My Secrets to the Infamous “IP Warm UP Strategy” Shhh… Don’t Tell
You’re probably here because you are having or you have had issues with IP warm-up. Whether you have your own IPs for email marketing or you work with an SMTP relay service provider, you probably know that you have to warm up your IPs a specific way in order to get to the daily volume you want to hit.
I get this question every time I take a call. “What’s the warm-up strategy?”
For those of you that know me or have had the chance to talk to me or hear me speak at events, the answer is always the same. For everyone the warm-up strategy is different.
At Emercury we go through a series of steps before we decide what your warm-up strategy is going to be. But before I get into that, and I know that’s why you are reading this…
I am going to tell you another thing that I have to tell everyone that I speak to
This is because everyone’s second question is always “Am I on shared or dedicated IPs?” or “Are my IPs already warmed up?”. The answer here always is the same.
Whether the IP itself is warmed up or not is irrelevant. Because you still need to go through a warm-up if your domain is new on these IPs. So unless you were on “Dedicated IPs” before and you can port over that reputation then you will need to warm up your domain to the IPs. That is unless you were mailing from your own domain before (most shared spaces use shared domains, however).
Yes, the ISPs are measuring domain reputation along with IP reputation. You can read about this in my article about Domain Reputation.
So now that we got those Always Asked Questions out of the way, let’s talk about why you are here. The IP warm-up.
If you have ever gone through this process on your own then you know it can suck and be a tedious task.
When people work with us, we take each mailer and create a customized warm-up based on Engagement. Our delivery analysts, analyze your first small segmented send and from that, we are able to gather intel points on your data.
The better the engagement, the faster you are going to warm up your space.
What is engagement?
Well, I have written an article on Engagement as well where you can dive deep into all the engagement metrics but in short, we look at Opens, Click-throughs, bounces, replies, unsubscribes, complaints, time to open, amount of time open and many other points.
All of these are considered as either positive or negative metrics. The positive metrics allow for, you guessed it, a faster warm-up. And with that said you can guess what poor metrics get you.
I’m guessing you are asking yourself a few things right now
- “Why does it matter if my engagement is poor and if it slows down my ramp up?”
- You might also be asking “Why do the other ESPs give out a standard warmup template?”
- And “Is Emercury the only one that makes custom warm-up plans?”
What we have learned over the decades of sending mail is that the main goal of ISPs and Mailbox providers is to provide “wanted” mail to their customers.
They determine this by the same metrics we use to create your warm-up. The higher engagement your subscribers have with your message, the higher the Mailbox providers will score your messages. The higher the score, the higher the priority they will make it to get those messages delivered faster.
Let me get into a little more detail on this for you because you might be scratching your head right now
If you have ever seen for example the dreaded tss04 at Yahoo, or AOL this will start to make sense. As Yahoo or AOL (VMG as of now) see low engagement or negative engagement they de-prioritize the emails and slow the delivery down as they route higher priority mails through their servers faster.
You become a low priority and the mail will either bounce or just get it delivered very slowly as they continue to give you a tss04 response each time you try to mail the message to that subscriber.
The more and more you continue down this road the worse and worse your reputation gets until finally you give up and say it’s not worth it, or the ESP doesn’t work and you try to skip town and look for the greener pastures at another ESP. I call this ESP hopping. We can talk about that more later.
See the issue here is not with the ESP most of the time
I say most of the time because it can very well be the ESP sometimes, but more times than not, its something to do with your data, your contacts, your subscribers. This is usually the thing that is causing the low engagement and therefore the mailbox providers push back. That, in turn, will then slow down the delivery of mail.
So because the mailbox providers place heave emphasis on these metrics, we as an ESP do as well. We simply want to send the mailbox providers what they want to see and of course, we want to guide you on how to do that. Therefore there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It has to be custom-tailored to you.
Now that you understand why you need a custom-plan, here’s the good news. There is now a way to make all of this a lot easier.
I hope you understand why we at Emercury make a custom plan for each customer based on engagement through our own scoring algorithm. This is necessary to get the best engagement and ROI on your email efforts.
There is now a way to make the whole process even easier. If you ever had to warm up an IP at another ESP you will know its very tedious. Setting specific sets of volume by the hour for each day and all throughout the night. What a pain in the “you know what”. At Emercury we are happy to say you don’t need to do that.
We provide a fully automated warm-up process. You simply set your daily volume and our system will automatically distribute the traffic by the hour based on the responses from the Mailbox Providers.
WHAT?!? Yes, that’s right. It’s automatic. We wanted to make the IP Warm Up process, well less of a process.
Let me throw one more aha moment or nugget in here
I love when I go to a conference or watch a webinar or read an article and I get at least one AHA or what I call a nugget. Here is one thing I see that most ESPs overlook when warming up IPs. They give you this standard out of the box warm-up schedule and it may look something like this:
I’m going to stop there to break this apart a bit. First and foremost it is just a rough guide. It only takes into account a single metric, and that’s whether your engagement metrics are “good” or “poor”. If your engagement metrics are poor you can certainly try to follow this but what you will see is delayed messaging and throttling from the mailbox provider.
Here are the questions I would ask
What does the subscriber makeup look like? This is also assuming that the mailer has a pretty good makeup of all domains in their list. What does that mean exactly? Well, let’s work with what we have here.
We know only that there are 1000 subscribers on day 1 based on this. Based on statistics we see today, a list that is collected from a lead form on a website shows that on average there is 60 to 65% Gmail or Gsuite addresses on the list. That number is now getting closer to 70%. So based on that assumption are we to assume that 650 addresses are Gmail or Gsuite?
So really are we sending 65% of this warm up to Gmail servers? If that is the case then I would adjust the ramp up. We really don’t know. At Emercury we break down the domain density of a list and then create the warm-up based on the domain density.
Everyone’s list should be treated differently
We can’t assume the mailer isn’t segmenting data to their most engaged data when they are coming in and maybe that data looks like a higher % of a particular domain. So really this should be broken down by Domain Group.
The good news is Emercury does that as well. First, we allow you to break down your segments by domain group. We have gone through the research to make sure all the domains associated with those receiving servers are part of that group. So you can segment manually if you like at any time and control the throttling on your own.
OR you can send daily and our system will throttle hourly and daily to make sure you are sending the right volume per IP per domain group per hour per response of the mailbox provider. Now that’s a double WHAT? WHAT? That’s right folks. Set your daily limit and Emercury will do the rest.
Now that you know that you should be warming up by domain group you will probably be asking one last question.
You’re probably asking “How do I know how each domain group is doing?”
Well, we thought of that too. In your reporting, there is an option for reporting by domain group. It’s really that simple. Click the Report by Domain group under any of the following tabs, Delivered, Opens, Clicks, Unsubscribed or Complaints and you will see what is happening at each Mailbox Provider.
It’s good to know where you are doing well and where you are not. This way you can adjust and fix. Unlike many ESPs the reporting is all in one. Since we know your focus is on delivery we made Emercury based on the metrics you need in order to be successful, well at Delivery.
So if I am doing well at mind-reading throughout this article, Il’l take a stab at your final question. How do you get started? Am I right? Well, I hope I’ve been on target so far. If that’s what you are looking for its very easy. You can click here to signup or you can click here to get a demo of the product where we can discuss any questions you may have into further detail.
Michael Batalha helps email marketers with strategies getting the most return out of an email address. He does this using his Maximize Delivery Framework (tm). He has successfully created his own lead generation platforms and leveraged email to scale his own leads and now shares that same method he has used with other email marketers.
He has successfully created numerous startups and sat on the board of the Entreprenuers Organization. He has graced the pages of Forbes and Fortune and has a real passion for working with entrepreneurs and building businesses.
Follow him on twitter @mikebatalha for tweets on awesome marketing tips.