Deliverability Dilemmas Solved: Will Moving to a New IP Address Fix Our Sender Reputation?
Q: Our sender reputation is pretty bad. I know we need to make changes to our email program, but are we better off just moving to a clean IP address to get out from under the mess we've made?
A: It sounds so logical and works in so many other areas: When things are going badly, make a fresh start. Unfortunately, in the world of email reputation and deliverability, there are no fresh starts. Why? Well, the reason reputation metrics are so important is that they help ISPs differentiate your email from spammers.
New IP addresses don’t have any reputation “credit,” so they're viewed with suspicion because most of the time they really are the sources of the worst kind of spam … and not a marketer trying to make a fresh start. ISPs don’t have the time or inclination to figure out the difference. Besides, if you don’t address the practices that got you that bad reputation, you’ll never improve your deliverability on any IP address. In summary, changing to a new IP address is going to make a bad situation much, much worse.
So, how does one improve sender reputation? Rather than making a fresh start, I recommend going back to basics. Here are six steps that'll improve your reputation; it won’t happen overnight, but you'll see better deliverability in the long run.
1. Get your infrastructure in order. A properly configured infrastructure is the first clue an ISP has that the incoming mail is legitimate. Are your Domain Name System (DNS) and HELO settings properly configured? Some ISPs block for reverse DNS or HELO failures. Is your sending domain set up to receive as well as send mail? It doesn’t have to be the same server, but you must have valid MX records for that domain.