12.07.20154 min read

How to Warm Up a Cold Email List

by Sarah Connolly

Regularity is an extremely important aspect of your email marketing program. Once you establish a relationship, (aka permission to send email to a recipient), it’s imperative to maintain consistent communication over the subscribers' lifetime. This will help cultivate your relationship and provide useful insights into catering your marketing to your different subscribers/segments.

But what happens if you don’t maintain this regularity over time? There are many reasons that can be attributed to why an email list goes cold, but it is important to remember that when emailing these segments they must be communicated with in a different manner from your active/engaged segments, if at all.

What determines a cold email list?

While this is different for every individual business dependent on your marketing strategy and the expectations set at the time of opt-in, four or more months of no email communication is the timeframe that will deem your list cold.  

You received permission to email months ago and have never sent an email communication 

Unfortunately, this list of email addresses should not be sent any email communication. Failure to communicate with subscribers upon opt-in is similar to getting a love interests’ number and never calling/texting. It’s just bad email etiquette and in a world of immediate response, it will not be received well. 

What can I do to warm up a cold list? 

The first thing to do is commit to maintaining your list going forward and make it a habit, implement a list hygiene plan so contacts never go cold. Next, segment your cold email list by identifying subscribers that can be sent email without major risk (remember the four-month rule while segmenting). Then create a warm-up campaign, get subscribers to engage or confirm their email address. Lastly, monitor metrics and only continue to send email to subscribers that want to hear from your company. Remember that there may be segments that are just too risky to send email to such as addresses that have never been emailed since the original opt in, so use alternative methods to re-engage.

What are some things to do when sending a warm-up campaign?

  • Make it personal
  • Remind them of how they opted in and why they should stay
  • Provide value
  • Follow general email best practices
  • Include a CTA (call-to-action)

Why can’t I send email to this list at any time I want and what if I do?

There are many risks when sending email to cold or unengaged lists, some are higher than others but it will all negatively impact email deliverability.

You will:

  • Hurt your sender reputation
  • Associate your brand/business with bad email etiquette
  • Be considered a spammer
  • Hit a spamtrap
  • Produce high bounce rates
  • Tarnish your relationship with your Email Service Provider
  • Generate spam complaints

What can I do instead of sending email from Infusionsoft to my cold list?

  • A phone call
  • Letter or postcard
  • Push notifications
  • SMS
  • Personal one-off email from your own email client
  • Use social media 
  • Website pop-up (if subscribers login your site)

A cold email list can and should be warmed up through a targeted email campaign within an appropriate timeframe. A cold email list will eventually become too risky to send through your email service provider and alternative methods should be used to engage this segment. This methodology will help your business maintain a favorable sender reputation and keep your list full of engaged subscribers.

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