Email Warm-up: What, Why, How, Tools, and Everything You Must Know
February 9th 2022
Outbound Sales
Email Warm-Up
Since email campaigns offer an ROI of nearly 4300%, they are preferred by 80% of businesses to acquire new customers and retain existing ones. But successful cold email campaigns are getting more challenging than ever! The popularity of automated email outreach has affected the quality of emails that reach your inbox. It is challenging to land in the primary inbox of your prospects when everyone is doing the same. The increased compliance from email service providers has made it more challenging. We'll understand the different aspects of cold email outreach, email warm-up, and everything that can help you effectively reach prospects.

Table of Contents

  • Is cold email outreach still relevant?
  • How can you improve cold email outreach?
  • What is email domain reputation?
  • What is an email warm-up?
  • Why is email warm-up important?
  • A Step-by-step Guide to the Email Warm-up Process
  • Do you need an email warm-up tool?

Is Cold Email Outreach Still Relevant?

Emails are here to continue breaking norms, being a part of trends, and bringing consistent results. Cold email outreach has been a primary lead generation source for several companies. With the popularity of automation, you need to have a strategy to reach your prospects. Before you think about the results, you need to ensure your emails are delivered to your prospects. Prospecting the right audience, sending relevant messages, and personalization can improve your results but only if you can reach the primary inbox.

cold email outreach

What's the Ideal Reply Rate for Cold Sales Emails?

Mailchimp's extensive research on email metrics concludes that the reply rate varies across industries. The variation for open rates ranges from 15-30%. The other factors that can affect your open rates include:

  1. The volume of the campaign
  2. Type of email

A well-thought sales cadence can help you engage your prospects better. But optimizing the inbox placement and content is more crucial. Other things to keep in mind to improve your outbound sales outreach are as follows:

  • Use a reliable email client like Google Workspace or Microsoft account, not a 3rd party SMTP sender
  • Invest in an inbox placement platform to increase your email deliverability by avoiding spam or promotion folders
  • Space out your email campaigns through the day based on the time zone of your prospects
  • Avoid email alias accounts instead, you can use Gmail or Microsoft accounts for business
  • Avoid sending more than 100 emails per day per email account - it's even better if you can limit it to 80 emails per day per email account
  • Gradually increase the sending volume of daily emails over 14 to 30 days
  • Name your email accounts after real people who work at your company, preferably someone in a senior management

Cold outreach is a long-term acquisition channel that you can rely on building over several years. You don't have to cut corners or set up costs for your go-to-market process. To keep a positive email domain reputation, you need to consider several aspects. Let's first understand the concept of email domain reputation.

What is Email Domain Reputation?

Email domain reputation or email sender reputation is a primary factor influencing where your emails land. Monitoring it will help you identify the gaps in the segments, the volume of emails, and the email content. It scores you based on various factors. A low score may result in landing your emails in the spam or promotion folders. Your emails can go unnoticed and opportunities lost.

Email Domain Reputation

How Can You Measure Your Email Sender Reputation?

The current tools help you measure your domain and sender reputation based on three simple principles:

  1. An email is sent from your domain or email account(s) to other external inboxes to check the deliverability rate.
  2. Your email provider or tool used to send the emails can note where your emails land — primary inbox, spam, social, updates, promotions, unfocused, junk.
  3. Your sender reputation is calculated using the percentage of the sent emails that reach the primary inbox

The above process aims at improving the performance of your email campaigns. While monitoring or warming your emails, you must consider the following aspects:

  1. What email accounts are used?
  2. Most platforms use email accounts purchased on set-up in bulk on the tool. The email addresses are neither unique domains nor represent actual business inboxes. Email service providers have the capability of identifying fake accounts. The data from such inboxes will be inaccurate and won't calculate reliable email sender reputation.

  3. What's the sample size and duration of the score calculation?
  4. Several testing platforms either send a low number of emails or send only a batch of emails to calculate your email sender reputation rather than continually sending them across multiple days or weeks. Using a solution like this with low sample size or a single batch email blast can be an option only if you're getting started running cold emails at a low volume.

  5. Are your monitored domains separate?
  6. Many email warm-up tools don't usually separate the network domains from the monitored ones. The email domains that respond move your emails out of spam, mark them important, etc. The same domains are used to calculate your email sender reputation. Email domains save and store your preferences. If a spam email is moved to the inbox, the recipient's inbox remembers the selection but doesn't improve your sender reputation. Email warm-up platforms that use the same mailboxes for interacting and monitoring will show inaccurate data.

What is Email Warm-up?

Email warm-up, also known as IP warming, is gradually increasing the volume of sending emails. You need to warm up your email address to build a trustworthy reputation. The method of warming up includes sending emails from your new email account. It's good to start with a small number and gradually increase the number of sent emails each day.

New email accounts have specific daily sending limits given by the email service provider. There are certain restrictions to new accounts. To use the full potential, you need to build a trustworthy reputation which can be done through email warming up. The different factors that can determine the pace include:

  • The volume of emails sent
  • Engagement during email warm-up process

Why is Email Warm-up Important?

Email warm-up is the process of building a reputation and increasing your email deliverability rate. It is essential for the following reasons:

For large volume cold email campaigns

When you plan large volume cold email campaigns for a new account to ensure your emails reach their inbox, you need to warm-up your email account.

Reach primary inbox of prospects

Reaching the primary inbox of your prospects can drive engagement and build significant relationships. Warmed-up email accounts will avoid the spam filter, deliver emails in the inbox, and increase the email deliverability and open rate.

Avoid getting spammed

Gmail, Outlook, and other email service providers have intelligent algorithms to identify your email sent history. New accounts to be warmed before email blasts to avoid getting spammed.

Now that you know why email warm-up is essential, let's understand the process in detail.

A Step-by-step Guide to the Email Warm-up Process

Step 1: Account Authentication

Every new email account requires account authentication. Authentication guards your account against spam filters and ensures your emails are delivered to the primary inbox. There are four critical email authentications:

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

It is an authentication technique that creates a record in your DNS (Domain Name System), which lists down all your servers authorized to send emails. When your recipient's email service provider identifies your SPF authentication, it verifies your domain.

DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail)

The DKIM authentication method adds a digital signature to your domain. It prevents email spoofing and ensures your emails reach the appropriate inbox.

DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance)

It uses your SPF and DKIM records to win your recipient's email service provider's trust. It ensures no fabricated or fake activities are associated with your email.

Custom Domain

Adding a custom domain with your emails makes your links and documents more trustable. It assures the sender and their email service provider that the source of the attached links and documents is authentic.

Step 2: Send Emails Individually

You can start the email warm-up process by sending manual emails to friends and colleagues. Begin conversations with 10 to 20 individual emails from your new email account. Ensure consistent engagement to assure your email service provider of authentic activities. Gradually your new email account will be ready to start cold email campaigns.

Ensure you are sending emails to different email services like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, iCloud, and others during the manual process. It will help you build a good reputation among email service providers and avoid spam filters.

Pro tip: Personalize the subject lines for the manual process to increase the response rate.

Step 3: Create Conversation Threads

Email accounts are meant to send and receive messages. Creating engagement for warmed-up emails helps in driving maximum deliverability. Start your conversations by sending emails to known recipients who will reply. Continue the process for 8 to 12 weeks with consistent interactions. You can even add your new email address on your website and other inbound lead generation platforms. Increasing the response rate will result in a better conversation rate. It's a simple process to assure email service providers about your authenticity. Consistent email conversations will increase your email sending limit. It gradually verifies your account to send mass email campaigns.

Step 4: Be a Part of Subscriber Lists

Receiving emails is as crucial as sending emails while warming up your new email account. Start with subscribing to 10 to 15 newsletters of your interest. You need to confirm every subscription through your inbox to receive these newsletters. It will verify and validate your account to increase the email inflow.

Step 5: Control Frequency of Emails

Every email service provider has a unique algorithm to verify how emails are sent and received. To assure their algorithm that you are not a bot, avoid sending too many emails at once. Large volumes of emails will directly impact your domain reputation. Keep long intervals between two emails while warming up your new account. Sending too many emails at a go triggers spam filters, which may temporarily or even permanently block your account.

Step 6: A/B Test Email Campaigns

After 12 weeks of manual warm-up, your account will be ready for automated email campaigns. Even now, it's best if you start small and stay smart. Start with a small campaign with 20 to 30 known prospects to get a response. The following aspects as essential to identify your best practices:

  • Personalization
  • When your goal is to warm up your email account, you need to ensure the sent emails are opened and receive a reply. Personalization adds a human touch to your cold emails. 72% of recipients respond to only those emails addressed directly to them. It can help in increasing your open and response rates. You can A/B test different subject lines to know what personalization works best.

  • Send relevant content
  • Spammy content makes your account vulnerable to the spam filter. Words like FREE, Grab, 50%, etc., attract the spam filter. Sending relevant content helps in building your brand reputation. Keep the content spam-free, relevant, and plain with limited links to get the best deliverability and engagement.

  • Include an unsubscribe link
  • Adding an unsubscribe link is essential even when you send a campaign to a small contact list. While warming up your email account, you must avoid getting reported for spam by your recipients. Even a single spam report can negatively impact your new account reputation. Adding an unsubscribe link allows your recipients to decide if they want to receive your emails. It gives the power to recipients and keeps your emails away from being reported as spam.

Step 7: Best Practices to Follow

Following the best practices during email warm-ups can build a strong foundation for your outbound sales outreach. Here are some must follow best practices:

  • Keep the human touch
  • Use limited links
  • Use a trusted email service provider
  • Use limited media files
  • Avoid automation during email warm-up

Do You Need an Email Warm-up Tool?

If you're not sure whether you need an email warm-up tool for cold outreach, the answer is — it depends! You can consider the following questions to know their suitability for your business and scale operations:

  • Do you actively use emails to generate sales opportunities and leads?
  • Do you email over 1,000 prospects in a month?
  • Do you have an email automation tool and no longer send emails manually?
  • Do you use email contact lists for targeting new prospects?
  • Is cold email outreach a part of your long-term strategy for lead generation?

If you answered 'no,' to one or more of the above questions, then chances are you may not need an email warm-up tool. You need a scalable cold outreach strategy to acquire tangible benefits from an email warm-up service.

However, if you answered yes to the above questions, you must evaluate and compare different tools to stay ahead of the competition. To be the first to reach your prospects and get a competitive advantage, you need to ensure your email warm-up tool provides all your requirements. The objective of your chosen inbox placement platform should be to track your email open and engagement rates and improve your sender domain reputation.

Key Takeaways

Successful cold email outreach requires preparation, planning, and thoughtful execution. Warming up your email account is an ongoing process if you want to reach the primary inbox of your prospective customers. You need to build your email sender reputation and avoid the spam filter to get noticed by your prospects. For creating a trustable reputation, you need to gradually grow your email send out and avoid even the slightest mistake that can affect your domain reputation. But before choosing a warm-up email service, understand if you need one. Double-check the suitability and requirement but continue following the best practices consistently.

Richa Sharma
Content Marketer
Richa Sharma
Content Marketer
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