An old saying goes ”Curiosity killed the cat”. An email outreach saying goes “Pressure killed the domain.". Email marketing is essential for all kinds of businesses, but when it comes to companies that work in the Information Technology industry, it’s typically the main way of finding and nurturing leads that can later be converted into clients. Therefore, if something goes wrong somewhere along the email’s journey, it can affect the entire email domain. And when the entire email domain is affected…it doesn’t look pretty.
Due to the NDA agreement, our client wished to remain anonymous and therefore will be further referred to as The Client.
Based in the United States, The Company used cold outreach as its primary sales channel. Having registered a private domain and opened a multitude of mailboxes, the 45-person-team company wanted to dive into the competitive niche and start attracting more clients. However, after some years of running email campaigns and growing from 2 to 45 mailboxes, they started coming across troubling issues that prompted them to look for assistance.
After a while of relatively steady performance, the client saw a drop in stats: everything, from open rate to delivery rate, was going down at a disturbing speed. With every day, fewer and fewer emails were reaching the intended recipients, disappearing into the void instead. It was clear that all the emails sent by our Client were going to spam folders. However, the client remained clueless about why it kept happening. To look deep into this issue and figure out the best plan of action, the team contacted Folderly.
1. Analyzing the current domain. Our investigation began with an in-depth Folderly domain health analysis. We took a good look at the Client's domain, its Sender Score, relationship with blacklists, and its DNS settings.
Your domain is visible to all email service providers you interact with. Its behavior is closely scrutinized and assessed by all services and spam filters, letting them know whether emails sent by this domain should be allowed to go further or not. So when you realize that your emails go to spam, you must check your domain health as soon as possible.
In our case, the domain health analysis showed that the Client's domain was dead. It had a very low health rate, a negative Sender Score, and a rather poor relationship with spam filters.
It is usually possible to nurse a domain back to health. However, in this particular case, we were unsure of the success, while the client needed to put campaigns back on track. To keep sales going and give our best to the existing domain, we decided to work in two directions: build a completely new domain from scratch and keep working on the old domains.
Domains that have been around for more than a year or two have a good advantage over the freshly created ones. That’s one of many reasons why we suggest that our clients keep polishing their existing domain instead of going to the new one whenever there is a complicated issue
2. Fixing the old domain. We addressed the low Sender Score of the old domain and found out the culprit: it turned out that the client was using the old templates and didn't change them in the course of two years.
The content for cold outreach is incredibly dynamic because it has to adapt to the new demands of email service providers, avoid aggravating spam filters, and prevent spammers from exploiting the template texts. That’s why it’s natural for cold email templates to be updated every once in a while. If you don’t do it, email service providers will start associating your content with spam content and treating it accordingly.
Even though fixing cold templates wasn’t going to solve the entire issue immediately, we rewrote our client's templates to make sure they met all modern requirements. After this, we created a set of templates for warmup campaigns. Those templates were very simple and written according to email sending guidelines and designed to build up the interaction between the sender domain and the recipient domain.
A good domain warm-up can get your domain name out of blacklists, improve your reputation as a sender and give your credibility back. Warm-up campaigns rely on regularity, stability, and the readiness to stick to the sending volumes.
We launched a warm-up campaign for the old domain to try and slowly restore its former performance by showing email service providers that it still belongs to a credible and reliable sender. Having started with a very slow sending volume, we began to gradually increase it.
3. Setting up the new domain. While working on the old domain, we simultaneously started creating the new one, so they could run their email marketing campaigns right here, right now.
We did the routine: registered a domain name, used our Folderly SPF record generator to create an SPF record that was instantly synergetic with all email services and marketing apps that the client worked with.
When you add a new email marketing service, such as MailChimp, it asks you to add your SPF record. Too many beginner senders make the mistake of generating an entirely new record in addition to the already existing one, creating the issue of duplicated SPF records and further complicating their outreach. This is why automated services for generating an SPF record make it much easier to create or edit an existing record.
4. Running warm-up campaigns. To prepare the new domain for email marketing, we built a schedule for sending emails and started warming it up. We sent emails to loyal and friendly contacts, prompting them to mark those incoming emails as Important and respond to them. This allowed us to build a positive dynamic and create a good image for email service providers.
Warm-up must precede every level-up of your email marketing. Added a new mailbox? You warm it up. Created a new subdomain? You warm it up. Email service providers and spam filters are incredibly strict and study your behavior with extreme scrutiny.
Once the performance for all 45 mailboxes looked like that and we were ready to reach the sending volume that was appropriate for email campaigns, the Company was able to get started with email marketing.
5. Progress monitoring. After the launch of the Clinet's email marketing campaigns, we started running domain health tests for both old and new domains to ensure a smooth and steady performance.
- Old domain revived. We were cautiously optimistic when resuscitating the old domain with warm-up campaign. It was a long-time effort but in the end, we were successful at pushing the old domain’s Sender Score back to its former position.
- Doubled reply rate on the new domain. Under our nurturing, the new domain was functional and ready to go. After the client started sending email marketing campaigns, we saw a quick growth and great deliverability stats. For example, the reply rate for the new domain was 50% higher than the reply rate for the old domain. Currently, we keep monitoring our Client results and changing email templates every 2-3 months.
- Steady performance for all mailboxes. With the updated templates, the client got great progress on all 45 mailboxes, while Folderly mailbox analysis tool gave the team a good look into the inner deliverability workings. This made their email marketing campaigns a lot more effective and allowed the client’s team to plan their roadmap in greater detail.
- Your domain’s age is your power. If you have a domain that is more than one year old, you have a solid platform for email marketing. Email service providers respect aged domains and are more likely to trust them. However, you must use this advantage wisely and never ignore warmup campaigns: aged domains aren’t immune to faulty email-sending guidelines.
- Don’t forget to review your templates. Email marketing templates need to be changed every once in a while. Not only does this help you to come up with creative solutions, but this also allows you to get rid of potential spam trigger words and avoid angering spam filters.
- Be ready to back up your campaigns with a new domain. Sometimes, you will need a lot of time to fix the issues with your current domain. Since your campaigns can’t wait that long, you might want to prepare another platform that can take care of email marketing campaigns. A new domain will take a while to warm up, but not as long as it takes for the low-score old domain to get back on track.
- Always check your domain health before checking anything else. Whenever you come across any problems, you must look deep into your domain’s heart and study it for complications. Your Sender Score will always show you how are you doing and the direction you should be taking.