Cold emailing is one of the most effective ways to reach out to potential customers and build connections with an audience. While there are many variables in place that have an influence on how effective your email deliverability is for a given list that you can control, there are other variables that are out of your control, potentially causing issues for your campaign preventing you from landing a new client.
The primary factor out of your control when utilizing any major email service provider comes down to the shared IP address assigned to your workspace. Under these environments your workspace is assigned to what is known as a shared IP address, meaning that the IP address of your mail server is shared among thousands of other users, under their own workspaces. While this implementation alone does not mean that your deliverability will suffer directly, it does mean that other unknown users you share this IP address with can have an effect on your deliverability due to their own actions entirely out of your control.
All email providers you interact with via email activity keep a log on the activity originating from
- The domain name of an associated email address
- The IP address of this associated domain name, as well as the IP address of the mail server tied to that domain
- The email address handle itself interacting with its servers
While you can control the email activity originating from your domain name and email address handle, the IP address of the mail server you are utilizing can be associated to anyone else under that IP if there are other workspace instances under it. If a user under this shared IP then performs any type of email activity that can land it on a block list or email blacklist, this in turn would affect the IP address you also utilize for your workspace, then leading to deliverability issues associated with a given email provider.
For any business or individual attempting to perform cold email outreach, this can lead to issues that potentially affect your own bottom line via open and deliverability rates. In this article we will be exploring what a dedicated IP address is and why the use of a dedicated IP address for your cold email is beneficial overall for your business.
What is a Dedicated IP Address for Email?
A dedicated IP address is exactly what it sounds like, it is an IP address that is assigned to a given server/setup that is exclusively utilized and controlled by 1 single entity, meaning that the IP assigned to your workspace/mail server is not shared or utilized by anyone else outside of the owner. Unlike a shared IP that can contain instances for thousands of other unknown users, with a dedicated IP address you are in full control of its reputation and sender history via your own email activity.
What Are The Benefits of Using a Dedicated IP for Cold Email?
The primary reason why many businesses utilize a dedicated IP for their outreach activities comes down to preventing/minimizing any potential issues that can come up during a standard cold email outreach campaign. As covered briefly in the introduction to this article, the main drawback to a shared IP is the unknown factor that comes with what other users are doing under the IP you share with them.
With email sending activity, the intent of the sender can vary wildly. Based on Statista’s most recent overview of email sending activity on the internet, 333.2 billion emails are sent per day across the internet. Of this amount, 15.8% of these emails are identified as being spam, indicating that when utilizing a shared IP address used by thousands of other users of a service, there is a relatively high likelihood that this IP is also shared by an actual spammer in some form or fashion.
Here at Dino, we prioritize assigning all users their own dedicated IP to maximize their performance to eliminate all possible likelihood of having to share the performance of your outreach with a random stranger whom you do not know the sending intent of. The use of a dedicated IP in turn eliminates any possibility of outside influence hurting your deliverability
Best Practices for Using a Dedicated IP for Cold Email
When utilizing a dedicated IP, you will want to take every precaution possible prior and during cold email outreach in order to maintain its health and preserve its performance over time. Utilizing a dedicated IP will not directly improve your overall deliverability, but taking a few precautions will allow you to get the most out of your sending setup for as long as you plan on performing outreach activity.
1. Ensure Your DNS Records Are Properly In Place
The most important step prior to performing any outreach under a dedicated IP is to ensure that you have all the necessary DNS records in place relating towards email activity. The primary DNS records that influence deliverability for email activity are
- MX (Mail Exchange) Records
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework) Record
- DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Email) Record
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication) Record
For all domains registered through Dino, these records are set up automatically for you so you do not need to worry about going through the process of adding these records manually, but typically these records need to be set up manually through your domain/DNS provider. I will not go into the specifics here of why these specific records are important for sending activity but in brief, these records are utilized primarily to declare which mail server/IP is authorized to send/receive mail on behalf of your sending domain, as well as add an additional layer of security authorization by giving receiving mail servers methods of verifying that an email source originated from the source specified in the header of an email message transmission. For this reason, they are critical for ensuring the highest potential deliverability rates for any cold email campaign.
2. Warm Up Your Dedicated IP
While the primary draw of a dedicated IP address is that you are the only user who will be building up new sender history associated with this IP, this means that prior to actively utilizing it for cold email outreach you will need to build up its initial baseline sender history with email providers for the best results.
The manner in which this is done is known by the term Inbox Warming, where a user utilizes a given email address associated to an IP address and performs consistent positive email engagement (CPEE) under it for an extended period of time in order to build up an initial pattern of sender history with various email providers. This allows providers to build up a familiarity with your sending solution before participating in any actual cold emails to your contact list in order to increase the likelihood that your first initial outgoing emails to a recipient will be accepted successfully and placed within the primary folder of a recipient's inbox. As well, the process of inbox warming can help you identify if there are any potential issues with your sending configuration prior to starting a campaign, so this can allow you to correct any mistakes that may have occurred during your initial setup process if you notice issues with deliverability during the warming process.
Inbox warming is typically done via an automated service that schedules out email sending activity to a controlled network of inboxes that open and engage with outgoing emails sent out by your inbox in question, but this process can also be done manually if you choose to do so. No matter how you go about the process of inbox warming, this is an important step for preparing a dedicated IP for cold email outreach and should be done prior to starting any live campaign. The standard rule of thumb is that you should be warming up your dedicated IP daily a month prior to starting an outreach campaign, but the longer you participate in warming activities, the better.
3. Follow Email Marketing Regulations
Any successful use of a dedicated IP requires you to abide by the standard rules and practices of email sending activity in order for successful email transmissions to occur consistently. This means that all outgoing messages you send out should follow the regulations defined by the laws of where your recipients reside.
The two primary regulations and laws in place regarding email marketing and cold outreach overall are defined by the CAN SPAM act law in place for the United States and the GDPR email marketing compliance regulations defined by the European Union. While these are the two primary laws in place globally regarding email sending activity, be sure to look into the laws surrounding the countries where your recipients reside to ensure you are complying with them.
While these laws can be a bit of an annoyance to follow, they are in place to ensure that all email sending activity occurring online is following practices that ensure the safety of recipients from malicious or spammy behavior. As well, following these guidelines overall will help with the deliverability of any live outreach you are performing as email providers take these regulations into consideration when determining the placement of incoming mail to a recipient's inbox. Following these practices also will minimize the potential of any unforeseen issues with a live outreach campaign from having long term negative effects on the reputation of your dedicated IP, so to maximize the benefits of a dedicated IP it is beneficial to craft your email message content accordingly.
4. Test and Optimize Your Email Content
Outside of following email marketing regulations, to ensure the health and performance of your dedicated IP you will also need to ensure that the message content of your outgoing messages does not cause issues for spam filters and the various checks that email providers engage in prior to accepting a given email from an external recipient.
Depending on the type of content you are sending out, your industry, and if these recipients are single or double opt-in addresses, it can vary on what message content is good or bad to include in a message. For cold email outreach however, there are some basic rules of thumb we suggest following as it ensures the highest potential likelihood of a successful email delivery to the primary inbox of a recipient. These basic rules of thumb are
- Keep your email message content to a minimum of 100 characters and a maximum of 2,000 characters (This maximum is not a hard rule, but generally its best to be straight to the point and precise with your wording in a cold email to a recipient)
- Avoid utilizing more than 2 links in a given email message (Including within your email signature)
- Avoid utilizing any type of additional message formatting when possible.
- Avoid including more than a single image within a message (Including within your email signature). If you are utilizing a BIMI record then this would not count as an image attachment for a message.
- Avoid email attachments.
- Make sure that all included information in an email message lines up with the domain associated with the email address. An example, say you are utilizing a separate sending domain named acmeemail.com when your actual domain is acme.com, within the signature of an email account, the business website should list acmeemail.com instead of acme.com (We suggest setting up a 301 or 401 redirect to your primary business site for any sender domain you are utilizing for cold email outreach).
These rules are not set in stone, but following these loose guidelines can help ensure that any cold email campaign runs smoothly and has the least likelihood of causing long term deliverability issues for your dedicated IP.
Using a dedicated IP address for cold email campaigns can provide numerous benefits for businesses. It can improve your deliverability rates, reputation, and ROI, while also reducing the risk of blacklisting. However, it's important to follow best practices and ensure that you're using your dedicated IP address correctly. By doing so, you can achieve a successful cold email campaign and ultimately reach your marketing goals.