Email Warm Up: What It Is, Why It Matters, and Best Practices

In today's digital world, email is hard to beat. The average professional checks their email 15 times a day – which gives you plenty of chances to reach prospects or market to current customers. 

Manali Kulkarni

Published on June 7, 2023

Post Baner

In today’s digital world, email is hard to beat. The average professional checks their email 15 times a day – which gives you plenty of chances to reach prospects or market to current customers. 

Ensuring the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, however, requires a bit more than just sending out as many emails as possible. One key strategy to boost email deliverability and engagement is the process of email warm up. But what exactly is it, and why does it matter? Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of email warm up, its importance, and the best practices for optimal results.

What is Email Warm Up?

Email warm-up refers to the process of establishing a positive sender reputation for an email address prior to sending out email campaigns. It involves carefully building trust with email service providers to avoid spam folders and ensure your emails are delivered to the right person. 

In a nutshell, email warm-up is about gradually increasing the volume of emails sent from a new or dormant email account, allowing it to gain a positive reputation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This approach helps prevent your emails from being marked as spam and increases the likelihood of reaching your recipients’ inboxes.  

How Email Warm Up Works

What is the first step to launching a successful email campaign? Whether you’re looking to send cold emails to prospects, launch an email marketing campaign, or just send out a monthly newsletter, successful email campaigns start by warming up your email account. Here’s how the process works: 

Email warm-up builds trust with email service providers, improves inbox placement, and ultimately helps you achieve higher response rates. By understanding and implementing these techniques, you can ensure your emails reach the right audience and drive meaningful engagement.

6 Best Practices to Do Email Warm Up The Right Way 

Here’s a question–how many emails are currently in your spam folder or promotions tab? If you’re like most professionals, both of those folders are clogged with poorly written, typo-laden emails that you’re unlikely to ever look at. 

Want to avoid your emails landing in those often-forgotten folders? Here’s how to warm up your email address before launching your campaigns. 

1. Segment Your Email List

Segmentation allows you to target specific groups of recipients based on engagement levels, preferences, and other relevant factors. By tailoring your warm-up strategy to each segment, you can optimize engagement and maintain a positive sender reputation.

Consider segmenting your emails based on where you got their email address from, where they are in the sales funnel, or their industry. For example, you wouldn’t send the same email to both construction workers and those that own an e-commerce store. 

2. Start Slowly 

Begin with a small number of emails per day and gradually increase the volume. This approach ensures a controlled warm-up process, minimizing the risk of spam complaints and maximizing the chances of successful delivery.

For example, you might start sending out a welcome email to new subscribers, then two or three emails a week to a small segment of your email list. Over time, you can slowly increase the frequency. Maybe you send emails to 25% of your list the first week, 45% the second week, and so forth. This is a more natural way to send emails, which means you’re less likely to be seen as a spammer. 

(PS: Don’t forget to include an option to opt-out.The goal of email warm up isn’t to trick email providers into letting you send spam. Rather, you want to improve deliverability of high-value emails.) 

3. Vary Email Types 

Incorporate different types of emails, such as newsletters, updates, and personalized messages, to engage recipients during warm-up. This variety keeps your emails interesting and helps establish a positive reputation as a valuable sender.

Another tip is to ask a question – do you want to know how many people have tried your new product or read a book? Don’t feel like you need to stick solely to product-based emails or questions. The goal at this stage is to connect with your customers or prospects. 

4. Monitor Email Engagement Metrics

Continuously track key metrics, including open rates, click-through rates, and replies, to assess the effectiveness of your warm-up strategy. Based on these insights, make necessary adjustments to optimize your email performance.It allows you to assess the performance of your email campaigns and make necessary adjustments to optimize your lead generation efforts.

For example, if sending emails at 8 a.m. improves your deliverability rate and engagement rate, then you’re going to want to send more emails at that time. If you’re not paying attention to your engagement rates, however, you won’t have any idea when (or what!) emails your audience responds to. 

5. Avoid Spam Traps

Spam traps are email addresses set up by IPS to identify and catch senders who engage in poor email practices or send unsolicited emails. They can be either pristine (never used by real individuals) or recycled (formerly active addresses). Hitting spam traps can harm your sender’s reputation and deliverability–which means avoiding spam traps is key when warming up your emails. 

Start by making sure to gather email addresses ethically–by asking permission to send emails. Never use purchased lists or sign people up without permission. Maintain a clean email list by regularly removing inactive or invalid addresses. This practice minimizes the chances of hitting spam traps, protecting your sender reputation from potential harm.

6. Improve Authentication Protocols 

Authentication is essential for email warm-up as it enhances deliverability, builds a positive sender reputation, and adds a layer of security to your email communications. 

The first step is to set up the Sender Policy Framework (SPF), which allows you to specify which servers are authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain. This helps prevent email spoofing and improves your email deliverability.

The next step is to implement DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), which adds a digital signature to your outgoing emails. This signature verifies the authenticity of the emails and ensures they haven’t been tampered with during transit. DKIM enhances your email deliverability by providing cryptographic proof that the email is indeed from your domain.

Finally, consider implementing Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC). DMARC combines SPF and DKIM by specifying how email providers should handle emails that fail authentication. It allows you to set policies for handling these failed emails, such as rejecting or quarantining them. 

In most cases, these protocols can be set up through your email service provider. 

Final Thoughts on Email Warm Up 

Email warm-up is the best way to maximize the deliverability and engagement of your email marketing campaigns. By gradually building your sender reputation, monitoring engagement metrics, and implementing best practices, you can significantly enhance the success of your email campaigns. Implementing these strategies won’t just improve your email deliverability and engagement–it also helps you close more deals and drive revenue.

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