Holiday Sending 101: Brought to You by the SendGrid Support Team Table of Contents Note: The SendGrid Support Team created the following resource to address some common issues facing customers during the holiday season, and primarily focuses on IP warmup and whitelabeling. Intro Here at SendGrid Support we know how crucial your holiday email campaigns 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 is critical that your campaigns are executed properly and best practices are followed to get the most value from your holiday sending. There are many different factors involved in delivering your mail effectively. Two of the most important elements are IP warmup and whitelabeling. The following guide breaks down both elements so you can get the most from your holiday emails. IP warmup Properly warming up your IP address and building your sending reputation are the most important elements 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. IP warmup processes will vary greatly depending on what type of plan you are on. Our Free and Essentials plans use shared IP infrastructure to deliver mail, while our Pro customers are provided 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. Learn more about sending from shared IP pools 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 email sent via a dedicated IP address according to a predetermined schedule. This gradual process helps to establish a reputation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 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 and 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. Read more about dedicated IPs in our documentation. And for more on IP warmup check out SendGrid’s How To Warm Up An IP best practice guide. Whitelabeling Whitelabeling is a critical element of email delivery. Whitelabeling 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 set up SPF and DKIM records for your mail. There are three types of whitelabels: domain, email link, and IP. Of these, domain whitelabels are the most important, as these set up SPF and DKIM records. Email link whitelabels will mask image and click tracking links with your domain, and IP whitelabels will create custom DNS for your dedicated IP (if you are on a Pro plan). The whitelabeling process can vary depending on what DNS host you use – please see our detailed documentation. Other sending best practices Putting in some legwork upfront will make your holiday sending season much easier. Our Expert Services team has put together a series of blog posts to provide information on how to prepare and get the most out of your email campaigns this year. Review all their content here. Our deliverability team has also put together an awesome best practices guide that walks you through everything you need to know to have a successful email program. Check out the Email Deliverability Best Practice Guide. 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 a dedicated onboarding/ramp up manager, our specialists work with you throughout the set-up process to ensure that your email program is built for success and operates as expected. For a one-time fee of $700 USD, your dedicated Onboarding Manager will aid with: API and technical implementation IP warmup planning Whitelabel and DNS setup for up to 2 IPs and 2 subusers A strategic review of your email program and goals To get started with a paid onboarding experience, please fill out this form. Sending email Once you get your whitelabels set up and understand the type of warmup you’ll need to implement, you can start sending your email. There are three ways to send email 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: Marketing Campaigns User Guide Recommended SMTP Settings V3 Web API Documentation 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. Our phone lines are available Monday through 7AM to 5PM MST. To get in touch with our team, simply log into our support site 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 get access to the best phone number at that time. 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.