How to Warm Up an Email Account

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It’s Monday and you’re finally ready to launch the campaign you’ve spent the last two weeks on. Looking back, you managed to:

✔️Curate the content you plan on sending

✔️Created the sending and follow-up schedule

✔️Wrote out the templates for the campaign’s entire sequence

✔️Checked that each template included some amount of personalization

✔️Set up the email account you’ll be using to manage the campaign

You poured your blood, sweat, and tears into the campaign. There’s no way it’ll fail!

All you need to do is launch the campaign and wait for the results…

Two days later, you find out that the inbox’s been blocked and you’ve been locked out of your account 😱

Why?

The answer’s simple. That brand-new inbox you set up? It wasn’t warmed up. As a result, your emails kept landing in peoples’ spam folders until it triggered Google’s attention, leading them to block your account.

Luckily, this is just a hypothetical scenario… for now. In reality, countless accounts have been blocked for this exact reason.

That’s why we’ll be taking a closer look at what warm-up is, why it’s important, and how you can do it.

What is email warm-up?

Email warm-up describes the process of sending and gradually ramping up the number of emails sent from a new email account. By building up a positive inbox reputation, any emails sent via the account won’t trigger spam filters.

However, you can’t just go from 0 to 60 emails in one day. That’s a surefire way of an insta-block.

Instead, you have to start slow and methodically build up your sending volume. By refusing to cut corners, you can build a solid inbox reputation – a score that describes the perceived trustworthiness of emails sent via your inbox.

How is your inbox reputation determined?

When assessing your inbox reputation (also sometimes referred to as sender reputation or domain reputation), email service providers will look at several factors:

  • Are you sending mass blitzes right away or have you earned your reputation the hard way?
  • Are your emails being opened, ignored, and marked as important?
  • Are your emails being forwarded to specific folders?
  • Are your emails being ignored and deleted, if not marked as spam?

Inbox reputation scores are assigned on a scale from 0 to 100. The closer your score is to 100, the better your reputation.

When an email account goes live for the first time, it receives a ‘neutral reputation. 

From this point forward, every action you and your recipients take – such as sending, responding, reading, marking as spam, etc. – will have an impact on your reputation. For the sake of simplicity, you can think about it like a game:

  • Normal everyday actions such as sending and receiving a few emails each day will improve your reputation.
  • Unusual actions like sending large volumes of emails that are ignored or marked as spam will hurt your reputation.

If you want a good inbox reputation (and we hope you do), you should have a score between 80 and 100. 

Inboxes that score between ~70 and 80 are considered “neutral”, while scores under 70 are a red flag. Once it’s under 50, there’s a strong chance that your inbox will be blocked, so you should take action to repair your score as soon as possible.

How long does email warm-up take?

Currently, email warm-up takes approximately 4 weeks. It used to take ~14 days, but as providers continue to combat spam, the amount of time required has increased.

If you try to cut corners and speed up the warm-up, you may end up harming your outreach velocity as every time an inbox gets blocked, it sets you back another 4 weeks. So better not chance it, right?

Also, it’s worth noting that it will take less time to warm up a new email account on an existing domain (e.g. support@aisdr.com) versus warming up a brand-new domain (e.g. www.aisdr.com).  

Why is email warm-up necessary?

If you’re planning to run your outreach using your account, it’s absolutely essential that you make sure your account is warm.

Inbound and outbound sales campaigns are treated very differently from typical work correspondence. Even the best sales campaigns are lucky to achieve ~50% open rates and 20% response rates. All it takes is a small percentage of people to mark your campaign as spam to break your outbound and get your account blocked. 

Benefits of email warm-up

Warm-up can be inconvenient and time-consuming, especially if it’s done manually. Fortunately, there are several additional benefits to warm-up aside from helping you avoid being blocked.

  • Email warm-up builds up your inbox reputation (if you don’t have one already).
  • Email warm-up repairs a poor inbox reputation.
  • Email warm-up improves deliverability for email outreach.
  • Email warm-up helps scale your outreach faster.
  • Email warm-up prevents your campaigns from being set back ~4 weeks.

How to warm up your account

We’ve covered a lot of ground: what email warm-up is, how it’s assessed, and why it’s important. Now it’s time to lay all the cards on the table and explain your options for warming up your new account.

Option 1: Manual warm-up

Manually warming up your account is generally considered the safest option since you maintain full control.

There’s no handover of email log-in credentials. There’s no risk of incidental data breach. 

All you need to do is start sending emails to friends, family, and colleagues and have them open your messages, reply, and mark the conversation as important. You can even send emails to other email accounts you own.

But sending emails to people you trust is a lot less time-consuming and tedious (no need to switch accounts or have multiple tabs open). You can also use generative AI to save you the time you spend having to think up different ways of phrasing initial emails.

Sounds simple, right? Here’s a quick play-by-play breakdown of the manual process from start to finish:

  • Create your email account
  • Set up a custom “from line” and signature
    • Avoid using photos or links in your signature during warm-up
  • Set up your Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) records
  • Send a couple of emails to contacts (family, friends, colleagues, etc.)
  • Tell your contacts to…
    • Mark the conversation as important
    • Reply to your email
  • Reply to the responses you receive
  • Repeat the Send-Receive-Reply process each day for ~30 days, gradually increasing the number of emails sent from a couple per day to your expected daily volume (no more than 50)

On the bright side, manually warming up an account is free. More importantly, your email algorithm will see you as a human (Yay! Humanity confirmed! 🥳).

On the not-so-bright side, warm-up requires regular “maintenance”, which means you’ll have to repeat this process continuously for as long as you want to use the account. A long break with no warm-up or campaigns could “erase” all the progress you’ve made.

Option 2: Outsource your warm-up

Let’s be real – Manual warm-up isn’t anyone’s go-to fun activity. Plus, if you want it done properly, you need to send messages and get responses every day (preferably, including weekends).

Alternatively, you can hire someone to do it. There are freelancers and agencies that you can outsource your warm-up to, and they’re supposed to get it done by the intended deadline.

However, there are some drawbacks:

  • Costs will vary significantly (and cheaper doesn’t always mean better)
  • You’ll need to do a bit of research to ensure the person/agency you hire is trustworthy (and won’t cut and run)
  • They may make a mistake during the warm-up process, and depending on the terms of your agreement, you may need to pay them to do it again or do it yourself (in which case, you lose time and money) 

Option 3: Automate your warm-up

If you want to save yourself hours of manually warming up, and you don’t want to deal with the chances of human error, you can delegate your warm-up to an automated solution.

There are several software solutions available that will help you automate your warm-up. Some sales outreach platforms like AiSDR also offer you the ability to connect and start warming up your account at no extra cost as part of the subscription.

While this is a fast and easy way to begin building your inbox reputation, you’ll want to check their terms of service, as well as how their warm-up works. For instance:

  • Do they use real or temporary accounts to help build your inbox reputation?
  • Are messages “real” or “gibberish”?
  • Do they just send and receive messages?
  • Do messages receive engagement (i.e. marked as important)?

The more positive responses, the more reliable the service.

If you’re considering automating your warm-up, there’s one more advantage that might make it the preferred method.

Simply put, you can leave your warm-up on

This will ensure a steady stream of messages guaranteed to receive high engagement. Considering that your cold outreach will likely have a low open and reply rate, keeping your warm-up enabled will help balance out changes to your inbox reputation. And since AiSDR handles it for free, you can sit back and relax as your campaign moves forward.

Manage your outreach from warm-up to demo with AiSDR

Email warm-up isn’t the sexiest component of sales campaigns, but it’s absolutely vital. If you’re not doing it, chances are your campaigns aren’t even achieving lift-off.

Sure, while hyper-personalization is just as important to high-quality email outreach, there’s not much of a point to personalization if your emails are just going directly to spam. That’s why if you want to maximize your deliverability, you should begin warming up your accounts today.

With an all-in-one, AI-powered email outreach platform like AiSDR, you can get your warm-up started in less than 60 seconds without spending an extra penny.

Book a demo to check out how AiSDR will take control of your emails from warm-up to demo.

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