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5 Prep Strategies to Support Inbox Placement

Marketing technology platform implementations are no easy task. Many times they include months of planning, consolidation of redundant technologies and include teams across an organization, and agency partners to assist. Most importantly, they include a shift of customer data and a new tool for marketers to contact their customers by email.

Standing up email on a new tech stack typically includes establishing a new sending domain and/or warming a new IP address which requires a very methodical approach to migration and rollout. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are more sensitive than ever when it comes to protecting their customers’ inboxes. When ISPs see email from a new sending domain or IP address, it’s analyzed closely and those ISPs start to establish a reputation for the send domain and IP address immediately. 

Marketers cannot maximize their investment in their new tech stack if they aren’t able to reach their customers. A well thought out IP warming plan is an important first step to earning a good sender reputation with the ISPs. Luckily, there are five things you can do while technology is being enabled to prepare for this plan.

1. Validate Your Sending Data

Sender reputation will make or break you in the case of email deliverability and inbox placement, so validating your sending data helps to ensure your list is clean and the best of the best. The phrase “garbage in, garbage out” couldn’t be more true with the case of IP warming. If you do not have regular email validation in place, now is a good time to run your file through a validation tool. There are a variety of them in the marketplace depending on your needs, and they report back things such as invalid domains, invalid email addresses, and typo domains that can help you determine who should be sent from your new platform and who needs to be sunset.

2. Evaluate Your File and Set Expectations

Now might be a time to trim down to your most engaged audience to ensure solid inbox placement for your highest engagers. For example, is a subscriber from two years ago that has never made a purchase and not opened an email in the past six months still a valuable record? Know your counts and ensure you have baseline data including subscription date, last click, and last purchase date to help support conversations.  Subscription source is also very important for long term channel value.

3. Prepare Your Upcoming Campaign Calendar

Consistent sending during the warming period is pivotal to ramp success. Calendars should include information such as launch date, projected volume, and considerations if the campaign can launch over multiple days. Use calendar review sessions internally to also evaluate if there is other content you can put into market such as editorial or product highlights that can help support consistency during this period.

4. Make Sure Your Content Is Following Best Practices

Engagement is key during the warming process so make sure your content is relevant to your subscribers and provides opportunities for them to engage with the email once it’s opened. Other tips include following creative best practices by limiting images and including live text as well as watching the use of known spam trigger words in subject lines and content.

5. Know Your Metrics

Are you having bounce or blocking issues at a particular domain? What is your typical open, and more importantly, click expectation for your top 10 domains? Establishing baseline metrics will help you understand how you’re performing at each domain on your current ESP (email service provider) so you have something to compare your engagement to on your new ESP. This will also help you gauge if you’re experiencing blocking or deliverability issues on the new ESP that you were not experiencing before and be able to course-correct early in the warming process.

While it’s very difficult to know exactly what ISPs look for during IP Warming, and email deliverability in general, these steps will go a long way to setting yourself up for IP or domain warming success.