The ramp-up is the step of the onboarding which is dedicated to ensuring that the email send-outs will have a good deliverability level. The purpose is to warm up the domain and IPs to achieve a good and stable reputation and, hence, delivery. A ramp-up is a matter of volume and if done correctly with the right contacts, it will impact positively the reputation but is it not the real objective. This article outlines some best practices and prerequisites that you should follow when doing your ramp-up plan.
- Ramp-up prerequisites
- Non-mandatory requisites
- Best practices
- Useful resources to go further
Ramp up prerequisites
Below are the MANDATORY requisites you must follow when completing your ramp-up plan:
📢 You must have the last date of activity
This is the last click date, last open date, and subscription date for every contact.
Why? Only the most active contacts must be targeted during a ramp-up, to show the MBP (Mail Box Provier) that recipients are reacting positively.
📢 You must have enough volumes
If you have under 50K of data, a ramp-up might not be necessary. But it depends on your database quality and user engagement.
Why? Using shared IPs and a bit of monitoring are likely to be enough for small volumes. You can also use the submission speed option in Scenario to apply a limit of the number of emails sent per hour.
📢You must have your DNS records set up (SPF, MX, DKIM...)
Why? Because MBPs are asking for authentication based on DNS records.
📢You must list the countries where recipients come from and the number of recipients for each.
Why? Because it gives us a good idea of what MBPs are in the database, and what volume is expected for each.
📢 You must have a 30-day history
This means the number of emails sent, per day, for 30 consecutive days.
Why? To see the usual volumes, days of sending, and peaks, how many and which IPs should be used…It will also help us estimate the duration of the ramp-up and the strategy to adopt.
📢 The ramp-up file must be properly filled and on time
Why? This information is necessary to build the ramp-up plan, so it cannot be started before all mandatory information is provided. You must define a goal regarding the frequency and the volume around which the ramp-up plan will be created. Here's an example of the expected volume evolution:
Some other prerequisites are non-mandatory such as:
An existing sending domain
Keep using the same sending domain which is already in use to benefit from its history, if its reputation is good
Starting to use a new domain requires building its reputation from scratch and that takes more time.
You must provide volumes, frequency, and type of automatic campaigns or triggers.
Such automated campaigns can be a good way to warm up the IPs. Here we would use shared, warm IPs and the aim is more about ramping the sending domain up, than the IPs.
Requirement for dedicated IPs
Is it mandatory to use dedicated IPs from the beginning?
Warming up new dedicated IPs is more delicate than using shared IPs. We usually recommend starting in a shared pool but in some cases where a dedicated pool may be mandatory. Validity certification (formerly Return Path) requires dedicated IPs.
Here are some best practices that you should follow when completing a ramp-up plan:
✅ Do use active contacts and newcomers
We recommend starting with the most active contacts (one-month openers/clickers), for maximum relevance. Then you can continue with less active contacts.
Inactives (6 months with no reactivity) must not be targeted during the ramp-up. Once all the "active" contacts have been targeted, we consider that the ramp-up is over but there may be a need for an additional strategy to contact the remaining contacts. You can find more information on inactive reactivation in this article.
✅ Do monitor the deliverability KPIs
Check on a daily basis the bounces, the SMTP replies, the open rates and their evolution over time. Increasing volumes and speed when the lights are red is counter-productive.
✅ Do adapt as rules change over time
Volumes, frequencies, and strategies change over time, for each MBP.
Each MBP has its own requirements, but a smart calculation of volumes and speeds can make those compatible and avoid complex operations: this is about not making things over-complicated.
Adapting the plan may be useful for unexpected issues, such as bounces…your plan should be flexible because problems may occur, so it is important to keep some margin.
On the other hand, you should not...
❌ Try to speed up the plan
MBP take time to assess a sender’s reputation because they can have more data to rely on this way. It can take a few days to have visibility on the metrics, and therefore to continue as planned or to adapt the schedule.
❌ Switch vendors in a critical business period
MBP don’t like change because they need to review it. When switching CRM's, chances are that at least DNS set up and IP addresses will change. That will put the sending under scrutiny and probably interfere with the ability to deliver large volumes of emails.
There could not be a worse time to receive pressure for reaching sales objectives!
❌ Plan your ramp-up around critical dates
Avoid Black Friday and other sales periods to do your ramp-up!