by Ali Chambers | Content Strategist, CommuniGator | May 30, 2017 Email marketing is one of the highest performing marketing channels in terms of ROI, and yet many email marketers don't understand what it takes to make sure their emails get into the inbox. Talk about HTML and you might get a reaction, but change the topic to deliverability, authentication or infrastructure and you'll get blank looks. So I thought we should address the IP address best practices, what they mean and why you need to implement them. Ensure your mail servers are secure It amazes me that some marketers will choose to use a shared IP address. This allows any marketer on the IP address to affect your own IP reputation. It's why we, at CommuniGator, enforce a dedicated IP address for each of our clients. Therefore, you – and only you – are responsible for your reputation. If you want to keep spammers clear of jumping on your IP address, you'll also want to make sure you don't have an open proxy or open relay. If your email service provider doesn't take care of this for you, learn more about maintaining a pristine reputation in this email deliverability guide. Build up your reputation slow & steady Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to building up an IP address’ reputation. We recommend you send out the first few emails to small volume groups to identify bounces and likely unsubscribes. This will show mailing providers that you are attempting to send quality emails. Then, over time, increase your email volume making sure to keep your sends as consistent as possible. This is because high-volume spikes are likely to attract attention, so you want to make the process gradual and timely. Use a preference centre "Spam" is in the eye of the beholder these days, so if you want to make sure you are sending relevant content and avoid complaints and blacklists, a preference centre is a great tool to take advantage of. Allow your email recipients to request how they would like to receive email communications from you and which information they would like to receive. This will make them less likely to unsubscribe or mark you as spam. Don’t IP address “hop” Some email marketers (those who shall not be named) think that the best thing to do if they've damaged their IP address is to hop over to a brand new one. However, a brand new IP address doesn't mean a clear reputation. You have to build each IP address reputation from the ground up, so you won't necessarily be better off if you just hop to another one! Instead, follow the four steps with your current IP address: 1. Secure your infrastructure 2. Authenticate your email streams 3. Monitor the emails you send 4. Send great content So there is what you need to know about IP address best practices. If you enjoyed that and you'd like to learn more about email deliverability, authentication and infrastructure you can download the full email deliverability essentials guide here. Alternatively, attend one of the IDM's short courses on email marketing or get certified with an IDM Professional Certificate in Email Marketing (Cert EM) to advance your knowledge and confirm your experience in developing and evaluating ROI-driven email campaigns.