IP warming isn’t a term you hear around the watercooler or marketing webinars. But it is important and any marketer who relies on email campaigns and uses an email platform like Salesforce Marketing Cloud, understands the importance of IP warming. Not following best practices can impact email deliverability rates and affect the performance of campaigns. DemandBlue works with Marketing Cloud and Pardot clients everyday. We continually implement best practices to make sure our customers get the best out of their email platform.
New Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot accounts are provided with IPs that are new, and don’t have a reputation good or bad, with internet service providers. It is essential that all new accounts follow a reputation building period.
What is IP warming?
IP warming is the process of managing campaign volume and gradually increasing outbound volume week-over-week. The number of outbound sends must be within warming thresholds.
Why is IP warming important?
Internet Service providers (ISPs) check your IP address reputation; if your IP lacks email send history, the email which you sent will be considered spam and will not be delivered to your prospects’ inbox. IPs sending reputation is checked based on multiple factors like spam complaints against the email you sent, very few or no engagement, less open rate, not being compliant, and few others.
IP warming is done by gradually increasing the email send volume; it might take 4-6 weeks or even more to gain a good reputation for your IP address. This can be gauged by regularly tracking the sent email engagement metrics. During the IP warm up period ISPs monitor whether you manage emails responsibly. It is a crucial rite of passage that every marketer has to go through!
What happens if your IP isn’t warm enough?
ISPs can become like Goldilocks. Not warming up your IP can lead to deliverability problems and emails being directed to the spam folder. Ouch! And it can take a lot of time and effort to build quality subscriber/customer interactions.
Best Practices to be followed during the IP warming period
- Ensure your authentication records such as SPF/SenderID and DKIM/DomainKeys are correctly configured and validated.
- Be compliant with laws like CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CCPA by adding unsubscribe links, preference centre, email footer, and avoid spam words, etc.
- Use First-party data for sending initial emails during IP warming, to start with.
- Initially, start sending mails to your most active Prospects/Subscribers.
- Use the best email content which worked well previously.
- Track your email metrics regularly; if you see an increase in bounce rate, stop the process immediately and take action.
- Set and follow a structured email cadence.
- Clean up your email list based on the replies, unsubscribe, and spam complaints, etc.
- Sending relevant content can improve your engagement rate, which can help to improve your IP reputation faster.
- Don’t suddenly increase your email volume.
- Verify the email address using the email verification tool.
IP warming strategies for Pardot
Salesforce Pardot provides an option to choose between shared and dedicated IP. If you are regularly sending emails to more than 100,000 emails per month, you can opt for dedicated IP, and if your numbers are less than that, you can use Shared IP. Shared IP doesn’t require any IP warming process. But that doesn’t mean a shared IP can improve your deliverability rate. If an account that shares your IP has underperforming campaigns it can adversely impact your deliverability rates as well.
Choosing a dedicated IP gives you more control over your sending reputation.
Before you can start warming your IP address, ensure you take care of these prerequisites
- Allow the sending IP on your mail receiving server to receive test emails.
- Add SPF and DKIM to your DNS; make sure it’s verified.
- As said in the best practices section, segment your list with the most active prospects.
- It is also recommended to use First-party data for sending initial emails during IP warming.
IP warming strategies for Salesforce Marketing Cloud
The IP warming strategy for Marketing Cloud is different from Pardot. In Pardot, target audiences are business users and the database consists of business email IDs.
In contrast, Salesforce Marketing Cloud has subscribers with email addresses from free email service providers like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail. The IP warming process also differs for both these industries. One is domain-based, and the other is a standard IP warming process which we saw earlier. Let’s see how the domain-based IP warming process is followed.
It differs because of the database they have, and the B2C companies will majorly have their customer’s email address domain ends with aol.com, yahoo.com, hotmail.com, outlook.com, gmail.com, icloud.com, comcast.net, and more like that, because of which it’s easy to do a domain segmentation. In a B2B scenario, your customer’s email address will have their company’s domain, and you will not be able to segment. It is not mandatory to do an IP warming based on domain, but that is one of the best processes and allows you to build up the send volume quickly.
If domain segmentation is not possible with your database, you can still use the standard IP warming process.
Need help with SFMC or Pardot?
Need help with your warm up exercise? Our Salesforce certified experts are here to help. We synergize our years of experience to offer services that help you get the best out of your Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Pardot instance. Improve deliverability, segment audience based on custom business rules and manage campaigns effectively.
Get in touch with our Salesforce Marketing Cloud consultant now.