First Campaigns From a New Domain: How to Warm Up Right
If you are going to run email marketing professionally, you can't do it without your domain. Subscribers are waiting for an email from the brand, and not from an unknown sender. To open the email, they must clearly understand who sent it.
Email clients such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook should also need to understand this. However, they determine the sender not by the domain name in the From field – after all, you can write anything there – but by the digital signature. Read more on setting it up.
After email clients identify your domain, they start monitoring your email campaigns: should these messages be delivered, or are they spam?
This is how the reputation of the domain is formed.
What is Domain Reputation
Small email service providers and small corporate mail servers usually use ready-made algorithms to protect users from unwanted messages. This involves the means of centralized and distributed spam blocking systems, such as libraries of spam signatures, various blacklists, spam analyzers (SpamAssassin), etc.
Major email service providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) are developing their own mechanisms to counter spam. Despite the numerous nuances, all these mechanisms use email statistics, the so-called reputation.
So, senders' reputation is the history of their interactions with subscribers.
Each email service has its own algorithm for building a reputation, and the details are kept secret. But the general principle is clear: based on opens, reads, clicks, spam complaints, and unsubscribes, email providers understand how much the senders' emails are in demand.
Technically, reputation is tracked by the sender's IP address and domain. This information is set in the digital signature settings: the SPF record is responsible for the IP, DKIM – for the domain.
How To Get Into Spam From The Start
If you send a lot of emails from a domain without a reputation, firstly, it will end up in spam. And secondly, such a domain will get a bad reputation. Until it is fixed, all emails will go to spam or even be blocked. And to restore a reputation is a very difficult, long, and labor-intensive job. So it's best not to risk it.
Why Warm Up Is A Must
Email services block the delivery of emails that suddenly arrives in large volumes and at high speed from previously unknown IPs and domains. Therefore, the speed and number of emails from a new sender should increase gradually.
If you add a new domain or even a subdomain to an already warmed-up IP, it needs to be warmed up too. Of course, each email service provider builds the sender's reputation in its own way. But Gmail, for example, is focused on the overall reputation of the mail flow, so making changes (new IP or domain) without warming up will lower or even nullify the reputation.
What IPs To Use
eSputnik provides its clients pre-warmed public IP addresses. That’s more profitable, safer, and more efficient than dedicated IPs.
And that's why.
First, a dedicated IP is not cost-effective. Buying a dedicated IP, you'll have to figure out the complexities of registering this IP in different rating systems and FBLs of major email clients, track its reputation, communicate with support in difficult situations, and so on. Ordering these services on the side is very expensive: it is highly skilled work.
Second, emails from a dedicated IP address will most likely end up in spam due to the inability to support a smooth warm up.
Therefore, our partners use already warmed-up IPs with a good reputation. Their work is correctly configured and monitored in a semi-automatic mode: our support moderates each campaign, preventing spam. The reputation of eSputnik servers and deliverability close to 100% speak volumes about their efficiency.
Where To Get Professional Domain Warm Up
Good news: eSputnik warms up the domain for free for those clients who have verified it (configured DKIM).
Each campaign is signed by eSputnik’s DKIM – it protects email from falsification and ensures deliverability. When you register your domain and set up a digital signature, it will be added to the eSputnik’s signature. The reputation of your domain will begin to build.
At first, the system will send most of your emails only with eSputnik’s signature. Then the number of emails sent with the signature of the new domain will gradually increase, and sending will proportionally speed up.
When the reputation of a new domain reaches the required level, all emails will be sent with two DKIM signatures – yours and eSputnik’s.
This is how it looks in practice:
You’ve just switched to a new domain, and you are about to send 100,000 emails. From a new domain, you can send no more than 1000 emails on the first day. Otherwise, the campaign will raise the suspicion of the email server.
Therefore, eSputnik sends the first 1000 emails by signing them with your DKIM. Sending runs smoothly during the whole day. The rest 99,000 emails are sent with the signature of the eSputnik without time limits. The next day, you can send 2,000 emails from your domain and 98,000 from eSputnik, and so on. The warm up table is calculated for 25 days. On day 11, with a daily sending volume of 100,000, on day 11, all messages will be signed by your DKIM.
When a strict policy is set, DMARC can take the following values: none, quarantine and reject. If the policy is set as none, the warm up proceeds as described above. But if it is set as quarantine or reject, then when the daily limit is reached, the remaining emails won’t be sent, since your emails with the DKIM key of our domain will be marked as spam or rejected.
Therefore, in the strict alignment mode of DMARC, you should manually limit the volume of daily sending or change the policy for the warm-up period.
In your eSputnik account, you can see all domains that have sending limits. When you hover over the progress bar, a tooltip will appear next to the domain name with the number of sent and remaining messages.
How To Warm Up Or Unspam By Yourself
If you want to warm up the domain by yourself, or your emails are already in spam and, the warming up mechanism will be similar. It will be a difficult challenge, but nothing is impossible.
Read a thematic case study How an IT Company Managed to Unspam in Gmail and Restore Their Sender Reputation.
Since warm up for Gmail is one of the most difficult, we have developed recommendations specifically for it. If done right, your emails will be sent straight to the Inbox tab and not just be delivered.
- There's no need to rush. Gmail recommends starting with 10-20 emails at a time. Such a campaign can be sent once every couple of hours, so about a hundred emails will be sent per day.
- Send to the most engaged users, for example, to the VIP segment or regular customers. These people may not just open, read and perform the targeted action but move your email from Promo to Inbox.
- Please, be patient. It usually takes 4-6 weeks to warm up for Gmail. But once your emails start arriving in your subscribers' inboxes, you can double the volume every few hours. If something goes wrong, reduce the speed and sending volume.
- Use Postmaster Tools to track reputation changes.
- Respect the rights and interests of your subscribers from the start. Providing content that is useful, interesting, and well-timed is a must for a successful warm up. Let it become a good habit in the future. For your campaigns to be in demand, analyze your subscribers' behavior with maximum tools – RFM, cohort analysis – and you can build your unique marketing strategy.
Then both email servers and your subscribers will perceive your emails not as spam, but as friendly correspondence.