Deliverability in your first 30 days

Moving to a new email provider is sort of like changing your domain name and losing your Google rankings for SEO. It doesn't always happen, but you may see a drop in deliverability. There are steps you can take to ease this transition with link redirects, but the reputation you had previously established with your old domain name will need to be rebuilt.

Following the suggestions in the article, you can re-establish your sender reputation and your engagement should return to normal quickly. Most companies find that, following the steps in this guide, their deliverability is as good, or even better, with ActiveCampaign.

What to expect

Temporarily Lower Open Rates

It's natural to see a temporary decline in deliverability, which may lead to lower open rates. This is because new senders can't be trusted yet, and so you are more likely to see some messages put in the spam folder. This will happen when moving to any email provider.

You shouldn't expect to see the same open rates you were earning with your previous provider. It will take at least 30 days of regular sending for your engagement statistics like opens and clicks to level out — sometimes even longer if you aren't sending frequently.

Most common mistakes

Reactivating non-engaged contacts

The most common mistake is transferring your data incorrectly so that unsubscribes are reactivated or unengaged contacts are suddenly mixed back into your core lists. Be extra careful that all of your data is accurately and seamlessly transferred from your old provider to ActiveCampaign. We have fantastic migration guides to walk you through this process.

Sending too fast

The second most common mistake is to send too much email too fast. As a new sender, ISPs like Outlook have strict limits on how many messages you send per day. At the start, they only permit a few thousand a day from a "new sender." If you start sending tens of thousands of messages a day to Outlook you will crush your sending reputation.

It's very important to ease into sending so that you can properly establish your reputation as a good sender.

How to warm up your sending

Determine your contact list size

If your list is smaller than 50,000 contacts the rest of the plan is very simple. In your first 1-2 weeks with ActiveCampaign, only send to your most engaged contacts. After this, you can start sending to everyone.

If your list is larger than 50,000, you need to be much more cautious, especially if the list is heavily weighted with addresses at one ISP like Outlook. This is a textbook 30-day warmup plan that most senders can follow, but your Customer Success Managers can help you create a custom plan if necessary:

  • Week 1: 25,000 per day
  • Week 2: 50,000 per day
  • Week 3: 75,000 per day
  • Week 4: 100,000 messages per day
  • Week 5: full list

Send to your most engaged contacts

The most important thing is to put your best foot forward by initially sending only to your most engaged contacts — those that have recently opened or purchased in the past 30, 60, or 90 days. Yes, this does mean sending less messages initially, but this is very important for establishing a long-term reputation.

By starting with only your best lists you can inflate your open rate and really exhibit that your mail is wanted. This also guarantees that you won't be sending to any cold, inactive addresses which is detrimental to your reputation.

How to perform an aggressive warm-up

Although not recommended, we understand that businesses sometimes require a faster warm-up period. Close monitoring of your warm-up is important. This will ensure that you aren’t warming up too fast and will help you determine when to increase the volume for your next send.

Here are some metrics to keep an eye on:

  • Spikes in spam complaints
  • High bounces (could be indicative of throttling)
  • Spikes in unsubscribes
  • Low open rates

If you do experience deliverability problems during an agressive warm-up period, here's what you can do:

  • Pause your sending and go back to the previous send’s volume. This will allow spam filters to adjust to the new IP
  • Stop sending to mailbox providers that throttled your sends. Scale back sends to this provider until the issue is resolved
  • Ensure that you have not sent to a suppressed list, the full list, or a large amount of un-engaged contacts

Here is an example of an aggressive warm-up period:

  • Day 1: 50 contacts
  • Day 2: 500 contacts
  • Day 3: 5,000 contacts
  • Day 4: 50,000 contacts
  • Day 5: 500,000 contacts

The approach outlined above will only succeed for the most reputable senders and those who have the  most engaged recipients.

Extra pointers

For those who want to take every necessary precaution, these are some extra pointers:

  • Use the same domain name as before as your “sent from” email address
  • If you have 10 minutes to spare, setup DKIM and SPF. This is not necessary, but can help ease the transition
  • Keep a consistent brand (design, name, etc). No need to risk confusing any recipients, which leads to complaints
  • Don't introduce any new lists

In conclusion, transitioning to a new provider can create a lot of uncertainty. It's important to realize that a dip in performance is natural. However, this will naturally correct itself if you follow the best practices above and send good content to good lists.

Learn more about maintaining good deliverability when migrating to ActiveCampaign.

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