A major concern for all those who are working in sales and business development roles is getting the emails into the inbox of their prospects. With constantly updating spam filters, it has become quite difficult to ensure inbox delivery. Though it has much to do with the email content, there are several other factors that you should consider before starting an email campaign. You might wonder why your emails fail to reach the inbox even though the email account is new. The answer is simple – you haven’t warmed up the accounts enough. In this article, we will guide you through the steps in the email warm-up process to improve your inbox deliverability. First, let’s start by defining the simple terms.
What is email warm-up and why is it important?
Email warm-up can be defined as the process of establishing credibility and reputation for your mail accounts. The higher the credibility, the higher the chances your emails land in your client’s inbox, or else, it will be filtered as spam.
For instance, Gsuite treats all new email accounts as suspicious until its algorithm reads it credible and sees satisfactory recipient engagement levels. Though Gsuite users have a daily limit of 2000 emails a day, this sending count will be limited for the new users. If you send too many emails starting from the first week, the chances that your emails end up in spam is high.
Email warm-up is the process that gives your email accounts the required authenticity and engagement so that the email service providers like GSuite, Outlook, etc will treat you as credible users.
Its importance is driven by the fact that accounts that avoid the email warm-up process end up landing their mails in spam rather than the inbox. None of us want that to happen, right?
Let’s get to the process.
How do you warm up an email? What are the steps?
Once you buy a preferred domain (eg: leadlyticslabs.com), you need to choose your email provider. There are many mail providers in the market. A good part goes for G Suite mainly due to its robust architecture and ease of use.
Set up the domain and authenticate
Now you need to do the necessary authentication which is a crucial process in email setup as it helps accounts from being forged. It helps the systems to identify the correct sender and verify whether the email has indeed come from the original source.
- Verify Domain and Add MX records
Domain verification is what confirms the ownership of your domain to your email service provider. Once the domain verification is complete, add the MX records. MX records are what helps a sender identify the mail server responsible for accepting emails on behalf of your domain. Unless the MX records are configured correctly, you will not receive any emails.
- Add SPF and Dkim Records
In nutshell, SPF is what allows you to define the IP addresses that are allowed to send emails for your domain. DKIM on the other hand provides the encryption key and digital signature that validates that an email message is not forged or altered. Never forget to add the SPF and Dkim Records as they are very important to establish the authenticity of any email. We have seen many cases where people skipped these steps during setup and regretted the aftermath. After adding the DKIM, make sure you start authenticating the emails once the DNS records propagate properly. It may take up to 48 hours.
DMARC is another authentication that works on top of SPF and DKIM. It helps you protect your domain from email spoofing. This record gives you the power to control the fate of those emails that fail this verification. Also, this record gives you the option to provide an email address to which the emails that fail the authentication should be reported.
This marks one important step in the email warm-up process.
Now Setup the email accounts
Setting up an email account requires a couple of simple details to make it more authentic.
- Display picture: Upload a clear and happy picture to your profile. A pleasant pic is bound to create an impression and is authentication that the person is real. so don’t forget to add one.
- Email signature: A legit email signature helps the recipient understand who you are and what you are. If you use an HTML signature, make sure it’s properly created and ensure there are no broken URLs.
Reputation and credibility check
Before you start sending emails, you must ensure everything is configured correctly. There are online tools like dmarican, MXtoolbox, and mail-tester.com that help you verify whether the records you added are working properly.
If all works well, you are now ready to send emails!
In this phase of email warm-up, you should be sending a few handcrafted emails.
A very important aspect to remember at this stage is “ZERO” BOUNCE. Create a valid list of emails. Better collect the email of your friends, family, colleagues, etc. Start sending them a few actual emails, get replies, calendar invites,. If using G Suite, do some video calls, ask them to add you to their contacts, and loop some other emails to generate a few valid conversations. Don’t just send any “hey, just testing” kind of emails. Make actual conversations. The purpose is to make the provider/their algorithm believe that you are real and this email account is genuine.
Expert Advice: while creating a mailing list for your warm-up, it would be ideal to involve different service providers like Gsuite, Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc for two reasons.
- Your service provider will get the impression that you are connecting with various people across several platforms which increases your credibility.
- Also, your target mail servers will get familiar with your email address and domain.
Getting responses from domains with high domain authority always helps.
The recipe for a successful warm-up procedure is engagement. Try to obtain as many replies as possible as this marks your account genuine.
Setup an automated test campaign
After doing manual email warm-up for a week or two, you can create an automated campaign to around 10 valid prospect emails along with the emails of your family, friends, or people who will help you with some replies.
Slowly include more prospects to increase the counts every week from 10-20,20-30, 30-40, etc. All you need to focus on here is to maintain the engagement rate until you start getting some engagement from your actual leads.
Also, it is essential to maintain a time gap between emails. This helps to avoid quick spikes that alert the anti-spam systems and gets into their radar. Continue the process of gradually increasing the emails daily for a week or two until you reach your desired count.
Expert Advice: Whenever there is a sudden drop in open rates, even after running the campaigns for several months, send emails to a few random new email accounts and see whether it lands in the inbox or in the spam folder. If spam, do warm-up again until everything is back to normal. Also, whenever the engagement level is low, it’s advisable to warm up the accounts as increased levels of unopened emails and low reply rates will slowly result in poor inbox delivery.
Other reasons for poor inbox delivery are
- Too many bounces
- Spammy words in the email content: mail-tester.com is a tool that helps you analyze the campaign copy on a scale of 1-10. A score of 8-9 is good but you should try your best to make that a 10. If the score is below 5, the mail will end up in the spam folder.
- Including too many URLs in the email body
- Hyperlinking the same text to different URLs in the same email
- Hyperlinking a text that looks like a URL(say a domain name) to a different URL. Some spam filters see it as a potential phishing/fraud attack and flag your emails as spam.
Lastly, email marketing is an ever-evolving process. Though conventional, trial and error has to be made to find what works and what doesn’t. Always ensure to be genuine and human in your emails. All of us like to initiate a conversation with humans rather than bots. Focus on engagement, it’s always that extra value or personalization that makes a difference.
Feel free to reach out to us if you need any assistance with warming up email accounts or setting up an email outreach program for your company.