Effective: August 24, 2020
It’s important to gradually build up to your highest sending volume before you start sending at full-volume in WordFly. This is called warming your IP. Following an IP warmup plan will help establish a strong sender reputation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The process can take 3-4 weeks.
Topics covered in this article:
What is an IP warmup plan
Each WordFly sender has an assigned IP address. This IP address helps identify your messages to the filters that ISPs use to monitor all incoming messages.
A sender reputation is built for your IP address based on how well you follow email best practices, how responsibly you warm up your IP, and how your subscribers engage with your emails. By gradually building up to your highest volumes, you gain the trust and confidence you need from ISPs to deliver your mail to the inbox. A good sender reputation shows high subscriber engagement which leads to better inbox placement. A bad sender reputation shows low engagement which leads to delivery issues such as spam filters, mail blocks, and delayed deliveries.
Your IP warmup should be uniquely tailored to your sending volume and whether you are sending from a shared IP or dedicated IP address. It’s important to establish your plan and closely watch your reporting metrics over the first few weeks of sending.
Note: Expect to experience some deliverability issues while warming up your IP. It’s natural to see lower opens, higher bounces, and other metrics you may not be accustomed to.
In the next sections of this article we will review best practices to create your IP warmup plan.
Prepare: Clean your list and identify your engaged subscribers
Before sending any emails, review your list.
- Remove addresses for subscribers who have opted-out, hard bounced, or clicked the Spam button. If you skip this step, you should be prepared to deal with delivery issues such as mail blocks, delayed deliveries, and blocklists.
- You’ll also want to look for inactive subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked your emails in the past 90 days. It’s important to exclude these subscribers as you warm up your IP.
- Identify your engaged subscribers. They are the audience for your first WordFly campaigns. Engaged subscribers open and click your emails regularly and the most engaged ones have clicked on emails within the past 30 days. Define what makes an engaged subscriber for your organization. This definition will vary depending on the services you offer or the industry you are in.
Note: For established WordFly customers moving to a new IP, you can determine your inactive and engaged subscribers by using our engagement calculations. You can use our segmentation feature to segment lists by your engagement data.
Create and follow your IP warmup plan
Let’s start by setting expectations. Warming your new IP address is going to take a few weeks. 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 first email:
- Your first email should only be sent to your most engaged subscribers. These are subscribers who have opened/clicked in the past 30 days.
- Your first email should be sent to no more than 200 subscribers on Day 1. More than this could lead to throttling at ISPs.
- It is important to monitor your mail block and spam block soft bounces after each send. Soft bounce rates over 5% may indicate a throttling issue to review.
Building up to higher sending:
- If your soft bounce rates are below 5% after your first send, you can send to more subscribers. It should be a thoughtful and gradual increase to your highest numbers.
- During the first week, send to your most engaged subscribers who have opened/clicked in the past 30 days in another email system or in WordFly. (Established WordFly customers: Send to engagement ratings of 4 or 5)
- During the second week, send to your most engaged subscribers who have opened/clicked in the past 30 days in another email system or in WordFly. (Established WordFly customers: Send to engagement ratings of 3, 4, or 5)
- During weeks three and four, you can expand to subscribers who have opened/clicked in the past 60 days.(Established WordFly customers: Send to engagement ratings of 2, 3, 4, or 5)
- During the first 6 weeks do NOT send to subscribers who have not opened or clicked in the past 90 days. (Established WordFly customers: These are subscribers who have engagement ratings of 0 or 1.)
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Sending to webmail providers
Webmail providers like Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Hotmail use throttling to control when emails are delivered. This can sometimes result in emails taking longer to be delivered to a specific email account. If you experience delayed emails, soft bounces above 5%, or a significant decline in opens with any of these webmail providers, you should immediately stop sending to the provider for one day. After 24 hours, you can resume sending, but only to your most engaged subscribers. Once you confirm the emails are getting to the inbox, you can begin doubling your send the next day.
Sending on a shared IP
On a shared IP address you benefit from joining an IP that has several other senders. Each sender is required to go through this same warmup process and follow email best practices.
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.
IP warmup plan FAQs
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.
What’s the ideal frequency to send during our warmup period?
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 your plan should include daily sends with gradual increases whenever you do start sending.
When can I send to my less engaged subscribers?
You can expand to other levels of engagement when your metrics show that your emails are being delivered. Typically this means you can expand to subscribers who have interacted within the past 60 days after two weeks. It’s best to omit subscribers who have been inactive with your email program for the first six weeks, if you can. Save these addresses for a re-engagement campaign after you are fully warmed up.
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 200 engaged subscribers. If you have more engaged subscribers, we can review your sending plan to determine if it will work. Reach out to us with your plan, including campaigns, send dates, and list volumes.
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 warmup process?
Monitor your mail block and spam block soft bounces after each send. Soft bounce rates over 5% may indicate a throttling issue to review. Reach out to us to review any concerns.