Note: As of August 3, 2020, this article no longer reflects current recommendations.
Please read our guidelines for warming up a neutral IP
Before you start sending at full-volume in WordFly, it’s important to gradually build up to your highest volume to help establish your sender reputation with internet service providers (ISPs). We call this an IP warmup plan.
Topics covered in this article:
Each WordFly sender has an assigned IP address. Inbox providers (internet service providers, or ISPs) have filters that monitor all incoming messages. Your IP address helps identify your messages to ISP filters. A sender reputation is created for each IP address based on following email best practice and subscriber engagement with your emails. Good sender reputations showing high subscriber engagement yield better inbox placement; and bad sender reputations send emails to the spam folder. New senders on WordFly must create an IP warmup plan to help establish a strong sender reputation.
Your IP warmup plan will be uniquely tailored to your sending volume and depends on whether you are sending from a shared IP or dedicated IP address. It's important to establish your plan and watch your reporting stats over the first few weeks of sending. Only by gradually building up to your highest volumes will you gain the trust and confidence you need from ISPs to deliver your mail to the inbox.
In the next sections of this article we will review best practices to create your IP warmup plan.
Before sending any emails, review your list. If you start with a bad list you should be prepared to deal with delivery issues such as delays, blocks, and blocklists. Remove any subscriber addresses you know have opted-out, hard bounced, or clicked the “Spam” button.
It's also important to suppress inactive subscribers. Any subscribers that haven't opened or clicked your emails in the past 6 months should be suppressed for the first send from WordFly. Subscribers that have been inactive for more than 6 months should be reviewed carefully. Save re-engagement efforts with your oldest segment of inactives for after you've established your sender reputation following the IP warmup plan.
Note: For established WordFly accounts moving to a new IP, WordFly is managing your unsubscribes, hard bounces, and abuse complaints. WordFly also has information on inactive subscribers through engagement calculations.
Your first email from WordFly will be sent to engaged subscribers. Think about what makes an engaged subscriber for your organization. This definition will vary depending on the services you offer or the industry you are in. Engaged subscribers are usually opening and clicking your emails regularly.
Note: For established WordFly accounts moving to a new IP, WordFly has information on engaged subscribers through engagement calculations. You can use WordFly segmentation to segment lists by 5-1 stars and other engagement data.
Let’s start by setting expectations. Warming your new IP address is going to take time. Be prepared to send to fewer subscribers in the beginning. Trust us on this one. Following the plan will go a long way to ensuring your emails make it to the inbox.
General guidelines for your IP warmup:
- Your first email should be sent to your most engaged subscribers. If you are in an established WordFly account, use WordFly segmentation to segment by 5 star engaged subscribers.
- Your first email should be sent to no more than 15-20k subscribers. More than this could lead to throttling at ISPs.
- After the first send, you can send to more subscribers, but it should be a thoughtful and gradual increase to your highest numbers. Consider 50% increases after your first send and monitor your reporting with each send.
- Monitor your mail block and spam block soft bounces after each send. Soft bounce rates over 5-10% may indicate a throttling issue to review.
- Plan on the process taking at least 1-2 weeks for lower sending volumes (<50k subscriber list); and at least 2-3 weeks for high sending volumes (>50k subscriber list).
Sending on a shared IP
On a shared IP address you benefit from joining an IP that has several other senders. Each sender will be required to go through the warm up process and follow email best practices.
Example plan: 30k subscriber list IP warmup
McTommerson Center has 30k subscribers where 20% are highly engaged. The first email from WordFly will be a newsletter email to the entire subscriber list. In their IP warmup plan they plan to break down the list into smaller segments, sending the newsletter over several days in order to reach the entire 30k in one week.
- First email (newsletter, segment 1) is sent to 6k engaged subscribers who have opened and clicked in the last 3-6 months.
- Second email (newsletter, segment 2) is sent the next day to 9k more subscribers. *6+9=17k reached
- Third email (newsletter, segment 3) is sent the next day to 13k more subscribers. *17+13=30k reached
- Next week, McTommerson Center sends to the full 30k subscriber list.
Sending on a dedicated IP
On a dedicated IP address your emails are the only emails establishing your sender reputation. This puts all the responsibility in your hands. It is extremely important to gradually build up to your highest sending volumes. Please schedule a time to review your IP warmup plan with WordFly support.
Example plan: 60k subscriber list IP warmup
McTommerson Center has 60k subscribers where 20% are highly engaged. The first email from WordFly will be a newsletter email to the entire subscriber list. In their IP warmup plan they plan to break down the list into smaller segments, sending the newsletter over several days in order to reach the entire 60k in one week. In the second week, a membership email is planned to members only (a highly engaged list), as well as another newsletter email which will be sent over at least a couple days.
- During week 1, McTommerson Center plans to send a newsletter email to help start the IP warmup process.
- First email (newsletter, segment 1) is sent to 12k engaged subscribers who have opened and clicked in the last 3-6 months.
- Second email (newsletter, segment 2) is sent the next day to 18k more subscribers. *12+18=30k reached
- Third email (newsletter, segment 3) is sent the next day to the rest of the list 30k more subscribers. *30+30=60k reached
- In week 2, McTommerson Center plans to send some membership emails and another newsletter email. After each send reporting is analyzed to make sure soft bounces are within acceptable ranges and no blocks are suspected.
- Week 2, membership email sends to 10k subscribers.
- Week 2, newsletter is sent over 2 days.
Reach out to WordFly support to review any questions about the IP warmup plan and sending needs.
Is the IP warmup plan required for all senders?
Yes! When moving to a new ESP like WordFly or switching IPs in WordFly, senders are required to create and follow an IP warmup plan to help establish a sender reputation with ISPs.
Is there anything our organization has to do to turn on the new IP for our account?
WordFly is responsible for handling the proper configuration (including rDNS records) of your IP for sending from WordFly. This IP will be present in your email headers when your emails send from WordFly.
Do we need to adjust our DKIM or DMARC text records for our new sending IP?
Is there any flexibility in the IP warmup plan for larger list volumes?
In our experience, the most conservative threshold to send on your first campaign is 15-20k engaged subscribers. If you have more engaged subscribers, we can review your sending plan to determine if it will work. Reach out to WordFly support with your plan, including campaigns, send dates, and list volumes.
What's the ideal frequency to send during our warm up?
It's best to send daily to help establish your sender reputation. If you don't plan to send until a later date, that's ok! The main point is that whenever you start sending, your plan should ideally include daily sends with gradual increases.
What tools are available in WordFly for established accounts to segment lists?
WordFly segmentation is available for established accounts! WordFly has information on engaged subscribers through engagement calculations. You can use WordFly segmentation to segment lists by 5-1 stars and other engagement data.
Do we need to only send to highly engaged subscribers for the first 2 weeks?
The main priority is that your first segmented email on your new IP is to engaged subscribers. After this, the next segments can include other engaged levels. It's best to omit subscribers who have been inactive with your email program. Save these addresses for a re-engagement campaign after you are fully ramped up.
Can we stagger larger sends for our first day of sending?
No. Splitting a large list into smaller sends on one day will not meet the warmup plan requirements. Large sends should be split into separate sends over several days for your first days of sending.
What might indicate a problem with our warm up process?