Warming up emails for higher success rates with outreach

Warming up emails for higher success rates with outreach

Cold outreach is a great place to create important connections, start conversations and contribute to email marketing strategies. There are many benefits to cold emailing, not least raising your brand awareness, which could lead to new leads/revenue and initiating conversations online.

When it comes to email marketing campaigns and cold outreach, the priority should be quality over quantity. Be specific with your targeting, and create quality connections.

Warming emails are even more important when focusing on quality, as you want to ensure that your emails are landing in inboxes rather than spam folders, and, most importantly, are being opened by your key contacts.

In this article, we will highlight:

  • The importance of warming up email addresses before starting any email marketing
  • Share five strategies to help you warm up your email account
  • How to achieve a higher success rate with your campaigns

What are warming up emails?

Warming Up Emails are emails sent ahead of cold outreach or before a campaign begins. They are all about building the reputation and credibility of the new email account you are using, or maintaining authority for not yet established campaigns.

Warm-up emailing involves sending multiple emails (manually) from the new account, but not all in one go. For successful warming emails, you should aim to start small, and gradually increase the number of emails you send each day.

Why is warming emails so important?

Ever wondered why your open rate on emails is a little lower than expected? It’s probably got a lot to do with many of your emails landing in the junk folder.

Unsolicited emails, with potentially ‘salesy’ wording, containing links in the text are triggers for spam filters, especially from new, cold email accounts. However, when you send warm-up emails, you are growing the email address’ trust, and are less likely to be flagged as spam by the recipient’s email provider.

This enhances the chances of your email landing in the prime location – your contact’s inbox.

When you spend time sending warming emails, you are giving the email providers a chance to find, assess and recognise your email as a trusted sender.

This ‘normal’ activity prior to beginning an outreach campaign builds up the authority of the address, which plays a big role in the filters that trigger an email service provider into thinking an unsolicited email should be flagged as spam.

Four steps to start warming your email account

In essence, warming up emails is about teaching email service providers and spam filters that you’re real. Spam emails are a pain, and email service providers today are pretty good at detecting the bad stuff.

To try and keep a lid on just how many unwanted emails an account receives, there are certain barriers to entry that a sender must achieve. Naturally, most people have one or two email accounts and use them to email companies, colleagues and friends. This is unlikely to be a huge volume, and is very often likely to receive a reply (potentially a chain).

Unnatural activity would be a brand new email account sending thousands of emails immediately, without reply and triggering all of the spam filters.

Google states in their account policy “To keep systems healthy and accounts safe, Google limits the number of Gmail messages users can send per day, and the number of recipients per message.”

So, let’s take a look at a few ways you can warm up your cold emails today…

Setup your profile

The first place to start is obviously with creating your new account. Choose a sensible name (nothing controversial), and be sure to properly complete the profile:

  • Add a profile picture
  • Update your name & contact information
  • Add an email signature

Email service providers, and the recipients themselves (if you get that far), are more likely to mark your emails as spam if you don’t have a profile set up.

All of these steps are strong trust signals that will help build trust with the email service provider, and the recipients for your email outreach.

Manual, low volume sending

Start your warming process by manually emailing 10 contacts that you already have a relationship with. This is to ensure that you will receive (real) replies and an email thread will be created. Consistent engagement is key for warming emails and building trust with email service providers.

Though time consuming and slightly tedious, this is vital to building the trust needed to sneak past spam filters. Think of it like taking your new email account to the gym. It’s a slog, but the results will pay dividends in around 12 weeks time.

Try to send manual emails to targeted individuals rather than using templates, as obviously this is more realistic. Be natural, address them by name and have real conversations – and be sure to diversify the contents of your email.

Authenticate your account

Authenticate your email by setting up DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). It’s a free verification system that was introduced to help users be more trustworthy and was designed to protect users from phishing scams and spoofing email domains.

Please note: If you’re using Gmail then DMARC is already set up for you.

Sign up to newsletters

Subscribe to 15-20 newsletters. Select topically relevant newsletters in areas you’re interested in and that are respected / popular in the industry. Check out Mention’s list of marketing newsletters worth subscribing to for example.

Consistently receiving emails from outside service providers will help validate your email account and will increase the email ratio from incoming vs. outgoing. All newsletters require an email confirmation, which further validates your email address and shows that you’re an active user – rather than a spammer or robot.

After the recommended 12-14 week warm-up period, if you decide you no longer want to receive all of the newsletters, you can of course quickly and efficiently unsubscribe, but it is wise to keep a core of the useful ones.

Five strategies for higher success with your email campaign


Be a people’s person

It is important to humanise your outreach. Just like it is important to personalise each email (more on that below), it is as important to make sure that you add personality to your emails. This can be in the form of adding a profile picture, which could be a company logo, actual photograph / stock image.

Gravatar Screenshot

Similarly, the actual email address and account information will highlight if it is a person, or a face-less account. As we’ve previously mentioned (in ‘Setup your Gmail Profile’ above), attributing a name to the account, real or pen-name, so that the sender will appear as a name rather than a company, will also help to build relationships and avoid spam folders.

Sign offs are equally important. Adding an email signature with details of your name, position and contact details will create more authenticity and improve chances of building a relationship, as recipients will relate to you more than a generic email with no personal details.

Unsubscribe option

Although this may seem counter-productive, in actual fact, adding in an unsubscribe link to your cold emails and warm-ups can help to negate future unsubscribes from impacting the results of your newsletters.

By offering the option to unsubscribe ahead of a campaign, those who have opened your email and chosen to stay subscribed, it’s likely that they will also open your next email. An unsubscribe button also means they are less likely to flag your email address as spam.

Designed for success

Consider the visual appeal of your email and remind yourself of the basics of email design. If you’re sending an email newsletter as part of your marketing strategy, create a template that uses strong imagery, but isn’t too busy with pictures or GIFs. Highlight any calls to action (CTA) as clearly as possible.

But, remember to customise each email you send. While templates will mean you include any important information and keep your emails on-brand, ensure that you are tailoring emails to your target audience effectively.

Choose your words wisely

Make sure that your emails aren’t too long, but also contain enough information about your proposal or campaign. Ensure that your emails aren’t generic, and all information included is up-to-date.

Avoid using ‘spam-triggering’ keywords in both subject lines and in the main body of your email. That means not using overly ‘salesy’ jargon that may mean email service providers think your email is spam. This includes repeated phrases, lots of exclamation marks and colloquialisms like ‘text talk’.

Top tips for email warm up

  • Use Chrome Extensions to find and validate email addresses
  • Don’t send PDFs in the first email to a new contact
  • Avoid including links in the first email to a new contact
  • Try to email different domains when warming up, for example @gmail @hotmail @hive19.co.uk
  • Don’t use cliche spam words in the title or intro “free” “sign up”
  • Reply to anyone who messages you and encourage the email chain
  • Action any unsubscribe requests immediately. Never mail them again.
  • Growing your list means refining it. Don’t keep too much data.

Final thoughts

Cold outreach can really benefit from warming up email accounts in advance. Instead of sending templates to a list of contacts from a brand new address, go back to basics, and send individual, personalised emails from an account that is attributed to a real person. This will establish you as an authentic source, and reduce the volume of your emails ending up in spam folders.

It can seem like a laborious process, and even quite difficult to plan who to email and what to say – but the success of your email campaign depends on your target audience actually viewing your email content. Doing all that you can to avoid the spam folder blocking any progress is an essential part of the process.

If you need help understanding more about warming up emails for better outreach – contact us today to find our more about our services.



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Maxine Bremner

Head of Content & Outreach

Maxine is the content marketing specialist at Hive19, and manages the digital PR strategy for clients

Meet Maxine
Email Maxine

Maxine is Head of Content & Outreach

and is the content marketing specialist at Hive19, and manages the digital PR strategy for clients