" email deliverability Archives - LuxSci

Posts Tagged ‘email deliverability’

The Benefits of Dedicated IP Addresses vs. Shared

Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

Choosing a dedicated or shared IP address may seem like an inconsequential decision, but it can significantly impact the effectiveness of your patient engagement efforts. Learn why dedicated IP addresses are preferred for transactional and marketing emails in the healthcare industry.

dedicated ip address

What is a Dedicated IP Address?

An IP address is a string of unique characters that can be found in the headers of your sent emails. Internet service providers use them to identify the origin of the email message. ISPs use the IP address’s reputation to determine if the message is spam and should be delivered to the recipient.

Dedicated IP addresses belong to your organization and cannot be used by other customers of your email service provider. By having a dedicated IP address, the server’s reputation and delivery power are a function only of the organization’s sent mail. Dedicated IP addresses have several advantages, including:

  • No shared resources with other senders
  • Reputation management and brand safety
  • Improved email deliverability
  • Easier to troubleshoot blacklisting issues

We will discuss the benefits of dedicated IP addresses and what they mean for your organization later.

What is a Shared IP Address?

In contrast, a shared IP address does not belong to your organization and is shared among the customers of an email service provider. Shared IPs are the default option for many email service providers. Upgrading to a dedicated IP usually incurs an additional fee, so many organizations get started using a shared IP address. It is a cost-effective solution for some smaller organizations with limited or small sending needs. No IP warm-up is required since the address is active and in use, meaning it’s easy to start sending quickly. However, as organizations grow and their sending needs increase, they may be frustrated with the following:

  • Slow email delivery
  • Undelivered emails
  • Emails frequently flagged as spam
  • Blacklisted IP addresses

When email becomes a critical business channel, it’s often time to switch from a shared IP to a dedicated solution.

The Benefits of Dedicated IP Addresses for Patient Engagement Emails

Healthcare organizations that rely on email should strongly consider using dedicated IP addresses to improve trust and ensure critical communications are sent on time and are received in patients’ inboxes. If patients cannot receive critical information about appointments, prescriptions, or other healthcare needs, it will negatively impact their experience and may cause them to choose another provider.

No shared resources with other senders

When sending substantial quantities of time-sensitive emails, your sending speed may be limited by others using a shared IP address. Important emails (like password resets and appointment reminders) can get stuck in long sending queues, and you will have no control over when the messages are sent out. In contrast, you have complete control over your sending speed and resources when using a dedicated IP address (or multiple IP addresses). External users will never slow you down.

Reputation management and brand safety

Another perk of using a dedicated IP address is that you can match it to your company’s DNS records. To do this, your mail server’s IP address to send outbound emails must have a “Reverse DNS.” This is the responsibility of the email service provider (at LuxSci, we set this up automatically). If set up incorrectly or missing, you will have significant deliverability issues.

When someone performs a reverse DNS lookup on a company’s dedicated IP address, it will clearly identify the sender and provides additional information about the company. This data builds trust and improves your reputation with ISPs.

Improved email deliverability

The main reason many choose dedicated IP addresses is to improve the deliverability of their emails. If email service providers do a terrible job vetting their customers and allow spammers to use their service, bad actors can quickly contaminate reliable IP addresses. When using dedicated IP addresses, you can control the IP warm-up process and prevent employees from engaging in spammy practices. By having full control over your IP reputation, you can improve the deliverability of your emails and prevent them from being flagged as spam.

Easier to troubleshoot blacklisting issues

Though most ISPs will not acknowledge “whitelists,” senders using dedicated IP addresses can subscribe to Complaint Feedback Loop (CFL) programs to help minimize complaint rates. If you participate, ISPs will forward complaints from users about emails sent from your organization’s IP addresses.

Even if you can’t get on a whitelist, understanding when and why your IP address is blacklisted is valuable information. When using a shared IP, it’s impossible to know why it was blacklisted. Another user could have sent spammy content, used a paid list, or sent a large mailing to an old contact list. To get off the blacklist, troubleshooting the issue, fixing it, and avoiding future mistakes are essential to increasing reputation and staying out of the spam filter. It’s easier to identify which emails are generating spam complaints when you aren’t sharing IP addresses.

Conclusion

Consider using dedicated IP addresses if your organization uses email for patient engagement efforts. They provide the reliability and reputational benefits you need to execute these campaigns at scale. Contact us today to learn more about how to engage patients with personalized email campaigns.

Email List Hygiene: 5 Best Practices for Cleaning Up Email Lists

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

When sending emails from a new server and IP address, we always stress the importance of warming up the server to prevent emails from being flagged as spam. One critical step of the warm up is sending small batches of messages to email contacts that are likely to open and click on the content. Sending to clean email lists helps build a positive IP reputation and will improve email deliverability over time. This article explains the basics of email list hygiene and how to clean up email lists.

email list hygiene

What is Email List Hygiene?

Email list hygiene involves removing ineligible contacts from lists and adding new addresses with proper permissions and consent. Good email list hygiene contributes to good email deliverability and engagement. It also prevents emails from being marked as spam because all recipients have agreed to receive email communications. Here are our tips for cleaning up email lists:

How to Clean up Old Email Lists

1.     Remove Role Accounts

We don’t recommend sending emails to addresses that are groups or aliases that support a specific business function. These include addresses like:

Spammers often scrape these addresses off websites and send them unsolicited emails. To successfully warm up a new IP, it is essential to differentiate sending patterns from spammers as much as possible.

2.     Remove Inactive or Incorrect Email Addresses

Most mailing lists contain old email addresses that are no longer active. Removing these addresses before warming up a new mail server is essential. Spammers often purchase lists that contain a high proportion of inactive emails. Sending to many inactive addresses may cause the server to be flagged as spam. Also, check for and correct common misspellings and typos, for example, “gamil.com” vs. “gmail.com.”

If working with a large email list that hasn’t been contacted in a while, it may be worthwhile to use a paid tool to run these verification checks and remove bad email addresses.

3.     Review Email Permissions

Before sending a campaign, review how the email list was collected. Sending unsolicited emails is an excellent way to be marked as spam. If marketing communications are planned, ensure the contacts have explicitly agreed to receive marketing messages. The CAN-SPAM Act regulates how marketers can use email to communicate with prospects. It’s essential to confirm that the list was not collected in a way that violates those terms. In addition, never send to a list purchased from a third party, as that violates the CAN-SPAM Act and can lead to massive financial penalties.

Sometimes, the origins of an email list may be unknown. In this case, running an opt-in or re-engagement campaign is a good idea. This gives users the opportunity to resubscribe to the mailing list and reengage with the brand. Only sending emails to people who have opted in increases the likelihood they will engage with future emails. Remove contacts from the list who do not respond or opt-out from future communications.

Ongoing Email List Hygiene

Setting up a schedule to maintain email list hygiene is crucial to preserving IP reputation. It takes ongoing work to support list hygiene. Including email list cleaning tasks in campaign set-up and performance reviews is essential to ensure campaigns are delivered to the recipients.

4.     Remove Bounces, Spam, and Unsubscribes

After every campaign, remove addresses that have unsubscribed or bounced. Most email marketing tools will automatically remove unsubscribes but reviewing the feedback is essential. If many people unsubscribe even after list clean-up, review the email contents to ensure they are relevant and not spammy.

Likewise, even verified subscribers may report emails as spam instead of clicking on an unsubscribe link. We recommend removing contacts who have marked emails as spam because it is a clear indicator that they no longer want to receive these types of emails.

Continuing to email users who have unsubscribed is a CAN-SPAM violation with penalties in the thousands of dollars. Bounces are not usually removed automatically by email programs. Marketers should review the list of bounced emails after every campaign is sent and remove bounced addresses to keep the list clean. Lists acquired from spammers often contain many email addresses that will bounce, so avoiding sending to bounced addresses is recommended.

5.     Set Up Double Opt-In for New Subscribers

Even if the original list was not collected according to best practices, setting up validation procedures for new subscribers can help ensure that only people who want to receive emails will get them.

The best way to validate email subscribers is by setting up a double opt-in process. By “double opt-in,” we mean that when someone signs up for an email list, they are sent another email requiring them to confirm the subscription by clicking on a link before being added to a list. This helps ensure that only people who want to receive brand communications will be added to the lists.

Conclusion

Cleaning up email lists can initially be time-consuming. Setting up the proper procedures and reviewing existing lists regularly can help maintain proper list hygiene and improve email deliverability.

Warming Up Your IP Addresses Automatically

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

When sending email messages, there are many best practices for ensuring optimal deliverability. One very important factor in deliverability is IP reputation. However, when using a brand new server and IP address, how can you build a good reputation? In this article, we will explain how to warm up an IP address in a way that will build a good reputation and improve email deliverability.

warm up ip address

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