Just Shipped: Automated IP and Domain Warmup Feature

If we’ve learned anything while helping customers migrate from their previous email provider, it’s that switching to a new ESP is time-consuming, stressful, and often just plain difficult. From downloading CSVs, figuring out if there’s a way to carry over engagement history, and making sure unsubscribes and suppression lists are imported, there are an overwhelming amount of things to juggle. Usually this headache is left to one or two people on a dedicated email marketing team, making it even harder.

Since there’s already so much going on, we’ve seen a pattern of customers forgetting a huge piece that’s necessary for success when sending emails with a new ESP: proper domain warmup. Over and over again, new customers send to their full list (often in the hundreds of thousands) without considering the ramp up behavior that signals to ISPs (think: Gmail, Outlook) that they can trust you.

What does setting up a new domain and emailing thousands of subscribers look like to ISPs? Spam. What does this do to your sending reputation? Tanks it.

At Hive, making this process easier and less stressful for everyone is a problem we’re excited to solve.

Related: IP Warmup: Why and How You Should Do It

This post details the ideal ramp process and how Hive’s new automated IP and domain warmup feature helps you achieve it.

Ideal IP and Domain Warmup

The ideal ramp for your new domain and IP pairing includes a first send in the range of 2,000 to 5,000 recipients that gets great engagement (read: good content sent to engaged subscribers). After the first send, you should increase volume over time, sending campaigns at a regular cadence and continuing to prioritize good engagement.

At Hive, we’ve found it works well to start with a send of 2,500 recipients, doubling the volume for each send from there. One caveat: we occasionally drop that down to increases of 1.5x once the send volumes cross 30,000 recipients, to be safe. This is especially important if engagement on your first few sends drops to below 20% opens (e.g. moving instead from 30,000 recipients to 45,000 to 67,000, etc.).

What does prioritizing engagement mean? You need to find a way to qualify all of your subscribers by likelihood to open, and send to the most engaged group possible for each of these warm up sends, for as long as possible. A good strategy is to send to recipients who’ve recently opened or clicked on emails sent through your old ESP.

This probably leads you to your next question: How do you do this when you need to send emails to your entire list?

It usually shakes out to running two ESPs until you’ve fully ramped your new domain in your new ESP, at which point you can drop the old one.

A lot of the time, you want to leave your former ESP asap, as to not deal with building a ton of segments, exporting them, then re-importing them into your new ESP, all while incurring duplicate costs during the warmup period. We worked through this process with customers a few times before deciding that we needed to make it easier.

Automated IP and Domain Warmup Feature

Hive’s automated IP and domain warmup feature lets you send increasing email volume to warm your new subdomain while sending the remainder off of a shared @mail.hive.co domain that already has a reputation built.

How It Works

For your first send with Hive, we separate out your most engaged 2,500 subscribers and send to them from your new subdomain. This is your first signal to ISPs that your brand is sending off a new subdomain (and doing it right!).

Without lifting a finger, the rest of your email volume (whether it’s 30,000 or 300,000) will be sent off Hive’s shared domains (@mail-1.hive.co, @mail-2.hive.co, etc.). These domains have a sending reputation built over the past 5 years through regular email volume sent by Hive customers. Bonus: you’re still able to set your ‘From’ name so branding is consistent.

From every send there on out, Hive will automatically split up your campaign to send to the correct volume to continue warming up your subdomain, and the rest over shared domains. Once your subdomain is warm and ready to go, all of your volume will automatically send from it.

The Benefits

Time Saved

When you’ve fully onboarded to a new ESP–exported CSVs, imported segments and engagement history, flagged unsubscribes, moved over your email templates–the last thing you have time for is to export more lists and send campaigns from two ESPs. With Hive’s automated IP and domain warmup feature, you get the delivery benefits of a correct warmup process, without any of the complications.

No Interruptions

Without the option to send from shared domains, you’re left with the choice of improperly warming up your new subdomain and tanking your sending reputation, or not emailing your entire list. When your content calendar is time sensitive (from pre-sales to limited-time promotions), you can’t afford to skip those emails. Using the automated IP and domain warmup feature, you can continue sending on your normal schedule with no hiccups.

Protected Sending Reputation

The last, but probably most important benefit, is what this correct warmup will do for your sending reputation long-term. Correct warmup sets you up for consistent engagement on your emails over time - you’ll keep landing in the inbox and avoiding the spam folder. Huge plus: you won’t hit the blacklists you may have landed on by blasting your list on a new subdomain.

Related: How to Improve Your Sending Reputation

Wrap Up

We’re pumped that this feature is out in the wild and already helping new customers properly warm up subdomains with minimal effort. If you’re considering switching ESPs and want to chat more about how Hive’s automated IP and domain warmup feature could work for your brand, get in touch: hello@hive.co