Start with a Warm Up or End in Junk – Choice is yours!

There is no Spiderman or Superman in Email Marketing. No miracles. No short cuts for lightening fast success. No hitting six on the first ball. It’s not a one day cricket, it’s a test match.

Whether you are a naive start up or an accomplished star, everyone has to go through a process of “Warm up” in Email Marketing. It’s an industry buzz and you have heard this from your ESP quite often. Let’s get to know it better!

What is a warm up?

Warm up is a process of beginning email marketing with the goal of establishing a good reputation in the eyes of MSPs. When email is sent from a fresh IP and Domain, MSPs notice it immediately and start their evaluation. They keep an eye on everything like number of emails sent, responsiveness, hard bounces, abuse complaints, etc. So, it is best to begin with a very small number of emails and eventually find your way up.

Who needs it?

Traditionally, warm up plan is shared for marketer who starts emailing with Cold or Fresh IP address. With MSPs becoming better at what they do, now every email marketer needs a warm up plan, whether you are on clustered or dedicated IPs. Even if you are an established email marketer, but just switched to a new ESP or Email Marketing Partner or a new domain, you need a warm up. Google observes everything, right from Fresh IP and Envelop Domain to URL, etc. and all of them need a warm up. If you try to overlook this and act smart like a fresher in the college, be ready to be ragged.

What is the best warm up plan for me?

Over the past few years, we have seen lots of email marketers experimenting with warm up plans to find out what is best for them. We salute their bravery and consistency from which we learnt – “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

It’s not about the best plan – it’s about the key elements and recommended schedule that will lead to a good reputation.

a.     Key Elements – don’t skip it at all:

  • Make sure your SPF has the mailing IP
  • Perform ‘Hygiene Check’ by creating sample test ids and before starting your campaign, send it to test ids for checking Inbox Delivery. Execute hygiene test every day after warm up plan to check Inbox Delivery
  • Start by sending to most responsive and active contacts
  • Split up your emailing and spread it over several days. Follow the ‘Recommended Schedule’
  • Use variety of Subject lines and Content as even small change makes the content dynamic, thus, creating less chances of MSPs caching the content which at times lead to poor Inbox Delivery
  • Make sure a consistent number of emails are sent everyday and there are no sleeping days
  • If you have recently shifted to a new ESP or Email Marketing Partner, share you blacklisted data (bounce, unsubscribe and abuse) with them
  • Ensure the content is relevant and invites opens and clicks for better engagement

 

b.    Recommended Schedule:

[Mailing should be done on Active data in batches/chunks which can be sent every 3 to 4 hrs]

  • Send to 5,000 recipients on day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
  • Send to 10,000 recipients on day 7,  8 & 9
  • Send to 20,000 recipients on day 10, 11 & 12
  • Send to 40,000 recipients on day 13, 14 & 15
  • Send to 100,000 recipients on day 16, 17 & 18
  • Send to 200,000 recipients on days 19 & onwards

The more careful you are during the warm up, the better foundation you will lay for long term. In the end, everyone gets benefitted with the right emails, delivered to the right people in the right box – Inbox.

 

Post warm up disasters:

So you think this is the end of your problem? No, not really! We have had some really cruel experiences of great warm up plans failing due to ignorance and over excitement of scaling email volumes fanatically post warm up. We don’t wish to witness such experiences any more.

5 things to keep in mind as ‘Best Practices: Post Warm-Up’

  1. Consistency of emails sent in the end of warm up days should continue for atleast a fortnight
  2. Don’t create an unusual spike in the mailing pattern; this attracts suspicion
  3. Ensure bounces and abuse complaints are not high, should be less than 2% and 0.01% respectively
  4. Start using Split A/B for testing subject lines and Call-to-Action for better engagement
  5. Keep a close watch on your sender reputation on https://www.senderscore.org/

This will ensure you stay out of trouble anytime during your email marketing programme. Do share your ideas of warm up and success stories with us.

Feb, 13, 2014

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