If you're using your own software to send out marketing emails, it's a great idea to warm up your IP address first.

Failure to do so and you might find yourself on the dreaded "black list." That means email service providers will view your IP as an origin for spam.

When that happens, you can be sure that far fewer people will see your email messages than you had intended.

In this article, we'll go over why it's important to warm up your IP address and explain what you need to do to establish a reputation in good standing as an email marketer.

The War on Spam

There's a war on spam. If you don't prepare your IP address, you could be a casualty.

Yes, that can happen even if you aren't technically a spammer.

When you start using new email marketing software, you're going to set it up on a server that's connected to the Internet. That server, like any other online server, will have its own IP address.

At first, that IP address probably has no "reputation." That means when email service providers receive an email originating from that IP, they aren't sure whether they should treat the email as spam or not.

That's why they collect statistics. If providers find that an unusually high number of emails are coming in from the IP address over a short period of time, they'll probably flag it as a spammer.

When that happens, you can kiss your email marketing efforts goodbye. Your emails will probably get blocked or go into a spam folder where people will hardly ever see them.

Fortunately, you can get around all of that by warming up your IP address.

"Warm up" an IP Address?

What does it mean to "warm up" an IP address? It's fairly simple, really.

Just start by sending only a few emails. Then, over the next several days, send out more and more emails.

During that process, email service providers will not only take not of how many (or how few) emails are coming from your IP, but also how users are responding to them.

If providers see that users are opening your emails and clicking links on them, you'll likely get whitelisted in fairly short order. Then, you'll be able to send email blasts without worrying about earning a reputation as a spammer.

During the warm-up process, you'll still need to follow email marketing best-practices. Otherwise, you're going to get blacklisted no matter how few emails you send.

Sometimes, You Might Not Need to Warm up Your IP Address

If you're using a popular autoresponder, you probably won't need to warm up your IP address at all.

Why? Because in that case you're not using your IP address. You're using the IP address of the autoresponder. That IP address has, in all likelihood, already been through a warm-up period.

So if you're happy to use AWeber, MailChimp, GetResponse, or one of the other popular options as your autoresponder of choice, you can almost certainly skip the usual warm-up period. It's best to check with the service first, though, just to be sure.

If you're using your own software to blast out emails from a server that you set up, then you'll need to follow the warm-up process.

How to Warm up Your IP Address

When it comes time to warm up your IP address, you can follow one of two methods.

First, you can warm it up manually. That process, briefly described earlier, involves sending just a few emails at first and then gradually building up the number of emails you send every day.

Here's the warm-up schedule that you should follow:

Day 1 - 50 emails

Day 2 - 100 emails

Day 3 - 500 emails

Day 4 - 1,000 emails

Day 5 - 5,000 emails

Day 6 - 10,000 emails

Day 7 - 20,000 emails

Day 8 - 40,000 emails

Day 9 - 70,000 emails

Day 10 - 100,000 emails

If you need to send more than 100,000 emails (lucky you), you should follow the chart here for a longer schedule. At that same link, you'll also find another chart that tells you how many IP addresses you should be using based on the number of daily emails you're sending out.

Each IP address should have its own warm-up schedule.

The other option for warming up your IP address is to use a service that warms it up for you. SendGrid is a service that offers a couple of options when it comes to warming up an IP.

First, you can use the front-end to set up an automated warm-up schedule. That makes your life easy because you can "set it and forget it."

The other option is to use the API to set up an automated warm-up schedule. You'll probably need to enlist the aid of a developer if you go that route, though.

Wrapping It Up

Don't let your email marketing fall flat because you failed to warm up your IP address. Instead, invest the little bit of time and effort necessary to make sure that you establish a great reputation with the various email service providers.