When it comes to communicating with customers, marketing and sales teams are constantly trying to pinpoint the best way to connect with their audience at the right time, with the right content, through the right channel.
This process is referred to as customer flow communication and when used, any organization gets the best of inbound marketing, marketing automation and multi-channel communication in one platform.
All your user data, all your engaging content and all your chosen trigger points, contained in one place.
But there is more to it than that.
What if your IP address is actually derailing your email marketing efforts?
If you go to all the work of having an engaged database and a loyal following, you can't forget about your online sending reputation.
All that hard work will go to waste when an email is snagged by a spam filter. Internet service providers (ISPs) rely on the score of your internet protocol (IP) address to determine the trustworthiness of your email. Basically a bad IP score will result in low email deliverability, putting an end to your email marketing efforts.
You might be thinking, well that is just email, I still send messages via text, voice and social media. Well true, but email is the backbone to any successful mult-channel communication campaign. Many organizations use email to automate welcome emails, transactional emails and follow-up emails packed full of valuable information.
So if your audience is only getting part of your messages, will it have any impact? Probably not.
In this blog post we will review how to set up and maintain your IP address score, ensuring your emails get delivered because at the end of the day, it's all about reputation.
When you select a marketing automation platform, like SimplyCast, you can either operate on their internet protocol (IP) address range, or manage your own IP address.
After the solution you are using issues your IP addresses, and you make the necessary internal configuration steps (registering a sub-domain, making specific DNS changes, etc.), you must "warm" your IP address.
How do you warm your IP address?
1. Send to 100K valid email addresses
Why so high an amount? Because you need to demonstrate a level of volume in order to establish a solid reputation. Companies tend to select people they've communicated with recently and, therefore, are less likely to mark the email as spam. Do not purchase a list for this effort. If you find it difficult to build a list that large, than that's a good argument for operating on the solution's shared range. Remember, building your lists organically is the only way to go. There is no point trying to "warm" an IP address with a bought list.
2. Create one simple email
Companies tend to go with general announcements (new product, new service) over newsletters and event invitations. This can be as simple as a reminder to update contact information (as you should do anyways).
3. Start a campaign
Design a campaign that sends the email over the course of two to four weeks to a gradually increasing number of email addresses.
4. Check your score
Monitoring the score of the IP Address on senderscore.org and deliverability reports available within your marketing automation platform. You can also ask your account manager or customer support team at anytime to provide this information.
ISPs are more likely to enable the delivery of emails originating from IP addresses with respectable scores (85 or above, out of 100).
You should generate a score within the first week of your warming effort. Don't be surprised if your score fluctuates throughout your effort, however, if you see a downward trend follow the steps detailed below. At this point, just stick to the plan and things will work out. Don't get trigger happy and send too much.
5. Keep it steady
Your work isn't done once once you've warmed your IP. Follow these maintenance procedures to keep a high score:
6. Monitor your sender score weekly
Keep tabs on your rating and look for significant swings.
7.Review deliverability reports
These are available within your SimplyCast account.
8. Create an inactive Contacts policy
For example, commit to removing people who haven't interacted with you in over one year from your lists (and possibly removing them from your account entirely).
9. Test your deliverability
This is essential, especially when rolling out new designs. Test your emails using SimplyCast's tools, or other services like ReturnPath. Again, if you have questions on this, our deliverability team loves to "talk shop" all day, so pick their brain.
10. Respect your unsubscribes
Make it easy for people to unsubscribe from you and focus on creating relevant content to attract those who want to talk with you.
Ask your recipients to add your "From Email Address" to their safe senders list—also known as Whitelisting.
12. What to do if things go bad
Bad things do happen to good people, but don't worry, it's not the end.
Your IP address can become blacklisted if it is associated with high levels of spam, complaints, bouncebacks, and fake email addresses.
Emails from a blacklisted IP will, most likely, never reach their intended recipients, and instead be caught by spam filters. This is where your overall customer flow communication plan falls apart.
If you suspect from your Senderscore and deliverability reports, that you might be blacklisted, confirm this by going to ReturnPath.com and completing a Blacklist Lookup using your IP address. If you find your address listed, you can work with Return Path to have it removed.
Since you are using SimplyCast to manage your marketing and communication efforts already, there is also a simple tool called Blacklist Monitor that will keep your IP addresses under watch, so you don't have to do all the checking and wondering.
When using Blacklist Monitor you are also armed with useful information on getting your IP back into good standing. It's not easy, but it is certainly possible.
But the best solution is to never get there in the first place.
13. Keep it clean for best results
With a little proactive maintenance, your IP address will maintain its sterling reputation and your deliverability rates will be reliable. Then you'll be able to focus on getting the right information, to the right person, at the right time, via the right channel.
That's what customer flow communication is all about.