Here at SendGrid Support we know how crucial your holiday sends are. Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to drive revenue during the holiday season – it’s a busy time for the email industry, so it’s critical that your campaigns are executed properly and best practices are followed to get the most value from your holiday sending. We’ve put this guide together to make sure you’ll be set up for success!

There are many different factors involved in delivering your mail effectively. Two of the most important elements are warmup and sender authentication.

Warmup

Starting your sending off right and building your reputation as a sender is the most important element of holiday success. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to repair a bad sending reputation, so it’s essential to start off strong if your campaigns are on a strict schedule.

Warmup processes will vary greatly depending on what type of plan you are on. Our Free and Essentials plans utilize shared IP infrastructure to deliver mail, while our Pro customers are given dedicated IPs for just their sending. Below are the best practices for getting started with both types of sending.

Free and Essentials Users (Shared IPs)

One of the biggest benefits of using shared IPs is they don’t need to be warmed up. Because you’ll be sharing IPs with other users, mailbox providers will be used to receiving traffic from these IPs. This means that you will be able to send your mail as quickly as you want. However, you are sharing your sending IPs, so your delivery can be affected by the reputation of other customers. To learn more about sending from shared IP pools, click here.

Pro Users (Dedicated IPs)

While dedicated IPs can ultimately provide the best deliverability for an established email program, they need to be “warmed up” to achieve best results. IP warming is the practice of gradually increasing the volume of mail sent via a dedicated IP address according to a predetermined schedule. This gradual process helps to establish a reputation with ISPs (Internet Service Providers) as a legitimate email sender.

When an inbox provider observes email suddenly coming from a new or “cold” IP address, they will take notice and immediately begin evaluating the traffic coming from that IP. Since ISPs treat email volume as a key determining factor when detecting spam, it is best to begin sending a low to moderate volume, eventually working your way up to larger volumes. This gives the receiving email providers a chance to closely observe your sending habits and record how your recipients engage with your mail.

You can choose to either use the SendGrid automated warmup if you have multiple dedicated IPs, or you can manually follow our suggested warmup schedule. When automatically warming up an IP, SendGrid limits the amount of email sent through that IP per hour. Any email requests that exceed this hourly limit will overflow to any other existing warm IPs on your account. For more information on dedicated IPs, click here.

Sender Authentication

Sender Authentication is a critical element of email delivery. Sender authentication is the functionality that shows ISPs that SendGrid has your permission to send emails on your behalf. This permission is given by the act of pointing very specific DNS entries from your domain registrar to SendGrid. These DNS entries will automatically setup SPF and DKIM records for your mail. There are three types of sender authentication – domain, link branding, and rDNS.

Of these, domain authentication is the most important, as these setup SPF and DKIM records. Link branding will mask image and click tracking links with your domain, and rDNS  will create custom reverse DNS for your dedicated IP if you are on a Pro package. The sender authentication process can vary depending on what DNS host you use – please see our detailed documentation here for more info.

Other Sending Best Practices

Putting in some legwork up-front will make the holiday sending season much easier. Our Expert Services team has put together a 4th Quarter Email Playbook to provide information on how to prepare and get the most out of your email campaigns this year. We suggest reviewing their content here. Our deliverability team has also put together an awesome best practices guide. This will walk you through everything you need to know to have a successful email program. Check out the guide here! If you have additional questions about segmenting traffic, timing sends, list hygiene, or anything else, feel free to reach out to support!

If you’re looking to get dedicated onboarding/ramp up manager, our specialists work with you throughout the setup process to ensure that your email program is built for success and operates as expected. To get started with a paid consultation, please fill out one of these forms to receive a quote.

Sending Mail

Once you get your sender authentication setup and understand the type of warmup you’ll need to implement, you can start sending. There are three ways to send mail with SendGrid. You can use our Marketing Campaigns web application, connect with us via SMTP, or integrate with our fully RESTful API. Here are our guides for getting setup to send with each system.

Contacting Support

We’re here to help guide you through your holiday sends and get the most out of our system. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our documentation, please get in touch with us. If you are on a paid plan, using our 24/7 live-chat feature will be the fastest way to get your questions answered.

Live chat is great for quick questions regarding your account and SendGrid features. If you have a highly technical issue, creating a ticket will be the best way to get in touch with us. Tickets allow us to easily provide and receive technical information, and can be escalated to a dedicated team if needed. Phone support is best for account-specific questions and getting started. Phone support is available Monday through Friday 7AM to 5PM MST.

To get in touch with our team, simply log into our support site here and start typing a question. We’ll provide some self-help resources as well as the ability to create a ticket, start a live chat session, or request a callback.

Although email delivery can be complicated, following the tips above should position your email program to achieve success for the holiday season! If you want to brush up on some more last minute email program improvements, check out our 4th Quarter Email Playbook.

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