How to warm up a domain

Preparing your domain for email outreach is as important as warming up your email address. Don't skip it if you want to ensure your campaigns land in your prospects' inboxes. Here's our warm-up checklist.

IN THIS ARTICLE

Why would you warm up a domain?
What are the steps of warming up a domain?

Why would you warm up a domain?

Before you start

Check our article Deliverability: Introduction in case you haven't heard the term "deliverability" before. Learn about processes which help your emails hit your prospect's inbox, without landing in the spam folder. Domain warm-up is one of them. Read on.

Warm-up – how it works

Start off by registering a new domain which will be used for outbound. Next, warm up an email address. It’s actually one of the first things you need to do before you get on with email outreach. Start off by registering a new domain which will be used for outbound. 

Sending emails from a new, fresh domain can be found suspicious by anti-spam filters. When doing so, you're risking burning your domain and destroying its reputation. What happens next? Your emails get rejected, or as we call it – bounced. With time, you'll notice more and more prospects with status BOUNCED assigned to them.

The more bounced messages you receive, the higher the chance of getting on the blacklists and being blocked. As a result, your open and reply rates drop and the deliverability of your emails starts to suffer. Here you can read about the errors which you can see when your sending is put on hold.

How long does the warm-up take?

You should spend at least 3 months working on your domain's reputation before you start an email outreach. Why? A good reputation is earned over time. When you buy a new domain, it is being treated as a neutral one. Domain's age is one of the first factors which is checked by anti-spam filters, playing an important role in email deliverability. Warm-up is a process when you gain trust as a sender.

Read about 8 Things to Take Care of In the Meantime You Warm up a Domain for Outreach »

What are the steps of warming up a domain?

First and foremost, take it slow. Spend at least 3 months on the warm-up, keeping in mind factors which may disturb the process and you should stay away from.

Things to avoid:

  • a suspicious frequency of email sending (for instance, sending 100 emails the first few days),
  • low quality of prospect list (non-existent addresses will result in bounced emails),
  • setting up more than 1 email account right away (creating many accounts at once can be found questionable). 

Important notice about domain name

The name of your new domain should be consistent with the name of your main one. For example, we use getwoodpecker.com for outbound, which resembles our main domain woodpecker.co. Why? Domain name appears in your email address and is a part of the message. Choosing a domain name that’s not similar to your main website is inconsistent. 

STEP 1: Set up an email account – no more than one

Set up a new email account for outbound. Don't forget to warm it up. Here's how. Don't exceed your email provider's sending limits. After 1-2 months you can add another email address on your domain if you want and start warming it up too.

Info for G Suite users

Daily sending limit for G Suite trial users is set to 500 emails. If you'd like to increase this limit, you may want to upgrade your account. Learn more.

STEP 2: Configure your email address

  • Take care of the MX record (mail exchange record) which is used to gather replies.
  • Set up the from line and a signature.
  • Set up SPF & DKIM.

STEP 3: Send a couple of emails manually

  • Wait for at least 2 or 3 weeks before you start sending emails. 
  • Send some emails by hand from your inbox to the addresses you know. For instance, to your own emails, colleagues or friends. It would be best if the addresses were set up at different email providers, such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, Yandex, etc.
  • Try to also reach business emails.
  • Whenever you send an email, ask for a reply,
  • Avoid any automation so the frequency and volume of emails seem natural.
  • Don't copy and paste text you found online - remember that what you write is important, don't include “lorem ipsum” types of messages.

STEP 4: Prepare a test campaign in Woodpecker

  • Repeat Step 3 for a couple of weeks. 
  • Next, log in to Woodpecker and create your first automated campaign.
  • Add around 20 trusted email addresses to make sure your campaign will land in their inbox and won't get bounced and you'll get a reply.
  • Check your automated campaign email using Mail-Tester.
  • You're all set.

Am I ready?

If you've followed all the steps we mentioned earlier and warmed-up your domain for at least 3 months without rushing the process, you are on a good path. 

There's one last thing before you click the "SEND" button though. Visit our blog and learn about 14 Deliverability Checks to Carry Out Before Sending Your Cold Email Outreach →

 Find out how to make your emails hit the inbox – read the guide
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