What exactly is IP warming?

It’s the careful and deliberate process of building your email reputation from the ground up.

If your ecommerce brand is just starting to send marketing emails to customers and prospects, or has recently changed email service providers (ESPs), it’s best practice to go through IP warming right away. This process ensures your emails are successfully hitting inboxes, and not being flagged as spam.

In its simplest form, IP warming is the practice of gradually increasing your email send volume over time on a dedicated IP address. Doing so helps build credibility and establish a strong sender reputation across internet service providers (ISPs) like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.

While the process takes a while, it’s critical to warm up your new, dedicated IP address so you get maximum inbox placement. If you skip any of these steps, all of your carefully crafted marketing emails will end up in spam folders — unopened, unclicked, and unloved.

We don’t want that to happen to you! You deserve better, and so we’re here to help increase your email deliverability rate and avoid deliverability problems. Here is how to successfully execute IP warming and build a fantastic sender reputation for your ecommerce brand.

Slowly Ramp Up Sends

IP warming is a lot like building a campfire. You can’t just snap your fingers and get a roaring fire immediately — you have to start small and add a few pieces of wood at a time to build the fire.

For your very first email send, it’s important to carefully choose a small, highly engaged segment of your database. Pick out a small group of customers or prospects that you know have confirmed opt-in, and are most likely to open and click on your emails. Start by sending out an email to a small segment, and then roughly double your daily send total until you reach your maximum daily send volume.

Here’s a sample schedule you can follow to slowly warm up your IP Address:

Day 1: 500

Day 2: 1000

Day 3: 2000

Day 4: 4000

Day 5: 8000

Day 6: 16,000

Day 7: 32,000

Day 8: 64,000

Day 9: 128,000

Day 10: 256,000

And so on. This works, because if you are sending a low volume of email (less than 10,000 emails/month), ISPs will not pay much attention to your activities. But as you start to send higher and higher volumes, you’ll begin to establish your sender reputation. Just make sure that with each larger send, you carefully monitor your open and click-through rates to ensure you’re hitting the inbox each time.

Choosing the Right Campaigns

While the overall volume of emails is important, email engagement is just as critical to IP warming and email deliverability success. Getting a high open rate and click-through rate on your emails plays an important role in establishing your IP’s credibility in the eyes of an ISP. That’s why it’s so vital for you to choose the right series of emails to send to your list.

If you’ve recently switched ESPs, simply go through your historical email campaigns and find the most successful messages with the highest click-through rates to send. If you’re just getting started with marketing emails, try out some classic campaigns like welcome emails, cart abandonment, browse abandonment, and discount messages. It’s important to begin with those high-engagement, lower volume campaigns. Either way, you want to make sure to put your best foot forward, with great copy, design, and a strong Call-to-Action (CTA) in each message.

You’re Heating Up

Once your IP reputation has been established and you’re actively sending to large email lists, it’s always best to continue monitoring email deliverability. How are your emails performing across the various email domains? How have your email metrics like open rate, bounce rate, unsubscribes, and spam complaint rate changed over time? Make sure to run a deliverability report to see exactly how your emails are doing.

Now that you’re comfortably in the inbox and have established a strong sender reputation, you can start experimenting a bit more with your email marketing campaigns. It’s time to launch your larger promotional emails, win-back campaigns and at-risk campaigns. Keep trying new things, and you’ll learn more and more about what your buyers respond to most.

 

Hopefully that helped you get over some of the fear around warming up a new IP. It can be a bit tough to get started, but once you do, you’ll be confident in every email you send going forward.

 

Brian Murphy

Brian is the Email Marketing Manager at Zaius. Outside of the digital world, Brian is a die-hard Boston sports fan, plays guitar, loves to brew beer, and coaches youth football.

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