IP Warming Part Two: The Critical Steps

The importance of IP Warming is huge…even if you are just starting to realize it. This post is part two of our series (read part 1 here) outlining the three steps required to ensure you have properly warmed your IP to maximize email deliverability.  Just remember- the goal of this post is to help you understand more about Email Deliverability and its impact on your Demand Generation Strategy from a marketing perspective. *The steps outlined below are not executed by most email marketers, they are performed by an Email Deliverability professional or qualified marketing automation expert.  So use this for reference – don’t attempt this at the office unless supervised by a trained professional.

IP warming part 2 imageStep 1:
Confirm this is a new, dedicated IP address. Always do a thorough check.

Confirm DKIM and SPF are in place and passing:

  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework) – An email authentication standard that specifies what IP addresses can send mail for a given domain.  This is the easiest authentication standard to implement and is most widely used, but does not account for the visible headers in the message, such as the ‘from’ and ‘reply-to’ address.
  • DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) – The most comprehensive email authentication standard that signs each outgoing message with an encrypted key.  While SPF involves making changing to DNS records, DomainKeys requires senders to change the way that messages are constructed.

Confirm that feedback loops are in place and then confirm rDNS (determination that a domain name is associated with a given IP address). Then you need to confirm that there are not any current IP blocks or blacklisting is in effect.

Step 2:
Identify messages you will be sending to warm your IP address. Insider tip – choose messages that are not time-sensitive communications.
Use consistent branding and from lines your recipients are used to seeing. This is not a time to try new designs or unique subject lines.
Ensure a compelling offer or incentive to drive users to open or click on messages. This increases ratio of opens vs. unopened for better results.

Step 3:
Send messages per an IP warm-up schedule and monitor after each send.

*Reminder: Make sure you are not sending to anyone who has previously opted out of communications, complained or bounced from your previous marketing automation solution or ESP. You are still obligated to comply with those requests.

Monitor your sends for deliverability issues such as:
Blacklistings
Bounce rates
Opt-out rates
Complaint rates
Spam traps

Forget some of the key deliverability terms listed above? Reference my previous post for a reminder. Don’t make the mistake some marketers and IT professionals do and assume your new IP is all set to go once you obtain it. You must do things the right way, follow a clear process to warm the IP, otherwise, your deliverability and reputation are at risk. Have more questions on Email Deliverability or IP Warming, let me know.

Author: Chris Arrendale, CIPM, CIPP/US CIPP/IT @arrendale Chief Deliverability and Privacy Strategist, ANNUITAS

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