Much like it used to be necessary to heat up a car on a cold day before driving, email marketers must warm up their IP addresses to ensure smooth delivery of holiday emails. If like most merchants you’re gearing up to increase your email sending volume over the holidays, now is the time to begin the warming process in order to establish your sender reputation and ensure maximum delivery rates.

Basically, you must begin by sending to a smaller number of subscribers on a conservative schedule and gradually increase email volume and frequency as your sender reputation begins to be established. Much like respect, sender reputation must be earned, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Below is a checklist to get you started. Together, these steps will help eliminate the major spam signals for IPs – heavy volume, high bounce-back and complaint rates and spam trap hits.

  • Begin by sending targeted campaigns to your best (most recent, engaged) subscribers
  • Send emails that are not time-sensitive and that have historically performed well for your brand
  • Divide large volume emails into batches and send separately
  • Be sure to include active contact requirements to avoid SPAM traps
  • Ensure that all authentication steps have been implemented – register a sub- or custom-domain for email marketing; get records in place for Sender-ID/Sender Policy Framework; utilize DomainKeys Idenified Mail (DKIM)
  • Monitor ISP-specific deliverability reporting and abuse reporting with feedback loops
  • Automatically remove all addresses who hard bounce or complain
  • Closely monitor subscriber engagement and suppress inactive subscribers from specific campaigns
  • Do A/B split testing to find out what works to improve any less than average results
  • Monitor your reputation by performing routine Inbox testing using tools like 250ok’s Inbox Informant
  • Each week increase email volume - for example send to 2% of your list daily for a week, then 10% daily for a week, 25% daily for a week, and so on – until peak holiday volume and frequency is reached

As Greg Kraios, founder and CEO of 250ok and a deliverability industry thought leader, says, email delivery is a privilege earned based on the continued responsibility of the sender. Even if you’re working with a reputable email service provider, much of the responsibility still falls on you.

If you begin now to warm your IP address, you will be in the best position to achieve maximum inbox delivery of your holiday emails.

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