Before you send your first email campaigns we need to establish your sender reputation with us. We do this via a special warm-up program. Please follow the instructions below and help us to get your inbox delivery rates back up to your previous levels (and higher) in the shortest time possible.
What is the ramp-up plan?
The email ramp-up is a carefully prepared and controlled process where we send small, targeted campaigns to your most engaged contacts to get the highest possible response rates in the shortest time.
The goals of the ramp-up are:
- To demonstrate to ISPs and email filters that Emarsys is your new legitimate email sender.
- To generate a new sending reputation for your sending domain(s) or sub-domain(s).
- If you are using dedicated IP addresses, to generate a new sending reputation for those IP addresses.
- To generate a stable expectation around your sending patterns
- And to do all of this with as little disruption to your marketing programme as possible
Once the ISPs have recognized the quality of your engagement, we can slowly increase the volume and send to less engaged contacts without suffering a drop in inbox placement rates.
We tailor every ramp-up plan to each individual customer's business model and it is vital that you follow our lead and do not try to hurry this process.
Please note that in different parts of the world, different legislation relating to deliverability may apply. Emarsys will check all the legal regulations, requirements regarding whitelisting and necessary certification that apply to your business model and incorporate them into your ramp-up plan.
Why is this necessary?
When switching email service providers, you sadly cannot take your previous reputation with you. This is due to the fact that reputations are not just measured by recipient response (though this is the most important factor for modern ISPs), but also:
- DNS Settings – Your sending IP, sender domain, sender email address or even brand and link domains.
- Infrastructure and sender authentication (technical setup).
- Compliance and list hygiene – Your content and permission process (opt-in for marketing emails), as well as hard bounce rate and spam traps.
- Complaints (the ‘Mark as Spam’ button).
A good warm-up strategy should help you to enjoy low complaint and hard bounce rates, high engagement rates and low spam traps hits right from the start.
How is the volume controlled?
The ramp-up campaigns are sent to segments created by you, which are based on contacts lists created by us.
- Your segments are based on the relevance of the contact for the respective email campaign content.
- Our contact lists are based on the overall quality of your database, the level of contact engagement and the quality of your content. Factors that we take into account include:
- The age and quality of your lists.
- Hard and soft bounces.
- Spam traps and honey pots.
- The engagement levels of your recipients.
- Your registration process and the expectations of your recipients.
- Your legal and ISP policy compliance.
We check your response rates every day and instruct you when to change the source contact list for each segment, so that the volume grows in step with your growing reputation.
It is critical that you only change the contact lists according to our instructions. Sending to the wrong list, or increasing the volume too fast, will damage your reputation and delay the ramp-up plan.
Preparing for the warm-up
Identifying your KPIs
We can measure the success of your warm-up campaigns by comparing your response rates with us against a set of benchmarks based on your objectives and your past performance. This is why we asked for this information in your Email channel setup form.
We will use this information to create a precise sending strategy for your warm-up campaigns.
Identify your most active contacts
Your most loyal customers are already engaged and are the most likely to respond, therefore we need to base our initial launch lists on them. You can identify them by:
- VIP program – If you have one, this is the most obvious place to start.
- Customer intelligence – If you are using a customer intelligence or business intelligence tool it should be fairly easy to build targeted segments based on previous purchase data.
- Website – If you have a website you can deploy an incentive-driven campaign to identify responsive contacts (this is not a newsletter sign-up campaign – you only need to know who they are).
Check the quality of your contact data
The quickest way to destroy a ramp-up plan is to send to invalid email addresses. Even addresses which have previously been valid may have since be recycled as spam traps. Likewise a high complaint rate will delay your reputation considerably.
- As a rule of thumb, we regard active customers as those who have registered, opened, clicked, logged in, or purchased within the last 3-6 months.
- Make sure that you only send to contacts who have explicitly opted in to receive this content.
- Remove all hard bounced contacts immediately from your database (or at least delete their invalid email address). This will significantly reduce the risk of sending to spam traps.
Sending the warm-up campaigns
Once we have prepared your launch lists and decided on a strategy, your warm-up campaigns fall into three stages.
Stage 1 – The first send-outs
During the first few days we will send to a small number of highly engaged contacts as well as to a seed list.
Based on the results of the first test, we will suggest improvements and launch another two or three such campaigns. The first send-outs should take no longer than one week.
Stage 2 – The second send-out
Once we are satisfied with the initial launches, you can extend your launch list to 20,000-50,000, depending on the size of your database. You can do this by including all active customers, customers who have recently become active, new registrations and also some less active customers.
If there are no issues, and you have come from another ESP with good results, we will aim to get you back to sending at your previous frequency within another two to three weeks.
Stage 3 - Scaling up
If all has gone well in the first two stages, we will complete the warm-up with some large-scale mailings to test your reputation and then you can then move on to more complex scenarios such as retargeting or welcome programs.
If not, we will reduce the sending volume and focus on specific areas of best practice until we have identified and corrected the issues that caused the problem.
What kind of response rates are to be expected?
When we start a ramp-up plan we can expect all ISPs to view us with suspicion. They are on the lookout for spammers and are always cautious when a new domain is used.
Therefore we can expect:
- Some blocking or filtering by individual ISPs in the first campaigns. This will usually resolve itself as long as engagement rates remain high.
- Different (lower) delivery and open rates than on your previous sending platform. This is exactly why we have the ramp-up plan and these rates will resolve themselves when your reputation is established.
When we monitor your ramp-up, we will pay particular attention to the following:
Open and click rates should be 10-20%
- Open and click rates will often be lower than on your previous sending platform until ramp up is complete.
- An open rate below 8% is insufficient for a standard ramp-up.
- Overall bounce rate should be less than 5%
- Block bounce rate should be less than 3%
- Unsubscribed rate should be less than 0.2%
- Complaint rate should be less than 0.2%
You can view all these statistics on the Email Response Summary page for your campaigns (Analysis menu > Emails).
How long with this process take?
The duration of the ramp-up depends on your mailing list quality, your daily sending volumes, and whether or not you are using dedicated IPs. Here is a very rough guide as to what you can expect.
|Typical max. volume||Shared IPs||Dedicated IPs||Dedicated IPs with Return Path
Sender Score Certification
|Small list: < 60K emails per day||No ramp-up needed||n/a*||n/a*
|Medium list: 60K - 250K emails per day||2-4 weeks||1-2 months||2-4 weeks|
|Large list: 250K - 1M emails per day||1-2 months||2-3 months||2-4 weeks|
|Very large: > 1M emails per day||Custom onboarding required with the Emarsys Deliverability team.||1-2 months|
* mailing lists below 60K are too small for dedicated IPs to build a stable reputation.
Previous deliverability problems
The ramp-up will not resolve any pre-existing deliverability problems you may have experienced with previous providers. Unless you have taken specific steps to address these beforehand, the problems will reoccur.
That is why it is critical that you provide full and frank answers to all the questions on our Email channel setup form.
In particular it is critical that you import all your suppression data (bounces, unsubscribes, complaints) before sending emails from the Emarsys Platform.