How to warm up an email account

Preparing your domain for the 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 recap.

IN THIS ARTICLE

Why would you warm up an email address?
What are the steps of a mailbox warm-up?

Why would you warm up an email?

Before you start

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

Warm-up – how it works

For IP/domain reputation safety reasons, we recommend setting up a new email address on a separate domain for outbound. However, before you start sending your email, both your new email and the domain should be warmed up. Why?

When you start, your sending reputation starts as neutral but is considered suspicious. Sending automatically a high volume of emails is seen as an alarming activity and make you come as a dangerous user – a spammer. 

How long does the warm-up take?

The email warm-up takes around a month, while the domain warm-up should last at least 3 months. Learn how to warm up the domain.

What are the steps of the mailbox warm-up?

First and foremost, take it slow. 

STEP 1: Configure your email account 

Set up an email account and learn about its capabilities 

Make sure you set up an email account that fits your needs. Different accounts from various email service providers offer different sending limits. Those limits will matter when you start sending outbound campaigns. Follow the sending limits to avoid being blocked by your email provider.

Set up an the from line and signature

Once your email account is set up, you should take some steps to configure it properly. The first thing to do is to set up your from line and signature. You are a real person, so there’s no reason why you should make your email provider think you’re not.

  • Don’t make up random names and fake identities. 
  • Use your actual data. 
  • If you have a Gmail account, add a picture to your Google profile. 

If you use an HTML signature, make sure it’s properly created. 

  • Make sure the HTML of the signature won’t take more space of the email than the actual text of your message.
  • The HTML of the signature should be neat and tidy.
  • If you’re not sure how to check that, it’s better to use a text signature instead of HTML, because poorly written signature may actually get you into SPAM folders.
  • Don't overload your signature with links and information which isn't needed.

Set your SPF and DKIM records

  • Setting your SPF and DKIM will look a little different in each provider’s email account setting. 
  • You can look for some help materials on your provider’s page, or ask your provider’s support to help you out. 
  • Check out our SPF and DKIM guides.

STEP 2: Send a few emails a day by hand

Once your email is set up, you can start warming it up. Start slow and simple.

  • Collect a list of addresses you know for sure are existing. 
  • Think about your friends and business partners and treat it as an opportunity to reconnect with them. You won’t send them sales emails, of course. You will reach out to them personally. 
  • At this point, send them emails by hand. 
  • If possible, collect a list of addresses set up on domains from various hosts, for instance, Gmail, Outlook/Exchange, GoDaddy, 1&1, Yahoo, AOL, Yandex.

Write like a human

  • Pay attention to the content of your emails. 
  • Send real messages, not just random pieces of text.
  • Ask some questions in the emails, because you want your addressees to reply to your warm-up emails.

Collect a few responses and reply back

A regular mailbox is not just used for sending messages, but also for receiving them. 

  • You can send some emails from your other addresses to that new one. And reply to them, too. 
  • The key is to create regular conversations via email using the newly set up email address before you start using it for automated cold email campaigns.

STEP 3: Set up a test campaign in Woodpecker

Wait at least 12 weeks, if your domain is fresh

  • When you send email from a domain you’ve just set up, you really need to work on it. 
  • It takes about 3 to 4 weeks for your domain to be properly warmed up and ready for email outreach, however, you should wait at least 3 months before setting up the cold email outreach.
  • When you warm up an email address, you do part of the work of warming up a domain.
Read about 8 Things to Take Care of In the Meantime You Warm up a Domain for Outreach »

Prepare your email address for a first campaign

Take a few weeks to carry out the manual warm-up before you start using any kind of email sending automation. In the meantime:

So on the one hand, you work on your domain and IP reputation, and on the other hand, on the quality of your actual cold email campaigns.

Set up a test campaign in Woodpecker

Once you’ve done the manual warm-up, you can set up a first automated test campaign in Woodpecker. 

  • Prepare 10-20 trusted email addresses. 
  • Make sure the addresses are valid – ideally they should be some addresses of your friends and colleagues, so that you can ask them to send a reply to you.

Test your campaign.

  • As your first prospect on the list, add a test email address from Mail-Tester. It’s a tool that will allow you to easily assess the quality of your email copy, and verify the correctness of your email account settings. I wrote a bit about the tool on our blog.
  • Send a version of the actual copy you are going to send to your prospects in a real campaign.
  • Don’t just send anything, like a single word “test”. 
  • Mail-Tester will show you an assessment of your email copy, so get the assessment of the actual copy you are going to use in your campaign.

Patience is the key.

  • Don’t get impatient once you hit ‘Send’ in Woodpecker. 
  • The emails need time to get sent because they are not sent all at once. 
  • That would negatively affect your deliverability rates in the long run. 
  • Set quite long time intervals ‘windows’ for the emails to be sent. 
  • If you try to pack too many messages into one window, your mailbox activity will be characterized by some peaks.

Don’t send too many at once

If you try to fit into “the best hours to send business emails” you may end up sending too many emails for very short periods of time. Set up a steady number of emails, not too many, and send them during the working hours. For example, from 6 AM to 5 PM.

  • If your mailbox tries to push numerous messages at certain times and is totally inactive at other times, this may be treated as an anomaly by your email service provider.
  • Such anomalies may be a reason for your provider to block your mailbox from sending anything.

#1 AVOID: This is how your mailbox activity looks like this when you try to send all your campaigns during a two-hour-or-so time period one day, and you’re not sending anything at all on other days.

#2 GOOD PRACTISES: Sending activity that looks normal to email service providers. This is, more or less, how your mailbox activity looks like when you don’t try to squeeze too many messages into the best days and hours, but you send them steadily.

Sending cold emails you probably won’t be able to send a very similar amount every day. What you can do, however, is to try to send the emails more steadily by giving Woodpecker more time to send a batch of emails.

So instead of setting your delivery hours like this:

you can set them up like that:

Setting your delivery time to 6 AM – 5 PM is your safe bet. 

Whether you’re just sending a test campaign or a real cold email campaign, remember that 50 opening emails a day are enough. Especially if you have planned a few follow-ups – because the opening messages and the follow-ups will overlap after a few days. 

Learn how to set delivery time and timezone »

Do I need to warm up each new mailbox on my domain?

Taking good care of your first mailbox that was set up on your new domain is a must. Its sending reputation will affect other mailboxes on your domain that's why you should pay extra attention during the first weeks of your warm-up process. So if you're planning on setting up more mailboxes, focus on the warm-up of that first mailbox. New mailboxes don't have to be warmed up. However, sending any mass emails from the newly created ones may put your sending reputation on risk. That's why you should stay calm and keep it peaceful at first. Send a couple of emails directly from your mailbox, ask for replies, but don't start with the cold campaigns straight away. Give it some time.

Am I ready?

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 >>

Sending emails from Woodpecker

Learn about how Woodpecker sends emails. If you're planning to run a number of campaigns at the same time from one email account, check our article Sending several campaigns from one mailbox.

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