Warming Up Email Domain: Who Needs It and How to Do It

Warming Up Email Domain: Who Needs It and How to Do It

Every action that differs from the predictive pattern makes mail providers pretty worried. So if you move to a new domain and start sending out thousands of emails, mail providers may mark your emails as spam. Your reputation will be damaged and it’ll be very difficult to recover. To prevent this from happening, you should warm up your email domain first. 

Who Needs to Warm Up Their Email Domain

You may need to warm up your email domain in several cases:

  1. You’ve decided to found a new company and set up an email domain. All new domains are considered unreliable, so you need to work hard to gain mail providers’ trust. 
  2. You’ve changed your brand’s name and want to create an email domain that will match it. The reasoning here is the same: if your domain has no sending history, you should warm it up first. 
  3. Your email domain is not new, but you haven’t used it for mass mailing. Again, if you don’t have a reliable sending history, don’t start with a large number of emails. 
  4. You want to migrate from one ESP (Email Sending Platform) to another one. In case you bring a big customer database to a new account, you also need to start slow and warm up your email domain. 

See the pattern here? Every time you doubt your domain reputation is high enough, warm up the domain first. 

What Does “Warming Up Email Domain” Mean

When you warm up an email domain, you send out emails in small portions gradually increasing their number. In other words, you replicate the natural growth of the database. 

If you don’t warm up your email domain before using it at full capacity, mail providers are likely to greylist your emails or send them to the spam folder. That’s because this type of behavior is too similar to what spammers usually do: they buy a subscriber database and send an email to the users. A couple of days ago they had no sending history, and today they have sent several thousand emails. Sending platforms aren’t going to figure out whether you’ve moved from one platform to another or bought a database: your emails will end up in spam.

How to Warm Up Your Email Domain

What You Should Do Beforehand

If you want to succeed in warming up your email domain, you should be well prepared. Let’s take a look at some steps that will make this process easier.

Step 1. Set up authentication methods

This step is almost the same as when you create and set up a unique email domain. The most essential authentication methods include SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. They help to protect your email domain from various cyber threats: phishing, spam attacks, etc.

Authentication Methods used by mail servers: SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

Step 2. Set up postmaster tools 

A postmaster is a tool that allows you to analyze the performance of your email campaigns. Most popular mail providers have their own postmasters: for example, Gmail, Microsoft, and Yahoo postmaster tools. 

These tools are vital because they help you monitor your domain reputation, spam score, and other important metrics.

Step 3. Gather up your most loyal clients

Warming up an email domain is a tricky process since you need to remove any barrier possible from your way to a good domain reputation. 

That’s why you should start sending out emails to those clients who are less likely to mark them as spam. In terms of customer journey stages, we would advise you to aim at loyal customers and brand advocates (the second one is even better).

If you don’t have loyal clients at all, you may send the email to some of your friends first and ask them to interact with the email somehow. This will let mail providers understand that your emails can be trusted.

Step 4. Create your first email

This step is also vital because you need to make sure that subscribers won’t put your email into spam. So it’s better to avoid warming up your email domain by using highly promotional emails. 

Make an email valuable for the readers: add a discount coupon and high-quality content. An unsubscribe link is also a must, otherwise, users may mark your email as spam. It will damage your domain reputation and may result in even more spam complaints in the future.

A good first email may look like this:

An example of a neutral email with a special offer by Packlane.

Warming Up Process

The best way is to start with several dozen active subscribers and gradually increase the number of recipients. You can double the number of recipients every few days but don’t try to rush things. 

Here’s an approximate schedule for warming up an email domain made by Litmus:

A weekly schedule for warming up of an email domain by Litmus.

The exact number of emails you should send depends on the number of subscribers you have. But if you start sending out hundreds of emails from the very first day, mail providers are likely to find it suspicious. 

The most important thing here is to constantly monitor your overall performance and be ready to slow down the process if something goes wrong. 

How Long Does Warming Up Email Domain Take

The duration of the process depends on the size of the database and can take up to several weeks. Unfortunately, if that’s your first email domain, you can do nothing but patiently wait till your domain is ready for mass mailing. 

However, if you’re migrating from one sending platform to another, everything is a bit simpler. You can use your old ESP to send promotional emails to all of your subscribers. And use the new platform to send a different email across the same subscribers (but in small portions). This method is helpful when you have a big subscriber database and don’t want to disrupt the process of communication. 


Warming up an email domain is a very important process when it comes to using email domains that have no sending history for mass mailing. The idea is pretty simple: you divide your subscribers into portions and start small, gradually increasing the number of emails you send.

This process may be pretty long but warming up your email domain is a must if you don’t want to ruin your domain reputation. 

Make sure to check all the necessary details before you start warming up your email domain:

  1. Set up authentication methods;
  2. Set up postmaster tools;
  3. Gather up your most loyal clients;
  4. Create a high-quality first email.

A little bit of patience and your email domain will start working at full capacity!

EmailSoldiers Team
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