IP warming is a process in which email senders gradually increase the volume or number of emails they send using a single IP address. This is carried out to improve their reputation with internet services providers.
It is used frequently in email marketing campaigns where a single IP address is used for multiple clients. Such campaigns attempt to boost the sender reputation of a particular IP to improve the deliverability of their emails.
Why You Need to Boost Your IP’s Sender Reputation
New IP addresses are treated as suspicious until they’re able to gain a positive sender reputation. Emails sent from IPs with low or poor reputation profiles tend to be directed to SPAM folders, thereby preventing senders from effectively reaching their audience.
Smart IP warming allows you to boost your reputation over time and improve the odds of your email being sent through to the destination inbox.
IP warming is typically performed when a business has recently adopted email marketing as a marketing method. It is also used when businesses move from one email marketing service to another, and adopt new IP addresses in the process.
This process may also have to be performed for IP addresses that have not sent messages in 30 days or more.
The IP address used for your email marketing strategies has to convince Gmail, Outlook, and other email providers that it is sending quality content to inboxes, rather than SPAM.
How to Warm-Up an IP Address
Internet service providers consider the volume of emails from an IP address when they are trying to detect spam. Therefore, IP warming typically involves sending a low to moderate volume of emails initially and gradually increasing their frequency so that the rise in volume does not appear suspicious or anomalous.
This gives email service providers a chance to observe the email activity from your IP and pay attention to the way recipients treat your emails.
It is preferred to warm up a new IP address rather than a used one, as the reputation of an existing IP address can be harder to improve than a new one.
IP Warm-Up Plan
- In the first two weeks of the warming process, you should target subscribers who have opened or interacted with your emails in the past thirty days.
- By the third week, you can start adding subscribers who have opened or interacted with your emails in the past sixty days.
- By the sixth week, you can start targeting subscribers who have opened or interacted with your emails in the past ninety days.
You should continue sending emails at a steady growth rate until you send your desired amount.
Authenticate Your New IP
Ensure that your new IP address has been verified with your Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Sender ID records. You should also be signing with your DomainKeys Identified Mail as ISPs will typically link your sender reputation to your authentication records.
If your authentication records are good, you may be permitted to send a higher volume of emails to recipients.
Target the Right Email Addresses
You should be sending emails to subscribers that have previously agreed to receive your emails. The subscribers should have opted-in to receive communications from you and be the kind of recipients who are willing to open and interact with your email.
Your emails should be targeting consumers with a relatively high click rate, as click rates can improve your reputation profile. These high click rate consumers should also be the first people you target with a new IP address, as a way of migrating verified contacts from your old IP to your new one with minimal risk.
Avoid Inactive Recipients
You should clean your subscriber list periodically to assess who is or isn’t interacting with your emails. Recipients who haven’t opened or interacted with your emails in the past 12 months should be treated as inactive.
Such email addresses could become spam traps, and every future email you send to them could damage your reputation profile.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
Subscribers are more likely to open and interact if they believe your emails contain quality content. Poor quality content receives fewer interactions and is more likely to be considered spam. In addition to this, consumers who have been turned off by poor quality content are difficult to win back.
What Else to Expect
The aforementioned steps are a great way to get started with IP warming. However, there are things you should expect, even when the process is going correctly. These can include:
- Deliverability issues during the few weeks as the IP reputation builds up.
- Mailbox providers who send a portion of your emails directly to SPAM folders to see if recipients are willing to label it as “not-SPAM.”
- Slow warm ups if your emails are being sent on a weekly basis rather than a daily one.
- Warm-up is taking longer for larger mail service providers like Gmail, Outlook, and AOL.
Being able to reach your audience is essential for the success of any email marketing campaign. IP warming has become a necessity for businesses that wish to remain competitive in their respective industries via email promotions.
It’s important to remember that IP warming is an on-going process and that companies should continue to monitor subscriber activity in the future to weed out inactive users or spam traps, which could damage their IP’s reputation profile.
A proactive approach should be taken to ensure a good reputation is maintained as it could have long-term impacts on your ability to reach your audience. The reputation of your sender profile depends on you and the time and effort you’re willing to put in to improve or maintain it.
Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing custom email design and coding companies. It specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free HTML email templates, and much more.
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