If you’re considering sending cold email campaigns, congratulations – you’ve happened upon one of the most effective and least-used modern marketing techniques. Don’t go jumping in with both feet yet, though.
You might be thinking that you can just load up your contact list into your Outlook, Gmail or whichever platform you use and fire off your campaigns that way.
Before you do that, though, it’s crucial to understand a few things about your provider, your email platform, and the limitations you may face.
4 Questions to Ask About Your ISP and Email Platform Before Sending Cold Email
1. Do They Use Shared IPs?
It’s common practice, but not common knowledge, that providers use a pool of shared IP addresses across their users’ accounts.
Meanwhile, each IP has a sender reputation score associated with it – a metric that spam filters use to determine how trustworthy the emails coming from that IP are, and whether they’re spam or not.
Damaging your sender score is one of the main pitfalls of cold email. When IPs are being shared, if one user sends cold campaigns that result in the sender score for that IP being damaged, other users’ deliverability will suffer too.
To prevent that, they generally just don’t allow cold campaigns. It makes sense – the last thing you want is for your users’ emails to stop going where they need to go just because some other users are damaging your IPs’ scores.
If your ISP uses shared IPs, you’ll find that cold email isn’t an option using the tools you’ve got.
2. Do They Allow Cold Lists?
Along the same vein as the first question, a lot of email platforms simply don’t allow cold contacts to be uploaded. This is often due to the shared IP pool.
When you’re planning on sending cold email, you should look at whether the platform you intend to use actually allows it. HubSpot, for example, flat-out forbids it.
In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid sending cold email and opted-in email from the same platform anyway. They’re both email, but they’re separate tactics and have distinct sets of challenges and requirements.
If your email provider doesn’t allow you to send to non-opted-in contacts, sending cold email from that platform is a non-starter.
3. Is There a List Limit?
One of the main drivers of cold email as a successful program is the sheer volume of contacts you can send your marketing to. A huge contact list that’s full of targeted contacts is a powerful tool to have.
For the same reasons as the previous points, many platforms impose a size limitation on the contact lists you upload.
To really get the most out of cold email, you need a large list. By the same token, if you can’t upload that list to a given email platform, you can’t use that platform to send cold email effectively.
4. Is There a Daily or Monthly Send Limit?
Another way many email platforms protect their IPs against users spamming is by imposing a cap on how many emails you can send in a given time period.
For example, Gmail imposes a limit of 2000 messages per day, a cap of 2000 recipients per message and a total limit of 10,000 recipients per day. So you could send 5 messages to 2000 contacts each.
If you exceed one of those limitations, you’ll be locked out of sending messages for up to 24 hours.
When you have a list of 100,000 cold contacts to reach out to, you can see how that becomes fairly burdensome, even excluding any other limitations or factors.
You’d have to send out your campaign over 10 days, during which you couldn’t send any other emails, and even then you’re running the risk of accidentally overshooting one of those limits and locking yourself out for 24 hours.
By any reasonable standard, that’s just not going to work for effective email marketing. And that’s without considering any of the many, many other factors that come into play around spam prevention and deliverability.
No matter how you’re sending your emails, your campaigns will only be as good as the contacts you’re sending them to. If your list is full of bad data (like typos, addresses that don’t exist or have been repurposed as spam traps, honeypots, etc) then your campaigns won’t get good results.
They’ll also hinder your future campaigns’ performance, as sending to bad addresses is a signal that you aren’t taking proper care of your recipient list, and might be spamming. This generally results in a sender score penalty – which in turn results in more of your emails landing in junk folders.
You need your lists to be cleaned out before you upload them – and that sort of list hygiene treatment is typically a paid, third-party service that you’ll need to purchase.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of the topic. For a more deep dive into the factors impacting your campaign deliverability, read our post on how to send mass email successfully.