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Why should knowledge entrepreneurs care about email warming?

Category: Marketing

Why should knowledge entrepreneurs care about email warming?
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Read time: 5min

If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “you only get one chance to make a first impression,” that applies to email marketing. Email warming is the process of getting an email domain primed for sending emails to a complete subscriber list in a controlled way and is a crucial first step. 

Your email reputation determines where your marketing campaigns will be delivered - to the inbox, to the spam folder, or to nowhere at all. That reputation is earned over time and it is built on the basis of your sending practices and your recipients’ engagement. Mailbox providers (MBPs) each maintain their own measure of your reputation based on how you follow their specific rules. The best practice is to follow a common set of rules that will keep your reputation pristine with all MBPs.

Step One: Prepare and Import Your Contacts

Before you can start warming up you need to examine your contact list. If you are moving contacts over from another system, make sure that you remove all email addresses that have complained or unsubscribed in the past. Moving to a new email system does not give you new permission to market to these contacts.

Also, remove addresses that have bounced before. They will not suddenly work from a new system. You can use an email validation tool before migration.

It is important to do these things because sending to contacts that you do not have permission to email and sending to addresses that don’t exist will harm your reputation and could lead to a blocklisting.

Step Two: Segment Your Lists

Unless you have fewer than 100 contacts, you do not want to email all of them on day one, so this is a good time to look at your contacts.  The purpose of warming up your email is to show MBPs:

  • that you understand their rules (it sounds harsh, but it’s true); 
  • that you are emailing people who want to receive your email (no bounces, no complaints)
  • to find any problems while still sending in small enough volumes to prevent reputation damage.

Since MBPs use engagement as a primary measure of your sending reputation you should start your warmup with your most engaged contacts. Start by targeting contacts who have been opening and clicking emails in the past 30 days. Next expand to contacts who have logged in, purchased, or registered in the past 60 days.  Finally expand to include the rest of your contacts.

Step Three: Start Sending

Now that you have analyzed and segmented your contacts it is time to start sending. As mentioned in Step Two, unless you have fewer than 100 contacts you do not want to email all of them on day one. Start with a low volume send and increase that volume over time. To achieve best results you should use the same sending pattern from day one, meaning if your typical week would include 2 email sends you should warmup following the same schedule.  

The following schedule covers 4 sending patterns: daily, weekdays, 3x weekly, and 2x weekly.  To warmup your email reputation, find your pattern below and follow it, sending the number of emails indicated for your current step in the process.  

It is not necessary to send on the days specified, only the number of days per week matters.  For example, you can send twice weekly on Mondays and Saturdays if that pattern makes sense for you.  If you need to send more than the 2x/3x/5x patterns display, continue following the sending pattern and use the volumes from the pattern above it. If you need to send more than 1,000,000 per day, please contact Kajabi support.

screenshot of a sample email IP warming schedule table

How can you set up your email warming for success?

Here are two specific tips you can put in place to help ensure your email warming is successful:

Send your most engaging email
. Use a subject line that will entice the recipients to open the email. Include links and strong call to action buttons to encourage engagement with the email. Review your past email campaigns and replicate something that worked well in the past.

Send to your most highly engaged contacts first.
By sending to the people who are most likely to open your email, the email clients will start to see that the recipients do want these emails. This could look like sending to a batch of your current customers first and leaving your unconverted leads for later emails. 

Step Four: Watch Your Metrics and Adjust

The warmup schedule works if your delivery and engagement metrics are within industry standards.  However, if you have a day in which any of your metrics falls below its standard rate, investigate and fix your list and then maintain the same sending volume the next day.  The following metrics should guide your warmup:

email marketing metrics and standard rate. complaints - 0.10%. pristine traps - 0. typo/recycle traps - 0.01%. hard and soft bounces - 1%. unsubscribes - 0.25%

*Opens and Clicks are a subjective metric and can generally be ignored as an indicator for increasing volume day-over-day.  However, if your metric is significantly below the standard, consider resolving the cause before increasing volume.

Step Five: Maintain Good Habits

Now that you have established your sending reputation, keep up the good work!  Reputation is earned every day.  Here are a few tips to maintain the great reputation you worked so hard for:

  • Use double opt-in.  Make sure any new contacts are legitimate by taking advantage of double opt-in.  If you choose not to use double opt-in, you should certainly consider using reCAPTCHA to keep bots out of your signups.

  • Pay attention to engagement.  Contacts that haven’t opened/clicked/logged in for more than 6 months need a “cooldown” period. Let them rest for a few months before sending them a re-engagement campaign. This is the easiest way to maintain a healthy reputation with the major MBPs.
  • Never purchase lists!  (You would never do that, would you?)


Your email sending reputation is in your control.  Clean your lists, start sending slowly, gradually increase your volume, and pay attention to your metrics.  Remember, there are no shortcuts to a great email reputation!

Using email with Kajabi

Kajabi offers an email marketing tool that is integrated with the other areas of your knowledge commerce business. It’s easy to automate and streamline your business when your digital products, website email, analytics, and payment processing are all in one place. That’s the power of Kajabi’s all-in-one online course platform.

Ready to get started? Explore what Kajabi can do in a 14-day free trial.

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