Using and maintaining a dedicated IP address with ActiveCampaign

There are benefits to using a dedicated IP, such as improved throughput and isolated sending reputation. There are also some risks because you are the only one keeping your IP reputation afloat. If the dedicated IP is not properly used and maintained, you can experience worse deliverability than you would with a shared IP. In this article, you'll learn about common mistakes and how to avoid them. 

Take note

This article is intended for those who are using a dedicated IP address with ActiveCampaign or are about to start using one. ActiveCampaign customers use a shared IP by default. This article is not relevant for anyone using a shared IP. 

Risk 1: Starting too fast

The first thing you need to consider is how you start sending on your dedicated IP. The IPs we supply are pre-warmed, unless you asked for a cold IP.  A pre-warmed IP does not mean you can start sending hundreds of thousands of messages on day one. Our pre-warmed IPs can handle about 100k of message/day which is a good start to get you up and running. However, if you are sending more than 100k/day, you’ll need to do some additional warmup even with a pre-warmed IP.

Why do I need to warm up the IP if its already pre-warmed?

Your domain hasn’t sent any messages on this IP and it's vital to warm up the dedicated IP and domain together. It's not until your domain is regularly sending traffic on the IP that it will be truly warmed up as a pair.

Second, you need to do additional planning to get the IP ramped to where you need it to be, especially if you plan on sending more than 100k/day. This is the warmup schedule we recommend - you can stop wherever you fall in the ladder:

Week  Send Volume
Week 1 Send <150k/day
Week 2 Send <300k/day
Week 3 Send <500k/day
Week 4

Send <750k/day 

Week 5 Send <1M/day
Week 6 Send <2M/day
Week 7 Send <4M/day

For most senders, this means warming up the IP for a few additional weeks when you start easing into your dedicated IP. For example, if you want to reach the 500k/day mark you only need 3 weeks of warmup, because we’ve already done the hard part by pre-warming the IP for you.

If you follow these steps, you can warm up the IP with your domain to the right level and your dedicated IP will be prepped for your busiest sending days.

Risk 2: Going cold

One of the biggest mistakes is not sending emails within 30 days of receiving a pre-warmed dedicated IP. Not sending with it for this amount of time will cause the IP to go cold. When this happens, you will need to warm up the IP from scratch.

When warming up your IP from scratch, you'll need to start with less than 25k sends/day and warm it up to 100K sends/day over a four-week period. ActiveCampaign won't be able to re-warm the IP for you—this is something you will need to do yourself. 

You should also set a regular sending schedule so that you're sending enough to keep your IP warm. This can be done by sending at least a few times a week with daily automation traffic to keep a healthy baseline. Automations are ideal for keeping an IP warm. This is because they can provide regular, engaged messaging on a daily basis. We recommend setting up your forms and automations with ActiveCampaign before using a dedicated IP. Getting these in place will help keep the IP warm from day one.

If your business does not send emails on a regular basis (less than once per week or not sending for 30 days), you should not be using a dedicated IP. That is because the IP will go cold. 

Risk 3: Acquiring a negative reputation

Switching to a dedicated IP will not resolve most deliverability issues. In fact, this can make many deliverability issues even worse because the dedicated IP will get a negative sending reputation.  

Issues with your list hygiene, data collection practices, engagement, or content will drive spam complaints and negative sending reputation. These problems will transfer to the dedicated IP. It is important to address the root cause of all major deliverability issues before you start using a dedicated IP. Once your dedicated IP receives a negative sending reputation, it's difficult to reverse course. 

If you have experienced this issue, it is possible to recover, but I won't happen overnight. This process will need to be done slowly, carefully, and diligently. If your IP acquired a negative reputation, you will need to identify and fix the root cause. Our deliverability team is happy to advise on this and we also have a lot of good articles and content to help.

Note that if you make a mistake and have a bad send, it won't permanently wreck the reputation of your dedicated IP. If the traffic on your IP is healthy and if you send emails to engaged contacts, one bad day or a mistake won't cause lasting damage.

How to keep your dedicated IP in tip-top shape

Do not send to unengaged contacts
We have a great blog post that you can read on this topic as well as a webinar that you can watch. Try to keep your engagement rates as high as possible, with open rates above 15% on average.

Use captcha and double opt-in on your forms
This will prevent bot attacks on your sign up form, which can degrade and devastate your IP reputation.

Set up email authentication and custom domains
You can learn more by clicking the links below:

Set up Google Postmaster Tools
Google Postmater Tools will let you track the reputation of your domain and IP.

Check and monitor your IP reputation
This can be done with 3rd party tools such as SenderScore and 250ok.

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