How to Set-Up IPs for Bulk Mailing
Ip management. Are you ready for it?
If you are a mailer crossing over from using an ESP or (ESPs) to running your own mailing server, welcome to the fun of managing your own IPs. IPs are a big deal –a big, BIG deal. Every mailer needs them. Every mailer struggles to obtain and maintain them. Exactly HOW MANY IPs are needed is a common concern.
How many IPs will you need, of course…depends!
Typically, we tell new clients, who are just starting to mail off their own IPs, to get one /24 (or 254 usable IPs). But each mailer has different data, different campaigns and different ISPs to which they plan to mail. So some mailers will need several /24’s or maybe a couple of /27’s. It all depends.
You may be wondering, why you need multiple IPs in the first place? After all, when you mail off a conventional ESP they give you one IP and that works great. So, what gives?
Assuming you’re mailing in significant volume (250K plus a day) to major domains and cables, meaning Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, Google and Comcast, Time-Warner etc., you’re going to have to develop different strategies to achieve delivery. Each tactic in your over-all mailing protocol needs a single IP that may or may not be reused (again and again) depending on how things go.
To draw a military comparison, think of each IP is a soldier in your over-all mailing mission. Some will get wounded, some won’t make it back and others will be victorious. You’re flanking your target with all kinds of mailing weaponry.
If you’re mailing to unsegmented, general Internet email addresses you’ll have to be much more aggressive with your sending speed and much more creative with your use of IPs. But, this article’s focus is on major domains/cable sending strategy. The ideas is to try to KEEP your IPs as long as possible.
When sending high-volume, fully opt-in, commercial email there are two main reasons for needing multiple IPs: relative sending speed as it relates to volume and mailing segmentation.
When you’re sending a substantial volume of time-sensitive messages a day (say in the millions), you cannot rely on one IP. The time needed to deliver X million emails depends on your infrastructure, software, and your current deliverability reputation, both in terms of your IPs and your sending reputation with the target ISP(s). If you know your list of millions responds best at 6AM, you cannot wait for ONE IP to deliver your campaign at a trickle over 24 hours.
Segmentation is another reason for having multiple IP addresses. Because each IP address will build its own reputation, segmenting each mail stream by IP address will help you trouble-shoot what is and isn’t working with your mailing. If things go great with one IP you can copy that strategy for another. If not, then don’t repeat.
You can segment based on message type, list type as well as by ISP. Some recipients can’t get enough of your mailings, others are quickly irritated. Segment! Transactional email is one of the best ways to build up sending reputation. That’s a segment! Each ISP has their own sending rules they want you to follow. That’s a segment, in which you’ll want, to segment! Assigning one IP per sending method is great way to mitigate your risk and help you learn, day-by-day, what works best for you.
When to add more IPs
The best reason to add IPs is when you’re struggling to get your delivery times right and/or your segmentation strategy needs expanding. But please note, for major domain/cable mailing, don’t just add more IPs if you keep burning up blocks. If you’re instantly destroying blocks it’s time to re-examine your sending operation.
Easy Does It
Using a mailing platform like VoloMP is WAY more cost-effective than a conventional ESP. That said, incremental costs, like adding IP blocks, can rob your profits. And even if you’re flush with cash, don’t be too quick to just add IPs when it’s your sending reputation you need to work on. Vet your deliverability methods thoroughly before slapping on new IPs. If you don’t, you could risk destroying those fresh IPs; that’s time and money down the drain.
If your current deliverability reputation is tanking and your messages are getting throttled, go ahead and add IPs. You must proceed with caution though. This is to be a method for taking a fair-to-good reputation into a great one. It is not a substitute for finding the root cause. Check the ISPs’ postmaster pages to see if they reveal throttling rates, or you can analyze past mailing logs to find out your delivery rates.
Experiment with swapping IPs from one segment to another. VoloMP provides all kinds of ways for rotating IPs, as different IPs my yield different results for varied segments.
When adding or using new IP addresses, you will need to warm those puppies up by sending a smaller amount of email at first, and then slowly increasing your sending volume over time. This is to make you look like the legit marketer you are. IP warm-up takes time – anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month or more. Keep this into consideration before purchasing more IPs.
Good IPs are critical.
They are second only to your list in terms of mailing importance. Of course VoloMP provides you with a great mailing engine but without good IPs you’ll be stalled out before you even get sending. Purchase the very best you can find, then send slow and often until you’re blasting your carefully crafted segments with delish, mailing goodness.