Email Sending Guide: Email Best Practices & Email Warm Up

Introduction

This guide is designed to give CRM Users everything they need to know to avoid the SPAM folder and land their emails into the Inbox. Below you will find a detailed guide on how to get sending emails in CRM.

Caution: Ignoring this guide can result in emails going to SPAM. We want your emails to arrive in the inbox and not in the SPAM folder. Please learn and apply this guide to your Email Sending Practices.

Let's hop into our guide together as we review Email Best Practices and Email Sending Recommendations below.

We can't wait to see how this helps you grow your business!


Email Best Practices

Now that your new sending domain is set up, it is critical for you to set yourself up for a successful landing into people’s inboxes and NOT their spam folder. Before you get started sending, ensure you have set up and followed these necessary best practices. 


1. Set Up a Dedicated Email Sending Domain

What is it? You Sending Domain, is how the internet routes emails.


Why it matters? Not having a Dedicated Email Sending Domain often results in your emails going into SPAM despite practices good emailing. When you set up a Dedicated Email Sending Domain, you can gain full control of your reputation and email deliverability. This means you can work your way into all emails going into the inbox while avoiding that SPAM folder.


How to Set it Up? Schedule a Support call with Work Smarter Digital. This is usually set up during the Initial Setup.

Your domain host must allow for additional MX Records and email sending subdomains. Most do, but Wix is one that does not.


2. Set Up a Dedicated Sending IP Address

What is it? Dedicated IPs offer a distinct advantage by sending your email messages from a unique, exclusive IP address. Email service providers (ESPs) closely monitor the reputation and behavior of an IP address to determine the deliverability of emails linked to specific domains associated with that IP.


Getting a dedicated IP address provides your organization with exclusive ownership, giving you full control over the management of the email sender's reputation and deliverability tied to that IP.


Why it Matters? Most providers share the same Sending IP Address. Mailbox providers give a reputation to IP addresses, so this could negatively impact your sending, especially at high volume. A dedicated sending IP address helps you control more of your email-sending health to build your own IP reputation. This becomes more important when sending high-volume, especially 200k emails or more.


What are the Costs? $99 per month and recommended that you maintain email sending of 50K emails per week.

3. Enable Email Validation

What is it? Email Validation will check if the email you are sending is valid or not. Sending to an invalid email can negatively impact your email deliverability.


Why it matters? If you send emails that do not exist or are not valid, it harms your domain reputation leading to poor email deliverability. Meaning emails will go to spam or not be accepted into the mailbox at all.


How to enable it? This is already enabled on your account.


What are the Costs? At this time, there is no charge. This may change in the future and will be communicated in advance.


4. Enable “Mark Email Invalid from Hard Bounce.”

What is it? An email bounce occurs when an email is not delivered or rejected by the recipient's email provider. There are two types of bounces.

  1. A hard bounce occurs when an email address does not exist.
  2. A soft bounce is a temporary failure, and some more reasons, like the recipient servers being down or the mailbox being full.

Why it matters? Too many bounced emails will harm your domain reputation leading to emails going to SPAM. This is why marking hard-bounced emails as invalid is important to enable.


How to enable it? You can choose to mark emails as invalid if they bounce from within the Sub-Account Settings.


  • Enabling Email Verification for the Sub-Account
    • Settings > Business Profile > Scroll to the “Mark Emails as invalid due to Hard Bounce” > check box.

5. Add Your DMARC Record

What is it?A DMARC Record provides instructions to receiving servers about how to handle incoming mail. In order to get delivered, messages need to pass DKIM and SPF alignment checks according to the requirements set by the DMARC policy. Messages that do not pass DMARC checks can be rejected, reported back to the domain owner, or placed in the spam folder.


Why Add it?Not having a DMARC Record can negatively impact your domain reputation and email deliverability. Often, mailbox providers count it against you when DMARC Records are not set up properly - resulting in emails going to SPAM.


How to Add it?To add a DMARC record, you must log into your DNS provider and add the following TXT record below. 


  • Add a TXT Record in your DNS Setting for your DMARC policy without the ""
    • Type: “TXT”
    • Name: “_dmarc”
    • Content: “v=DMARC1; p=reject"

Additional Resources for DMARC:


6. Use the Proper “From Email”

What is it? The “From Email” is the email a recipient will see when receiving an email. For example, your Sending Domain might be “mail.yourdomain.com” however, you can send your From Email as “test@yourdomain.com.”


Why it matters? Using a “from email” that does not match the primary domain you are sending from can result in poor email deliverability.


How to Set It Up? Whenever you are sending from the CRM, be sure your “From Email” has your primary domain in the “From Email. ”So if you set up replies.yourcompany.com, you can send from sender_name@company.com.


For example, if I have a sending domain of “mail.yourdomain.com” – My From Email needs to have “yourdomain.com” in the email address, such as “test@yourdomain.com”. Any other record will result in poor email deliverability. 


What is it? An unsubscribe link allows your users to “unsubscribe” from receiving emails from you in the future.


Why it Matters? Not having an unsubscribe link will severely harm your email deliverability rates.


How to Set It Up? We make it as easy as possible to add an unsubscribe link all of your emails. Within the email builder, our “Footer” Element. Be sure to use this or edit and create your own. 


You have two options, you can use the default unsubscribe link we’ve automatically set up for you or you can create your own!


  1. Custom Unsubscribe Link Set Up
  2. Make the best possible unsubscribe link and process, giving you full control, get started here with this Custom Unsubscribe Link Set Up Help Doc above.

8. Use Double Opt-In

What is it? A Double Opt-In is when you ask subscribers to opt-in twice. For example, they fill out a form and then “verify” their email address by clicking a link to “Verify” their email. Only after someone has double opted-in will you start sending them emails. This is in contrast to a single opt-in which will start sending emails to recipients right after the first opt-in.


Why it Matters? Double opt-ins are highly beneficial to your domain reputation and email deliverability. This is because users have double opt-in to receive emails from you. Think about it… the act of a recipient receiving their first email from you, then opening, and clicking on a link within this email looks really good for your domain. In addition, it ensures your list knows and wants to receive emails from you. Which is invaluable when list building.


How to Set It Up? Go to this Help Article. If you want the Double Opt-In System added to your account, please email support@worksmarterdigital.com with your request.

9. Stop Sending to Unengaged Emails

What is it? As simple as it sounds… When sending to your email list, do not send to unengaged emails. Meaning if they do not take the action to open or perform the next step in your campaign stop sending to them.


Why does it matter? When you send to a more engaged group of people, your emails go into the inbox more often. Whereas fewer open or links clicked (engagement) will result in emails going to spam.


How do I do this? If you have been sending to the same person who has taken no action for weeks, send to them less frequently or not at all. 


While it hurts to trim the list, it’ll hurt more to ruin your email deliverability due to unengaged recipients. It just isn’t worth it and there are no hard feelings for users not wanting to engage with you. Focus your efforts on those that ARE engaging with you. 

It is better to stop sending to an unengaged recipient than it is to have them "unsubscribe" or "mark as SPAM."


10. Send Regularly… Just Not Too Regularly

What is it? Another large factor in your sending domain's reputation is how often you send emails. If you only send out an email blast to your list once a month or once every couple of weeks - it can negatively impact your reputation. In contrast, if you send it every day or multiple times a day, it is just as bad. Especially if in the past you didn’t send it like this.


Why does it matter? Thus, it is important to consider how often you send. When someone has opted in and is engaging (opening emails, clicking on links in those emails), then you can send a bit more. But after they are not engaged, slow it down to weekly. And as covered above, if users are unengaged, stop sending them all together. How often you send and how engaged your recipients are can play a huge role in ensuring emails arrive in the inbox.


How do I do this? There are many opinions out there on how often to send and when to send. In general, we've found success in only sending to opt-in (preferably double opt-in) recipients. After they have signed up we send them about an email a day for the first 5 days, then we slow down to a couple a week. This is until they take the action we want. If they take no action after 20 days, we only send weekly emails until we have another planned promotion.


Our Recommendations:

  1. If someone has opted in (preferably a Double Opt-In) you can send to them daily for a brief time to convert them…
    1. If after a week or two of no engagement, slow the sending down to them to a weekly cadence.
    2. If they are not engaged for a longer time, say two months of weekly emails, stop sending them all together.

      You can send out special promotions or offers as you have them

    3. Just consider how often this is and keep them shorter.
    4. It's important to send fewer than to oversend.
    5. In addition, it's important to stop sending to unengaged recipients, remember the above...

Email Warm Up

Mailbox providers will often SPAM emails from new dedicated email domains. This makes sense because anyone can make a new sending domain (like a spammer for example) and get sending. Utilizing the Email Best Practices above and the Email Sending Recommendations below will greatly improve your chances of landing in the inbox and converting those leads!


Email Sending Recommendations

When sending your first emails to warm up your domain, you should only send to emails that have opted-in. Further, you need to follow the “Email Sending Recommendations” below to ensure you aren’t sending too many emails within a single day or hour.


What this reveals is how many emails you can send within a single day or a single hour. So for the first emails I send, I should send no more than 100 per hour and 1,000 in that day. When I go to send my next emails, I move into stage two. In stage two, I can now send 300 per hour with a total of 2,500 emails in a day. It’s important to remember the stage isn’t just how long you’ve had the domain, it is the current stage or time in which you go to send emails.


Pro Tips for Sending Your First Warm-Up Emails

  • Follow the Email Best Practices above

    Follow the Email Sending Recommendations above

    Send fewer emails per day or hour if you can at the beginning

    Send to only opted-in emails with higher chances of engagement

    • Cold emailing, or emailing to people who haven’t opted-in, needs to go through a list-cleaning process. It is not recommended to do cold emailing during the early processes of warm-up. Cold emailing tends to result in poor email deliverability. Learn more about Cold Emailing below.

      Keep the content of your emails short and to the point

    • Add an appropriate image if you can.
  • Do not use a Public Link Shortener like bit.ly or tiny.url

Email Tools

Are you wanting to test, track, or monitor your email domain? Below you will find a number of powerful tools for troubleshooting and monitoring your email sending and health.


Test the Spammyness of Your Emails

The content of your email can impact it’s deliverability. For example, too much text or using a URL shortener can greatly impact how mailbox providers rate your emails. If an email seems to “SPAM”-like, the mailbox provider will SPAM the email.


Did you know you can see how “spammy” your emails are by utilizing this free tool… https://www.mail-tester.com/ 

  1. Copy the email provided
  2. Create a new contact in the CRM with this new email address you copied
  3. Send your email to this new contact email address
  4. Navigate back to Mail-Tester and click “Then check my score”
  5. Review the score and make adjustments

If you are worried or seeing emails go to SPAM this can be a helpful tool in seeing if your content is to blame. Make adjustments based on the feedback you receive.


Review Your “Email Health Report”

To quickly check for errors in your domain, such as if it is blacklisted, missing a DMARC, etc, you can paste your sending domain into this “Email Health Report,” see https://mxtoolbox.com/emailhealth. This will show any number of potential issues with your domain. A great place to begin with troubleshooting or checking your domain reputation.


Advanced: Use Postmaster Tools to monitor outgoing email

Utilizing the information of every Google mailbox user you send to from your domain… the Google Postmaster tool will monitor and return valuable information on how your ongoing emails are doing. Complete with:

  1. Spam rate
  2. IP Reputation
  3. Domain Reputation
  4. Feedback Loop
  5. Authentication
  6. Encryption
  7. Delivery errors

This information is invaluable when trying to see what is impacting your sending email deliverability. Just use the tool to add a record to your sending domain to see how you are doing today!


*Please note: it can take up to two days or more for Google to get the data for some of your reports. Refresh your page and clear the cache or use an incognito window to ensure it is not a caching issue.


See more information on how to use the Google Postmaster Tool here.


Troubleshooting

Remember there are many reasons why emails can go to spam. For example, did you know using URL shorteners results in a much higher chance of going to SPAM? Email sending can be a complicated process. Which is why following the guide was created. As you review why emails are going to spam, you can follow this guide above as well as review the questions below.


In the event of your emails going to SPAM, it’s best to check the following:


  1. Check how long you have been sending emails?
    1. Remember, it can take up to 4 weeks for a domain to be warmed up.
    2. If it is less than four weeks, stay focused on the Email Best Practices & Email Sending Recommendations noted above.
    3. In addition, use our “Email Tools” section above to monitor and improve your email sending.

      Check Your MX Records

    4. Confirm your MX records are installed correctly.
    5. See the Review Your “Email Health Report” section above.

      Ensure Your DMARC is Set Up

    6. Confirm your DMARC records are installed correctly.
    7. See the Add Your DMARC Record section above.

      Reach out to Support

    8. If after confirming the top three steps (and the content above), you still need assistance - reach out to Support for further assistance.


FAQs

What about Cold Email Outreach?

Cold emailing is sending to a list of emails that you purchased or received without the recipient having opt-in to receive messages from you. It is not recommended to send emails to those who have not opted-in. This is especially true when warming up a new Dedicated Sending domain. If you choose to cold email in the CRM, below are a number of pro tips and even some additional third-party services you can try in combination with the CRM.


Cold Email Outreach Pro Tips:

  1. Follow the Best Email Practices above… Especially...
    1. Ensure Email Validation is enabled
    2. Ensure “Mark Email Invalid from Hard Bounce” is enabled

      Follow Email Sending Recommendations

    3. Send Low Volume
      1. When you go to send your cold emails, drip them out slower than you think.

        Only send cold emails after your domain is warmed up.

    4. For example, if possible, send cold emails only after 

      Don’t send cold emails using your primary sending domain

    5. It is encouraged to not use your primary sending domain for cold email outreach as it could ruin all of your other emails.
    6. Creating a separate Sub-Account and Dedicated Domain is encouraged to ensure you protect your primary domain.

Third-Party Cold Email Services

Some clients have found success using third-party cold email tools. Then, after they are confirmed engaged leads on these third-party tools, they bring them into the CRM (such as an API call or by a .CSV Upload). This way their main sending domain in the CRM is protected while their 3rd party tool works the cold emails in the best way possible.

*Please note: the following thrist-party cold email links are unaffiliated with us. We have heard many of our client's suggesting them, however, they are not affiliated with us. We do not support these tools in-app and our team may have little knowledge on them. We simply hope these links help get you another step closer to your goals.

htts://instantly.ai

https://smartlead.ai


What if I already have a Dedication Email Sending Domain and my Emails are going to SPAM?

If you are just sending your first emails with your new domain, it is normal for them to go to SPAM at first. Follow the steps in this guide and it will improve.


If you have had your Dedicated Domain for a while and/or you have already sent hundreds or thousands of emails. It is generally best to create a new dedicated sending domain rather than attempting to fix your current one. Making a new sending domain is easy, you just need to add a new Sub-Domain - no need to purchase an entirely new domain. After creating your new one, follow these steps in detail.


What is Email Warm Up?

We will first need to “Warm Up” your email domain. As this is a NEW Dedicated Sending Domain, it does not have any reputation - good or bad. However, mailbox providers will often SPAM emails from new domains. This makes sense because anyone can make a new sending domain (like a spammer for example) and get sending.


What is Email Deliverability?

In short, “Email Deliverability” refers to how well your emails are placed in the inbox (not the spam or promotions or another place). For simplicity, you can think of email deliverability as your ability to send an email and have it arrive in the Inbox and not SPAM.


Email deliverability is super complex, consisting of dozens of unique factors. The most common ones are Sender Reputation, Subscriber Engagement, List Health, Consistency, and even your email content… When a mailbox receives an email, it considers all of these factors when choosing where to place the inbound email.


What is Domain Reputation?

Domain reputation is the rating or score given to your domain. The internet and mailbox providers rate your domain, giving it a reputation or trust score that helps determine if they should accept emails from your sending domain into the mailbox as well as if to place it in spam or promotions. 


Domain Reputation, just like Email Deliverability, is complex. What is important is that both will determine how successful you are at landing outgoing emails into an Inbox and NOT into the SPAM folder.

Poor Domain Reputation = Poor Email Deliverability


That’s why we’ve outlined your Email Best Practices, Warm Up Sending Recommendations, and some FAQs below to help make this complex process - as clear as possible.


How Long Until a Domain is Warmed Up?

It can take up to four weeks for your domain to be fully warmed up with no emails coming into spam. Ensure you confirm you are practicing all of the Email Best Practices above and check out our “Email Tools” section above for ways to troubleshoot, monitor, and improve your email deliverability.


If you skip or do not follow the Email Best Practices or Bulk Email Sending Recommendations. Your email deliverability and domain reputation will likely decrease, resulting in emails going to SPAM. In later stages, you will be blacklisted and emails will not even be accepted by mailbox providers.


What is an Email Bounce?

An email bounce occurs when an email is not delivered or rejected by the recipient's email provider.

There are two types of bounces.

  1. A hard bounce occurs when an email address does not exist.
  2. A soft bounce is a temporary failure, and some more reasons, like the recipient servers being down or the mailbox being full.

Additional Resources and Sources for this Guide

Prevent mail to Gmail users from being blocked or sent to spam

Domain warm-up and reputation: Stretch before you send

How to ramp and warm your sending infrastructure 

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