You play by the rules. Your list is confirmed opt-in. You have spent time writing a compelling message and an inspiring call to action. Your graphic designers have designed a stunning custom email.

You then send the email to your list but find that deliverability rates are lower than you planned—mostly because none of your recipients at a major Internet service provider (ISP) received your email. This is a disappointing outcome to say the least, and you decide to look into the matter further in order to avoid low email delivery rates in the future.

Why did this ISP block your emails? You learn that the ISP has blacklisted the IP address that you share with numerous other customers of your email service provider (ESP). Another email marketing customer sharing your IP address sent out an email blast and got too many spam complaints. As a result, the ISP blacklisted the IP address from which the email blast came.

Your email delivery rates were lower than normal because of the actions of someone else. This problem was caused by factors completely out of your control.

Problem and Solution

You may be surprised to learn that most ESPs have a very small pool of IP addresses that nearly all of their customers share. Their large customers, however, do get a private IP address. Small businesses and nonprofits typically have to share them or pay extra for a private one. Consider requesting a private IP address from your current ESP or even switching to an ESP that offers a private IP as a standard feature.

Alternatively, if your deliverability numbers are consistently high, it probably means that your ESP is already offering private IP addresses or is doing a good job of managing relationships with the major ISPs. If they offer mostly shared IP addresses, good delivery rates mean they are doing a good job of ensuring CAN-SPAM compliance among their customers and—when your shared IP address blacklisting happens—they are able to get it removed relatively quickly. This is where good relationships with the ISPs is important.

What Is an IP Address and Why Should I Care?

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Neil Anuskiewicz is director of business development for the StreamSend Email Marketing service, which also offers a private-label email marketing reseller program.