Data and IPs
Confession time! As difficult as this is to admit, there is a basic fact about mailing you’ve got to know. The most important element of your mailing protocol isn’t your mailing software [PAUSE –for dramatic effect], it’s…your data and IPs.
There it is.
Data and IPs. IPs and data. They are the dynamic duo –the Ren & Stimpy, the Crockett & Tubbs — that decide whether or not you’re going to be a mailing God.
A sweet, sweet mailing platform like VoloMP will make your mailing life more efficient and just better over-all but, can never overcome a ho-hum list or spotty IP space.
VoloMP has been in the mailing biz for nearly 15 years. During this time, we have seen the metamorphosis of the mailing ecosystem. Individuals and companies mailing to the major domains, like Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL etc., have endured and enjoyed incredible ups and downs. But one thing remains true, without good data and good IPs you’re toast.
Some folks start mailing with us, servers blazing, with the true grit and finances required to take their mailing operations through the stratosphere. Others sign-up with just a shoe-string budget and a hopeful heart. And yet, the biggest determinate of whether or not they can stick it out longer than three months are the quality of their lists and IPs.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a technical whiz or a marketing guru, without that dynamic Data&IPs duo on your side, mailing mastery will slip between your fingers.
Back before CAN-Spam legislation, you could “ride dirty” and make a tidy profit. Any shameless soul with a list could hook-up some servers, hit “send” and the money would come. For awhile, anyway. Not anymore.
Conventional wisdom states that the best data is generated directly off purchases. The logic being that if a person is willing to whip out a credit card and actually BUY something, odds are that person will do it again! But the fact the vast majority of high-volume mailers are sending to *gasp* purchased lists –ones they themselves bought or have been contracted to mail to via a third party.
So what then is considered quality data?
Let the OutKast song “So Fresh, So Clean” play in your head. Quality data:
It’s fresh. It’s been generated within the last three months or less and has not been re-sold a hundred-bazillion times over. Maybe it’s just been re-purposed a handful of times –let’s be reasonable.
It’s clean. A great list has been scrubbed ruthlessly. It’s been run through at least two hygiene services. Don’t go budget on list cleaning, a bouncy list can gum-up your entire sending plan.
And last but not least, you must know how the data was generated. Otherwise, if you’re not aware of your data’s origin, you won’t know to what verticals (health, As Seen on TV, mortgage etc.) will delight your recipients. A false start, with unsuitable campaigns, could rapidly deteriorate your list.
An important side note here is that if you’re fortunate enough to have highly responsive data, it is even more critical that you be very skilled at managing it. Good data tends to be volatile and so requires a soft touch to keep it clicking in a happily engaged manner, not slap happy on the “Spam” button.
Buddhism has a term called “radical acceptance.” It means accepting what IS on a deep level– without judgment. You don’t scream about what’s right or wrong. You simply accept. Finding good IPs requires a Zen like mindset.
Nobody wants to sell you IPs for mailing but, some will. And sometimes, those IPs will be good. But mostly they won’t be. You must accept this now.
Breath in. Breath out. Wax on. Wax off.
How do you find good IPs?
You ask around.
People will point you in the general direction of quality providers. Those providers will quote you reasonable prices, hovering around $1 to $2 per IP. Sometimes they’ll be honest with you and tell you they’re “gently used” or “good for cables and Hotmail but not for Yahoo,” and it will be true.
But sometimes (many times) they’ll be wrong about the IP block’s quality. INTENTIONALLY wrong? Hard to say. But it will happen and you will be upset. Very upset.
You’ll blame the provider. You’ll blame the mailing software (eh hem). It’ll be a thing. But then you’ll get an amazing block of IPs and you’ll let those bad feelings go, until your amazing block stops working.
Rinse and repeat. Accept this truth now, or stick to mailing with a traditional ESP (and paying through the nose to do so).
The good news is that once you get good at mailing, IP providers will fall in love with you (and your regular payments). They’ll loosen up and give you even BETTER IPs, except for when they don’t, but by then you’ll know each other and you’ll work something out. And before you know it, you’ll be in a full fledged business relationship, one that will feed your growing mailing operation.
A key point about good IPs is that you must work to keep them that way. In other words, monitor complaint rates! They’re the key to keeping good IPs good. Cherish those golden IPs to keep them delivering. It’s generally easier to keep the good ones good than hunt down new IP space.
So there you have it. Mailing has many moving parts. Your mailing software is one of those important elements. But in the end, we must concede that the quality of your lists and IPs will always out-rank even an awesome sauce, virtuoso mailing platform like VoloMP.