Email deliverability is a tricky business and with a lot of factors affecting your sender score – a minor miss and your email can end up in the spam folder. It is said that one out of every five commercial emails never ends up in the inbox. Time and again, email marketers struggle to establish a credible sender reputation in the eyes of the internet service providers (ISPs). With stronger than ever SPAM filters and GDPR, the ISPs are no less than email police, guarding the inboxes.

IP Warming: Why is it a must for every Business?

Even so, email marketing is inevitable, and engaging through email communication is more of a necessity than an option. Being an email marketer, having a reputable sender IP is a must. Because landing in spam is as bad as non-deliverability itself.

You might be:

  • New in business
  • Migrating from your existing email service provider (ESP), or
  • Need a new IP for high volume email sends

There are numerous reasons why you might need a new sender IP. The catch here is to establish a great sender reputation for high email deliverability for your new IP.

In this post, we are going to explain the IP warming in detail with a guide on how to do it. Let’s get started…

What is IP Warming?

“IP Warming is a process of gradually escalating your sender reputation in the eyes of ISPs to gain maximum email deliverability for the new IP.”

IP is a familiar term, and particularly in the email marketing context, IP address is a unique number that identifies your email domain. IP is the most significant factor to determine the sending reputation and that is the reason why IP warming is so important.

Why is IP Warming necessary?

ISPs rate a particular IP address by tracking its email sending frequency and engagement. When you’re introducing a new IP, ISPs have no historical data to analyze the activities that take place from the new IP. The considerably ‘cold’ IP needs to get active in order to send signals to the ISPs regarding its email frequency, type of emails, and types of recipients.

If you start sending 1000 emails a day with your non-warmed up IP, the ISPs will count it as a malicious spamming activity due to the unavailability of the reference. In order to come in the good books of the ISPs, IP warming is necessary before sending full-fledged email campaigns from a new IP.

The major IP Warming goals include,

  • Providing ISPs an opportunity to identify and analyze your sending practices from the new IP
  • Citing an anticipated usual sending level for your regular email volume
  • Establishing a trust for Spam-filters that protect ISP checkpoints
  • Having an eye on email metrics to optimize overall campaign performance
  • Creating a steller good impression at the beginning, making it easier for your emails to reach the readers

The IP Warming Process

Smart IP Warming is considered a best practice to ace email deliverability!

The process is like instilling a bond with ISPs for them to allow you to send emails without causing trouble. You might be following all the email deliverability best practices and certainly might not trigger any spam-filters, but you still need to administer an IP sender reputation for your email marketing campaigns. Let’s explore how it is done.

Step #1

Start with an email segment list – preferably with the internal email addresses.

  • This step is helpful when you are warming up an entirely new IP or bettering an old one’s reputation.
  • Chances are your email might end up in the SPAM folder, which is normal. The reason to start with an internal list is that they can mark you as a ‘safe sender’. You can even ask them to engage as much as they can to improve the engagement metrics of the campaign.

Step #2

Next up, you can choose a segmented list with the ‘highly engaged’ subscribers.

  • If you do not have such an email list, try sending the welcome emails from this IP. Welcome emails are said to create an 86% boost in unique open rates, and that’s the kind of engagement you need while warming up.
  • These subscribers add value to your campaign by engaging
  • ISPs can rate the content-relevancy with triggered emails (e.g. welcome emails)

Step #3

Accelerate your volume by adding more addresses to the list. A gradual increase in the sending frequency will set a level for the ISPs to adopt and rate your email campaign structure.

Step #4

Learn the email deliverability and engagement rates for the sent campaigns. If the frequency is sufficient and emails are landing in the inbox, speed up the process by sending more emails.

Step #5

During the process, keep a keen eye on your subscriber engagement metrics. Audience engagement improves the sender’s reputation and ultimately impacts deliverability. Well-designed and flawless HTML email templates with relevant messages always garner great engagement. ISPs take cues from the email opens, click-through, and scrolling rates while you are in the warm-up phase.

All in all, when you start using a new IP, maintain an increasing send frequency for a set time span. If you start with 50 emails, increase them to 200, 500, 1000, and so on, while keeping an eye on email deliverability and engagement metrics. Take up the process by following a few best practices mentioned below.

IP Warming best practices

  • Maintain proportionate email volume for each of the ISPs. Be it Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, or any other, make sure to split-up a schedule that incorporates each ISP every day. (Monday- Gmail, Tuesday -Yahoo! is not a good practice) Your sending activity should create a reputation equally on all ISPs.
  • Start cautiously and gradually go all in.
  • Constantly evaluate the email metrics and optimize them on the go.
  • IP rotation is a big NO.
  • Opt for triggered emails with the new IP to establish a reputation. Transaction emails are sent with consent thus helping with reliance.
  • Personalize your campaigns, pay attention to subject lines, and keep your list clean.

Wrap Up

IP warming is a crucial process when it comes to undertaking a new IP. Internet service providers are tricky, but not impossible! Genuine and relevant emails always make their way, and similarly, IPs used for such campaigns always rank high in the sender reputation index. With engagement being a primary factor here, make sure you have a good email designer and expert email developer to help you sail through.