Cold Email

How to Warm Up an Email Account for Cold Email

If you're going to send cold emails, you'll need to warm up your email sender (SMTP). This guide will make it easy!

Why Do You Have to Warm Up Email Accounts?

Here's the thing...

Cold email is not the most celebrated sales/marketing tactic.

Even if you have the most hyper relevant list and perfectly tailored copy, many folks will still see it as "SPAM" (though it is definitely not).

It's just that after so many "Nigerian prince wanting to send you $10,000" scams, people have grown a bit sour on the idea of a cold email.

And with all those scams and fraud (which you're not doing!), Google, Microsoft, SendGrid, and all ESP's (email service providers) have increased regulations.

This isn't to stop you from sending your hyper relevant cold emails, but to protect their users from phishing scams, and the like.

This presents a small (or large in some cases) roadblock to those of us running good ol' fashioned value-driven cold email campaigns.

Basically, if you're sending too much all at once, you will get flagged and your account will get banned by your ESP.

The solution is, simply, to warm up your email account.

This should be done for each email sender, it doesn't cover the entire domain, and since Gmail and others use rotating IP's, you need to make sure the email stays warm and the account looks natural.

Again, this is for protection and a necessary evil we all have to deal with if we want our emails to be safe and valuable.

How to Warm Up My Email Account?

Great question, and there's a few answers.

At the end of the day it depends on the volume you plan on sending and the budget you have at your disposal.

I'll go over the classic manual approach (takes a little longer and is a time investment), and I'll go over the automated approach (works quicker, is more long-lasting, and saves a ton of time, but comes with a money investment).

Either way, this guide should be valuable for you if you're just getting started on your cold email journey, or if you're a hardened sales vet.

Warm Up Steps You Always Need to Do

Whether you're going for the Manual method or the Automated method, there are a few things you should always do to maximize your email deliverability.

1. Verify Your Email Lists

Bounce rate is the number of invalid emails you send to. The higher your bounce rate, the worse your deliverability will be.

The best way to improve bounce rate (and deliverability) is to Verify or Validate your email list.

Get started by going to EmailListVerify and sign up to get 100 credits free.

2. Set Up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC Records in your domain's DNS settings

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are the three security mechanisms that protect you from hackers, phishers, and help to avoid spam. ISPs treat these seriously, so before you start using your new email account for campaign sending, you need to set them up.

Learn how to set up SPF record here.
Read how to set up DKIM here.
Read how to set up DMARC here.

OK, now that that's out of the way, let's get into the fun stuff:

The Manual Email Warmup

If you're short on cash and long on time, this is the method for you.

It's fairly simple, but it can get a bit tedious if you're an impatient person like me.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Sign Up for Daily Newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to get your email account looking natural to your ESP immediately. It truly looks like you're a normal person with no cold email plans in mind (hehe).

I recommend starting with newsletters that send daily like Robinhood Snacks and Morning Brew. Blogs like ActiveCampaign, Hubspot, and others also have frequent sending and are very common.

2. Send Emails to Trusted Contacts Who Will Reply

This doesn't need much explanation, but the best way to make your account look natural is to send simple, non-sales emails to your network, friends, and family with the assumption that they will help you out and reply.

You can also send to your own alternate email addresses and reply manually to yourself, though I would make sure to mix it up.

Do this consistently for 5-7 days. Reply rate is a huge factor in email deliverability, ESP's look at it as a key metric. If your emails don't get replies, they're more likely to be SPAM right? Makes sense.

3. Gradually and Consistently Increase the Volume of Cold Email Sends

While you're getting replies from your trusted network and getting your valuable newsletters every day, you can start sending low volumes of cold emails, increasing the volume gradually, day-by-day.

There are many example schedules out there, but this has worked pretty well for us in the past:

Week 1: 25 emails/day
Week 2: 50 emails/day
Week 3: 75 emails/day
Week 4: 100 emails/day

Just keep increasing daily volume by about 5 emails per day, and keep a close eye on your reply rate and deliverability. This is a great time to test different small batch approaches to find what's working for you.

Again, reply rate is a big deal, so make sure your emails (cold or not) are getting replies.

That's it! You've successfully warmed up your email account and you're sending cold emails that are bringing in new business, strategic partnerships, or whatever your goal may be.

However, as you can see, this manual process can get pretty annoying pretty fast.

I'm happy to tell you, there's a better way:

The Automatic Email Warmup

If you're like me, you want results yesterday.

Warming up your email sender(s) with the automatic method is quicker and less time intensive.

It does come with a cost, depending on how you go about it, but generally the time savings is more than worth it.

There's many services out there with varying service levels and pricing. I'll be focusing on the ones that I've tried personally and that have worked well for our clients:

Email Warmup with ProspectingToolkit

After using a ton of different services over the years, we got fed up with the high costs and isolated solutions (do we really need another service just to warm up emails?).

We went ahead and built this feature into our lead generation software and made sure that businesses of all sizes could build unlimited email lists, automate cold email campaigns, and warm up email addresses all in one app.

This is how you warm up your email account with ProspectingToolkit:

1. Sign Up and Create Your Account

Head to app.prospectingtoolkit.com and sign up. Verify your email and login to take the next steps.

2. Go to Campaigns in the top menu bar
Go to campaigns in ProspectingToolkit
Head to My Email Campaigns to get into the Campaigns tool.

3. Go to Email Senders (SMTP)
Go to Email Senders (SMTP) in ProspectingToolkit
Once you're there, click "Connect a SMTP (sender)", which will launch a popup.

4. Configure Your Email Sender (SMTP)
Configure your email sender (SMTP)
This will be different depending on the ESP and SMTP settings you're trying to connect.

Here are some popular settings:

For Gmail / Google Workspace:

Before connecting:

To connect to Gmail via IMAP or SMTP, first follow the instructions below
Enable Gmail IMAP View more
Open Gmail, click settings in the top right.
Click settings on the dropdown menu.
Click the Forwarding and POP / IMAP tab.
In the "IMAP access" section, select Enable IMAP.
Click Save changes.
Turn on "Less secure app access"

Browse to https://myaccount.google.com/lesssecureapps
Check the account selector icon on the top right of the page to make sure it's the right Gmail account.
Click Allow less secure apps on the switch.
Go on this page (and check the account selector icon on the top right of the page to make sure it's the right Gmail account) and click on 'continue' https://accounts.google.com/b/0/DisplayUnlockCaptcha

SMTP settings:

SMTP Username: your email
SMTP Host: smtp.gmail.com
SMTP Port: 465
SMTP Password: your password or an app password if you have a security by mobile when log in.
Type of authentication: Normal
Force SSL or TLS: SSL

IMAP settings:
IMAP Host: imap.gmail.com
IMAP Port: 993
IMAP Username: your email
IMAP Password: your password or an app password if you have a security by mobile when log in.

For Outlook:

SMTP settings:

SMTP Username: your email
SMTP Host: smtp-mail.outlook.com
SMTP Port: 465
SMTP Password: your password or an app password if you have a security by mobile when log in.
Type of authentication: Normal
Force SSL or TLS: SSL

IMAP settings:
IMAP Host: imap-mail.outlook.com
IMAP Port: 993
IMAP Username: your email
IMAP Password: your password or an app password if you have a security by mobile when log in.

For Office 365:

SMTP settings:

SMTP Username: your email
SMTP Host: smtp.office365.com
SMTP Port: 465
SMTP Password: your password or an app password if you have a security by mobile when log in.
Type of authentication: Normal
Force SSL or TLS: SSL

IMAP settings:
IMAP Host: outlook.office365.com
IMAP Port: 993
IMAP Username: your email
IMAP Password: your password or an app password if you have a security by mobile when log in.

5. Start Your Email Warm Up
Start your automatic email warm up
Click the "Warm up the deliverability" button to start warming up your email account.

6. Configure Your Email Warm Up Settings
Configure the volume and frequency of your email warmup
Configure how many warm up emails you'd like to send per day, and the amount to increase per day.

The maximum is 45 emails per day to send, not including replies. We recommend adding 2 more emails per day to get up to your maximum sending volume.

6. Set Your Daily Cold Email Sending Volume
Set your cold email daily limit
Configure and turn on your cold email warm up
And, finally, set your daily cold email sending limits. This is how many cold emails you'd like send per day, and how many email sends you'd like to increase by daily.

Check the box, click update, and you're good to go!

Your email is being automatically warmed up.

Give it a few days and start your cold email campaigns at low volume, test to find what works, and double down on great reply rates and warm, perfect-fit leads!

Advantages to ProspectingToolkit's Email Warm Up Tool

1. Unlimited Email Senders

Other tools limit you to one email address. We allow you to add unlimited email senders, and unlimited email warmups on our Unlimited plan.

This will save you a ton of money vs. our competitors.

2. Everything in One App

When you have a service for sending, a service for list building, a service for email warmup - things really start to add up!

With ProspectingToolkit, everything you need, from prospecting to sending to the technical details like email warmups, is all in one app, at one low flat rate.

Other Warm Up Solutions

Of course, if you'd like to spend more money and have a bunch of different softwares handling different things, I won't stop you.

There are great solutions out there that are worth mentioning.

WarmupInbox
$9 per month per inbox and does a smooth auto warmup.

MailWarm
A fairly high priced solution that allows for more bulk warm up actions for situations with higher sending volume.

Bottom Line

Email warm up can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Again, if you've got time, the manual way will definitely work. If you're a pro with a budget on a time crunch, then the automatic way is more reliable, faster, and lasts longer to make sure deliverability is as high as it can be.

No use sending emails that end up in SPAM right?

We've worked tirelessly to make sure that businesses, recruiters, and sales reps can maximize the use of their time to only focus on the highest value activities.
Pro Tip: Start your 7-day free trial of ProspectingToolkit now!
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