Your IP Address is Your Email Identity.
A critical factor for the in-house marketer is the ability that you gain domain control and management. Your domain is a critical piece of the email communications puzzle. If somebody reports you as a spammer, they report your IP address, thus it is critical to avoid sharing IP’s with strangers and to manage IP’s effectively. Your email server should have the ability to use various IP addresses for various purposes. For new list signups, or optin’s, the IP address used should be a different address than those used to send email to long time list recipients. This ensures that the IP address used to send emails to long-term recipients is much less likely to be blacklisted as spam. This also empowers list managers with the ability to hold clean, or backup, IP addresses.
When you use an ESP you are likely sharing IP addresses with multiple, maybe thousands, of list managers. Many of whom are not concerned with keeping the ESP’s IP addresses from becoming blacklisted as spam. Some list management firms offer the ability to use separate IP addresses, however the cost is typically quite high. Your status as a valid sender of email is critical to your ability to deliver email messages. Also, to protect your reputation, email server technology should empower managers with the ability to easily implement popular identification protocols**.
List Hygiene: Keeping it clean
1) Email Capture
There are various ways to validate email addresses. In addition to the time of capture many list mangers run validity checks on a recurring basis. Example: A Web browser placing an order with XYZ Company accidentally types “.con” rather than “.com.” A validation tool will inform the individual that email addresses cannot end with “.con” and the address is not valid. In addition, a validator will go one step further and ensure that the URL in the email address can actually receive email. This is not an exact science, but if it prevents losing a list recipient forever and ensures one less email bounce to a recipient Email provider then your reputation is better protected.
Removing bounced email addresses from your list will ensure that your status as a valid sender of email is protected. Sending to non-existent addresses is a clear signal that you are a spammer and should be avoided. Many list systems do not allow for easy management of bounce data. There are thousands of different bounce types and most email servers do not allow the proper parsing of bounce data. Many times a soft bounce occurs since the email recipient’s inbox is full. Without proper bounce data processing this legitimate email recipient might be removed from your list.
A hard bounce is caused when the recipient server reports that the user does not exist and is almost always, sometimes automatically, removed from the list. Newer email server technology empowers marketers with the ability to interact with challenge bounces. These are bounces caused by spam systems that require a manual interaction in order to prove you are not a spammer. Existing email server technologies do not allow the ability to process this recipient and they will likely be lost. There are almost three thousand (3,000) defined bounce formats and your email server, or ESP, should have the ability to identify all types of bounced email.