Most marketing and sales software vendors (MAPs, email service providers, event management software) use shared IP addresses across the majority of their client base. While a shared IP address is more affordable, and clients with low email volumes achieve higher deliverability by being grouped with the email volume of other organizations, there is still high risk. SiriusDecisions has seen vendor clients put in place several best practices.
A number of marketing and sales technologies (e.g. marketing automation platforms [MAPs], email service providers, event management software) heavily rely on email. Most vendors in these categories use shared IP addresses across the majority of their client base. What does this mean for their clients? Typically, it’s a really good thing, as clients with low email volumes achieve higher deliverability by being grouped with the email volume of other organizations, a shared IP address is more affordable, and net new clients do not need to provide for IP warming.
However, using shared IP ranges can also have negative repercussions, as one client with bad sending practices or poor list maintenance practices can affect email deliverability for other clients. How can a vendor avoid these problems? SiriusDecisions has seen vendor clients put in place the following best practices:
Deliverability practice. Many vendors have a dedicated resource or department that focuses exclusively on email deliverability. This includes teaching clients about email deliverability and providing guidance on list maintenance and management best practices, working with the major ISPs to white-label IP addresses and resolve sending infractions such as blacklists, and stewarding the incorporation and administration of internal and client-facing policies and procedures that improve email deliverability.
Graduation. Several vendors that use shared IP addresses allocate their clients across several IP ranges. When a client is brought on board, its sender practices are evaluated and it is placed in an IP range with organizations that have similar practices. Companies with perceived strong sending practices are allocated to IP ranges used by other strong organizations; companies with perceived weak deliverability are assigned to IP ranges with lower thresholds. Later, a client can be moved up or down into a different IP range as its sending practices evolve.
Event notification. Some vendors have put in place business processes to highlight clients’ internal resources when large deliverability issues occur. In doing so, they implement procedures that guide how to address the event. For example, a client that sends an email with a 20 percent bounce rate is stopped from sending out additional emails until it has a discussion with professional services and institutes specific steps.
Forced retirement. A large number of vendors automatically prevent the distribution of additional messages to known bad email addresses (e.g. an email address that has hard-bounced an email from a client’s account). Many vendors use this same process to prevent clients from inadvertently emailing contacts that have opted out of receiving emails.
Registration. A very simple – yet frequently overlooked – way of improving email deliverability is to ensure that bad email addresses don’t enter the system in the first place. Because bounced emails, emails sent to spam traps, and spam reports hurt email deliverability, some vendors have default validation on their online registration forms for email addresses. For example, all email addresses must contain a “@” and a typical email address suffix (e.g. “.org, “.com,” “.net”). In addition, several vendors have added validation (available by default or by client option) to exclude certain types of email addresses (e.g. marketing@, sales@). I will follow up with a separate post on this topic.
Email authentication. Adhering to email sender authentication standards such as DomainKeys Identified Mail, Sender Policy Framework and Sender ID should be considered mandatory, but not all vendors do this. This authenticates email messages sent from the MAP, increasing the probability that they will reach a customer’s or prospect’s inbox rather than end up in bulk mail folders.
For marketing and sales software vendors that rely heavily on email, what other processes or practices do you have in place to drive email deliverability within your client base?