying extra money to make your outreach as profitable as possible? Good job! But sometimes, this isn’t all it takes to create a fruitful email marketing campaign.
If you follow all formal rules of outbound email marketing, but things just don’t seem to work out for you, maybe it’s time to look under the hood. Have you checked your sending IP reputation? After all, an IP address reputation plays a crucial role in the overall success of your marketing efforts. Let’s dive into the details of IP reputation, explore why it’s so important and see how it can help you improve your email deliverability.
What Exactly is IP Reputation? What’s All the Fuss About the IP Address Reputation?
When faced with IP reputation for the first time, some people get slightly frightened by the term. However, the concept is as easy as ABC. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) serve as bouncers of your recipients’ inboxes. Their job is to evaluate all individuals trying to enter the subscriber’s inbox, so they are the ones who decide whether this or that persona can get in.
ISPs’ main goal is to preserve a safe and useful environment. This way, these bouncers can either let anyone in your inbox or dismiss them, but only depending on their bad or good IP reputation. This “status” is defined by each IP’s past actions and/or associations. So, just like in real life, IP addresses have reputations and, according to them, ISPs decide how to perceive you and what to do with your content. This is IP reputation.
In general, Internet service providers may identify your IP address as “bad” based on specific metrics, including:
- a high number of bounces (bounce rates);
- a vast number of spam complaints (spam rates);
- the volume of your emails;
- honeypots or spam traps;
- the regularity (or frequency) of your emails.
So, if you have a history of high bounce rates and spam complaints, the bouncers will most likely reject any message you want to send. A background of low spam issues, on the other hand, will get you a great IP reputation and give the ISPs the green light, letting your content in the users’ inboxes. In other words, you’ll be trustworthy in the eyes of the Internet providers. This brings us to the next question.
What Makes IP Reputation So Important?
While IP reputation isn’t the sole factor impacting whether your letters make it to the inbox or not, it is a vital element of your email deliverability.
In a nutshell, your IP represents your sending environment, as well as information about emails and their senders. This sending environment is sometimes decisive to the ISP’s conclusion regarding the quality of your content. So your domain and IP reputation helps Internet service providers decide if they can trust you and, thus, the content you want to spread. This way, if you want your message delivered to the subscriber’s inbox, make sure you have a terrific IP reputation. Remember: a good IP reputation equals faster delivery and a lower number of bounces, so it’s vital to continuously work on its improvement. But before trying to improve your IP reputation, you have to check it.
How to Check Your IP Reputation?
Checking your IP reputation is actually a piece of cake, especially with the right tools at hand. But before we resort to professional software for seeing whether your IP address is good or bad, it’s important to do something else.
Identify Your Primary IP Address for Sending Emails
First and foremost, you need to identify your primary IP address, whether you’re using a dedicated or shared IP. It’s really easy to do: just take any email you’ve recently sent and look at the header section — there is your IP address. Now, it’s time for the next step.
Resort to IP Reputation Checker Tools
So now you know your sending IPs and, thus, you know what you’re working with. Instead of checking your IP reputation manually, we suggest resorting to automatic IP reputation-checking tools. They’ll show you the results in real-time so that you can immediately make quick and relevant improvements.
Sometimes, when there’s limited data at hand, the tools may show “neutral” or “good” ratings, which won’t tell you much about your reputation. But if your IP is rated other than “neutral” (that is, “poor” or “bad”), these IP reputation services may actually give you a valuable insight or two. Let’s take a look at our top pick of IP tools.
Google Postmaster Tools
Google Postmaster Tools is one of the most reliable reputation checkers as it owns and manages a gigantic database. If you often send electronic messages via Google, the system is well aware of your sending reputation, habits as well as your IP and domain statuses. For this reason, Google Postmaster is a credible IP reputation tool.
Using this email service, you’ll be able to do a bunch of things. First of all, you’ll explore relevant and detailed data about the emails the Gmail system receives from your domain. In addition, the software isn’t limited to identifying your IP reputation only— Postmaster Tools can also determine your domain reputation. It also works with things like encryption usage, spam rates, and the success or failure rates of email authentication. To sum up, it’s an all-in-one kind of tool that’ll help you solve any reputation issues you might be having (and that you don’t know of yet).
Another helpful point when it comes to your sending IP reputation is blacklists — or blocklists. For example, if your emails don’t get to the customers’ inbox, the reason might be in having your sending IP blocked by major anti-spam filters and notable blocklists. The most convenient way of checking your IP reputation for blacklists is with programs like MultiRBL.
Although they won’t give you 100% of the information and some work will have to be done manually, in most cases, this software will tell you how well your domain and IP addresses look in the eyes of the main blocklists. Therefore, you’ll obtain useful information on why your emails might end up in a spam folder.
Mail Tester may be one of the easiest software to check your IP. It’s super quick and has a simple interface, making this app convenient both for pros and beginners. For example, you don’t even have to search for your sending IP address manually as the tool will do it for you. The website will generate an email address for you, you’ll send an email to that email, and voila — you’ll see your domain address.
The tool’s formula is pretty simple: it gives your domain a score out of 10, and if it’s less than a 10 (even 7 to 9), you’ll get practical suggestions on improving your web reputation. This software is one of the finest tools for taking the performance of your company and the activity on your website to the next level. And while Mail Tester isn’t a free tool, you can still try it for a limited amount of time. So be sure to try it out.
Cisco Talos Intelligence IP Reputation Checker
Cisco is probably the oldest networking business company out there. Or, at least, one of them. This puts Talos, made by Cisco, among the most reliable tools for checking IP addresses.
Basically, what this website does is analyze your email sending habits accumulated over time. It then gathers all valuable data points regarding your account to determine what kinds of messages you usually send. Consequently, it sees how many of your messages are marked as “spam” and what your reputation on the market is. The software also builds graphs, showing you the spikes in your activity so that you know how consistent you are with sending emails. With Talos, it’s really easy to find out why your letters aren’t getting to a client’s inbox.
Sender Score by Validity
Sender Score is one of the industry’s top companies, and it got its name for a reason. The business is focused exclusively on collecting, analyzing, and then scoring IP addresses. It’s safe to say that this website was created to identify IP reputations. Sender Score’s assessing algorithms aren’t difficult to understand. The tool analyzes general information about your sending account:
- Spam complaints
- Volume data points, influencing reputations
- External email reputation
- Frequency of sending emails to unidentified (unknown) users
- Rejected messages
- Other reputation issues
Simply put, such tools evaluate your sending domain’s spam potential and the quality of your messages to help you build a no-spam and sending reputation.
How to Improve Your IP Reputation
At this point, you know what sending IP reputation is and why it is so vital to your email marketing efforts. You’ve even got acquainted with the niche’s best tools for maintaining a decent IP reputation. Keep in mind that each of them usually provides relevant tips for improving the status of your domain, as seen by ISPs. We recommend that you follow these tips because they’re based on your company’s data individually. But other than that, here are some tips to improve your domain reputation manually:
— provide actual information about your sending persona in registration forms
— steer clear of creating several identical accounts
— compile exclusive and relevant messages
— create subject lines that don’t look like spam
— avoid cyber attacks
There you go! Don’t hesitate to use one of these tools to boost your business’s revenue. And if that doesn’t help you increase your email deliverability, check out tools like Folderly :)