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4 Ways to Warm Up Your Email Domain (And Improve Deliverability)

Don’t Let Your Emails Get Trapped in the Spam Folder

Disclaimer: Our blog posts on deliverability and DNS settings, including DMARC, SPF, and DKIM records, are informative but not exhaustive. Making these changes can impact your sending capabilities. We strongly recommend consulting a deliverability expert or the beehiiv support team before implementing any changes.

Imagine showing up to the starting line of a marathon.

The gun is about to go off. You’re standing next to athletes who have trained for months.

The only problem is… you didn’t train once.

How do you think you’d do?

Let’s face it. You wouldn’t attempt to run an entire marathon without training for it first. If you did, you’d be hard-pressed to finish it, let alone avoid injuring yourself.

Running a successful email newsletter strategy is similar. When you’re launching a new email newsletter, it’s crucial to warm up your email domain.

Sending a ton of emails to your subscribers too quickly can drastically hurt your domain reputation. Taking the time to improve your email deliverability is critical to running a successful email newsletter.

In this guide, you’ll learn exactly what it takes to warm up your email domain so your emails actually show up in your subscriber’s inboxes. Plus, you’ll learn a couple of golden deliverability tips you can use to warm up your email domain quickly.

Let’s dive in!

What It Means to “Warm Up Your Email Domain”

4 Ways to Warm Up Your Email Domain (And Improve Deliverability)

Did you just launch your email newsletter? Or maybe you have a website and are ready to start your email marketing strategy. Even though you may feel ready to start sending email blasts to your subscribers, you need to warm up your email domain to avoid landing in the spam folder. Before we get into the nitty gritty of warming up your email domain, let’s back up a bit.

What Is an Email Domain?

Email domain? Deliverability? Are all these terms foreign to you? Don’t worry, we'll break it down.

An email domain is simply the web address that comes after the @ symbol in your email address.

The most common email domains are gmail.com and yahoo.com. These types of email domains are primarily used for personal email accounts.

However, if you’ve got an email newsletter, then you likely have a custom email domain. For instance, a fella named Bob runs a cat newsletter. His newsletter’s email address is [email protected].

In the example above, Bob’s email domain is “althingscats.com”.

Email domains typically correspond with a business or newsletter’s website, allowing email recipients to identify who an email is coming from. The email domain must match the requirements of the hosting provider, which means it typically requires using only letters, hyphens, digits, and dots.

What Is Warming Up an Email Domain?

4 Ways to Warm Up Your Email Domain (And Improve Deliverability)

So, how do you warm up an email address?

When you start your email marketing program, it’s important to first establish trust and credibility with internet service providers (ISPs) like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.

As a side note, an ISP is any company that provides you with an email address. Some other names for ISPs are “email providers” and “mailbox providers.”

Think about email domain warmup like your email credit score. When you’re first establishing email credit, you have a low credit score simply because you haven’t made any transactions yet. Every time you send an email, it’s like a transaction.

If you try to make too many transactions too quickly, your account will get flagged with email providers like Gmail and Hotmail. These have machine-learning algorithms that are working 24/7 to detect and block spam. They don’t want to tarnish their reputation by allowing junk mail to flood inboxes. So, they set up these parameters to keep inboxes clean.

While the warming-up process may seem slow and mundane, it’s essential if you want to avoid the dreaded spam folder. If you fail to follow deliverability best practices, your newsletter might not make it to your subscribers. This means all the hours you’ve spent devoted to building a successful newsletter could end up being meaningless.

Instead, take the time to warm your email domain up. The simplest way to do this is by sending a few emails at a time from your email domain and gradually increasing your send volume over time. This practice will help you improve your “email credit score” so the newsletters you pour your heart and soul into actually land in your readers’ inboxes.

Now that we’ve covered what it means to warm up your email domain, it’s time to get down to business. How do you actually warm your domain up? The reality is that gradually increasing your send volume isn’t the only thing you should do. There are a variety of steps you need to take if you want to ensure your emails don’t fall prey to spam folders.

How to Warm Up Your Email Domain

4 Ways to Warm Up Your Email Domain (And Improve Deliverability)

Ready to warm up your email domain?

It typically takes 2-4 weeks. Here are a few steps you need to take if you want to improve your email domain reputation so your emails land in your subscribers' inboxes:

1. Set the Right Expectations

Before you hit send, you need to analyze your signup forms.

Take a look at the copy you have on your site and social media profiles directing people to your newsletter. How are you hyping up your newsletter? Are you sending out email content that matches the expectations you’re setting before someone signs up?

For instance, Bob runs his cat newsletter. It would be strange if his signup form said “Sign up for everything about cats,” but he only sent emails about dogs, horses, and chickens.

Obviously, that example is a bit dramatic. The point is, that you want to make sure that you’re delivering on your promise to your audience.

Another aspect of meeting subscribers’ expectations is how often you send your newsletter. If you tell your audience that they’re going to receive one newsletter per week, but you’re sending one a day, you might overwhelm them–leading them to smash the unsubscribe button and even label your emails as spam.

The reverse is just as bad. If you tell your audience you’ll be sending out your newsletter once a week, but you send it once every three months, you could end up harming your email domain reputation. In this case, subscribers will be prone to forget who you are. They may not even remember they signed up for your newsletter in the first place if you aren’t sending it often enough, once again leading to an unsubscribe.

Remember, you need to set the right expectations. Send the type of content you’re promoting when getting someone to sign up. And, send as often as you say you will.

2. Set Up Email Automation

The key to establishing a solid email domain reputation begins with your subscribers. If you start sending emails but no one is opening them and engaging with them, Gmail and the other email providers will start to question whether or not you’re spamming people or providing something valuable.

Even worse, if a high percentage of your subscribers are unsubscribing and marking your emails as spam, it will send even more red flags to the ISPs.

If you want to improve your sender reputation, you have to focus on building an engaged newsletter. This means getting your subscribers to engage positively with your emails right out of the gate. One of the best ways to do this is by setting up email automation. These are emails that are set up to automatically get sent to your subscribers based on a trigger action they took.

For instance, the most common email automation is a welcome email. This is an email you can send out the moment someone subscribes to your email list. With beehiiv, you can send out automated emails like a welcome email that’s designed to engage with your readers immediately.

Want another example? Remember Bob, the cat man? His newsletter is all about cats. He could offer a freebie, like a mini course for new cat owners to show them the ropes. All he’d have to do is offer the lead magnet on his website or socials in exchange for an email address. He could set up a form for people to fill out. Once they’ve signed up for the course, he could have a series of emails sent out to those who signed up giving them tips and tricks on becoming a new cat parent.

Chances are, his email course will have even higher open rates, click-through rates, and overall engagement compared to his normal newsletter. The reason? Relevance. The more relevant your emails are to your list, the more likely they are to resonate with them. This email strategy ensures that a higher percentage of your emails are getting positive email signals, which builds up your email domain reputation with ISPs like Gmail and Yahoo.

3. Ask Your Subscribers to Engage

You might be wondering… “What is the fastest way to warm up an email domain?”

Well, if you’ve been following along, then you know a critical component in warming up your email domain is all about how your readers respond to your emails.

One way to improve engagement in order to boost your reputation quickly is by simply asking your subscribers to engage.

There are a variety of ways you can do this. If you want to improve deliverability and engagement, ask your subscribers to:

  • Safelist your emails

  • Move your emails to their primary inbox

  • Reply to your emails

  • Click on specific links in your email

  • Open your emails

  • Forward your email to a friend

Don’t shy away from asking your audience for a favor. If you’re providing valuable content in your newsletter, then chances are they subscribed because they truly want to receive your emails. Provoking your readers to take any of these actions is as simple as asking for them in your newsletter. You could simply add a P.S. to the end of your newsletter that reads “If you want to continue receiving these emails, please move them to your primary inbox!”

4. Track Your Email Performance

4 Ways to Warm Up Your Email Domain (And Improve Deliverability)

If you want to warm up your email domain, then you need to track your performance. Analyzing how your emails are performing is crucial to establishing an effective email marketing strategy. If you aren’t monitoring how your emails are doing, you could be tarnishing your reputation without even knowing it.

Within your email software, you should monitor how every single email you send performs. This means looking at key metrics like:

  • Open rates

  • Click-through rates

  • Unsubscribe Rates

  • Deliverability

  • Spam Rates

With beehiiv’s 3D analytics, you can see how each individual email performs, so you can make data-driven decisions to warm up your email domain and improve your sender reputation. beehiiv allows you to track open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. Plus, with beehiiv’s A/B testing, you can better understand how your content is resonating with your audience so you can craft relevant content that keeps your subscribers engaged.

If you’re ready to start your email strategy off on the right foot and warm up your email domain, sign up for a free beehiiv account today!

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