Before getting into the details of warming up an IP, we want to outline some of the basics on IP and IP warming. First of all, IP is an abbreviation of ‘Internet Protocol’. Internet protocol “is the set of rules governing the format of data sent via the internet or local network.” (Kapersky) IP addresses are several numbers that distinguish a device connected to a network. You can think of it as similar to your phone number or a package’s tracking number. Essentially, your IP address is what allows you to engage in online activity. As an email sender, opening up and warming a new IP address are important steps to take in legitimizing your email campaigns.
So, what is IP warming and why does it matter?
Internet service providers (ISPs), such as AT&T, can be wary of new IP addresses. These new addresses are also called ‘cold IPs’. If you do not warm-up your IP, you run the risk of ISPs blocking your emails or domains. To avoid this and to increase your sender reputation, IP warm-up is the way to go.
IP warming is “the practice of increasing your email sending volume and following a pre-planned schedule.” (Inboxroad) By taking the time to prove your validity to an ISP, you are securing your success in future deliverability and creating a positive sender reputation.
Prior to the warm-up process, you need to open a new IP address. Typically, you can request a new IP address from your SMTP relay provider, such as Inboxroad. Once this has been provided, the warm-up process should begin. ISPs – examples include Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo – can become suspicious of new IPs that begin by sending large volumes of emails. Therefore, you start by gradually increasing the volume of emails sent. By doing this, you ensure that your emails achieve good performance, open rates, click rates and low complaint rates. Eventually, ISPs will begin to trust your IP and you will be able to reach your desired daily sending volume.
Dedicated vs Shared IP
Email senders have two options when it comes to using an IP. They can choose to use a shared IP or a dedicated IP. Making a choice between the two is really dependent on your email list size and the amount of emails you eventually want to send out.
Shared IP – This is basically an address that serves a number of email marketers. A shared IP is best for senders with smaller lists and who require a lower quantity of emails sent out. However, using this type of IP comes with drawbacks. If the shared IP is used by bad email marketing actors, there is the risk that your sender reputation will plummet. Therefore, you have “to monitor each IP address your brand uses as each can affect deliverability differently” (Trendline). On a positive note, a shared IP is much more financially sustainable. Additionally, various email providers can help keep your content within the same ‘sending pool’.
Dedicated IP – A dedicated IP is one that you can control entirely. Your deliverability and sender reputation fall into your hands. This method is more costly, but email marketers that send out more than 2,500 emails a day should consider investing in a dedicated IP. Since ISPs can be cautious of high email volumes sent out, it is necessary to first develop your reputation. You do this by warming up your IP.
The Steps to Warming Up an IP
The steps required for an IP warm-up are relatively simple but time-consuming. Now, we will cover the best practices that should go along with an IP warm-up scheme. Afterwards, we will provide Inboxroad’s effective warm-up plan.
Sending out emails with quality content is essential in establishing trust and peaking customer interest. Good content is also advantageous in building sender reputation. In this blog post, we cover the ways that you can create engaging emails and ensure customer satisfaction.
2. List Quality
Making sure your email lists are organically built and made-up of interested and engaged customers assures good deliverability results. It is also less likely for your emails to be reported as spam if you grow your list organically. In this post, we provide tips on ethically growing and maintaining your list.
3. Steady Volume
Being consistent and following a plan that allows you to gradually increase your sending volume is the most relevant best practice when it comes to IP warm-up. The Inboxroad schedule below guarantees a successful warm-up.
When receiving feedback from ISPs, it is important to follow their directives and prove a readiness for cooperation. This develops your reputation and improves your email delivery.
Inboxroad Warm-Up Plan
The following is Inboxroad’s basic warm-up plan. To find great results, we suggest starting your email campaigns with your most engaged subscribers. We provide greater detail about our IP warm-up procedure here.