How to Develop and Execute an Email Ramp Strategy

Anshul Sharma
Email Marketing

What Is an Email Ramp?

An email ramp (or warm up) is a common deliverability best practice that involves sending to a small segment of your most engaged users and then gradually increasing the volume with each subsequent send. Whether you are adding a dedicated IP or switching to a new dedicated IP, we highly recommend an email ramp to maintain or improve email deliverability and ensure consistent inboxing.

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While each ISP has their own nuances and algorithms that determine the sending volume a new IP should begin with, there’s a general range that we can apply when sending to most ISP domains. But before we get into that, let’s quickly take a step back to better understand the importance of email ramps and how to implement a successful strategy.

How Email Ramps Help Email Deliverability

The likelihood of your emails being delivered and landing in your target inboxes depends on your reputation with the respective ISP. Generally speaking, there are two arbiters of email reputation: domain and IP. Depending on which ISP you’re sending to, there will be several variables that help or hurt your email reputation. By following best practices, however, you’ll improve your email reputation and successfully deliver your emails to the inbox.

Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll have to go above and beyond to establish a good email reputation from the get-go. Making use of a fresh new IP would definitely qualify as one of these instances. It’s the email deliverability equivalent of putting your best foot forward when trying to make a good first impression. Some of the main factors that universally impact your IP reputation include:

  • Send volume
  • Send frequency
  • User engagement
  • Quality of data

Simply opening the floodgates and sending from new IPs with a regular cadence and similar behavior won’t necessarily translate into good email deliverability — even if you are following best practices and are enjoying fairly consistent inboxing. You will need to build your IP reputation over time in order for ISP algorithms to view you as a strong sender. By following a measured approach, you can avoid spam filtering and minimize bounce rates.

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An example of an email ramp plan might look like this:

Email Ramp 1

In addition to gradually increasing sending volume, you should also send to only the most engaged users as you ramp up.

Gmail Is the Exception to the Rule

As I mentioned above, every ISP has its own set of criteria and rules regarding how many messages should be mailed and to which recipients. In general, these criteria are similar enough that a sender could use a blanket approach as shown in the example above. 

Gmail, however, is usually more aggressive with volume constraints during the initial email ramp phase. To put yourself in the best position to succeed when ramping up with Gmail, you should be more conservative and limit sending volume to build your email reputation more quickly.

An example of an email ramp plan with Gmail isolated might look like this:

Email Ramp 2

Final Tips on Email Ramps

  • Not all senders are the same. And neither are all email ramps. Contact a team of deliverability experts to help you craft and implement a good email ramp strategy. Act-On’s email deliverability team can provide a manual plan based on your program or institute an automated solution. 
  • Good things come to those who wait. By definition, an email ramp plan involves starting slow and gradually building up over time. While it’s tempting to send to your entire audience right away, you should start smart for consistent and prolonged success in the future.
  • Keep your eyes peeled. Email ramps are rarely perfect, and you’re bound to run into some challenges along the way. So it’s important to monitor performance early and often so that you can distinguish between normal hiccups and larger issues.

Want to learn more? Reach out to our email deliverability team today for the full scoop on email ramp best practices and strategies. Or, if you’d like to learn more about the Act-On growth marketing automation platform, please click here to book a demo with one of our marketing automation experts.

The Amazingly Effective Email Marketing Automation Guide