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IP warming is a deliverability best practice. In other words, it will increase email delivery. You have a dedicated IP address, right? When using your dedicated IP address, warming it up helps build your reputation with ISPs (Internet Service Providers).
Why do we want to keep a good relationship with ISPs, you ask? Well, having a good reputation with ISPs will mark you as a legitimate email sender and more of your mail will be delivered to the correct inbox. When IP warming, you are gradually sending more mail from your dedicated IP to establish a good reputation with ISPs.
The answer to this depends on how long you have had your dedicated IP, how many emails you send out, how people are interacting with those emails (opening, clicking, forwarding, deleting, etc), how large your list is, etc. There are several IP Warming Plans available now that will increase email delivery to your subscribers over time.
During the IP warming period, ISPs watch to see who to filter. ISPs are very cautious about new IP addresses because the IP has no history with the ISP. It’s similar to making new friends. When meeting someone new, everyone has their own internal thought-process on how they will approach each person depending on who they are. Just like most people stay closer to those with similar interests, morals, etc, an ISP will deliver mail that follows their deliverability best practices to increase email delivery.
IP warming gives the ISPs the opportunity to recognize, identify, and evaluate your sending practices. Example – if people are marking your messages as spam, not opening, etc., you can expect that your emails will have a harder time reaching the inbox. When this happens the ISP makes judgements on your mail and filters accordingly.
To ensure proper warming is taking place, you must put your best foot forward, and send to your “best addresses” first. This means that you will begin the IP warming plan by sending to your most engaged users first. This will improve email delivery up front. As the warming plan continues, you will move from most engaged, to engaged, to somewhat engaged, and will end the warming period with your least engaged users. A successful ramp up will increase your email delivery.
As you continue each day of the warming period (the amount of days involved in the warming period will depend on the size of your email list), you will gradually add more addresses. For example, on the first day, you may send to 500 email address and the second day, 750. You can expect that day three will increase from day two and so forth.
IP warming may seem tedious and long, however, if you don’t follow all the best practices and necessary steps, you have the potential to look like a spammer to ISPs and will not increase your email delivery. It’s typical of a spammer to use and abuse an IP address and then move on to another IP. Email deliverability best practices are to perform an IP warming plan when a new dedicated IP address is made, and put your best foot forward to show ISPs that you are not spammers.
If your IP is not (or has never been) on a warming plan, your mail may be getting sent to spam, consistently lowering your reputation with ISPs and, eventually, getting yourself marked on a blacklist.
All these issues can be avoided if you have an IP warming plan. Whether you are starting a new dedicated IP or remediating deliverability issues in the past, starting an IP warming plan will increase email delivery for you.