Why We Set up a Separate Mailbox for Outbound Campaigns?

When we were getting about sending our own cold email campaigns, the first thing we did was setting up a new mailbox for each of our sales persons. Those new email accounts have been created on a separate domain and dedicated exclusively to outbound email campaigns. Why did we do that? And how can you do that quickly and conveniently for your own outreach?

Why did we set up a mailbox for outbound?

We did it for 2 reasons:

Reason 1: Safety of our company domain

We decided to take all necessary measures to make sure our domain NEVER gets blacklisted.

Doesn’t good copy protect you from being blacklisted?

Yes, in general good copy that provides some value to the prospect helps you take care of the safety of your domain. It’s crucial for each cold email sender to write emails that won’t be considered spam – either by people or by anti-spam bots. And we do our best to make sure the copy of the emails does not feel spammy.

But that’s getting more and more difficult, as our target market is quickly getting saturated with cold emails. And most of the cold emails our prospects receive are seen by them as spam. Now, even one misfortunate expression may cause that an email from a stranger is almost automatically classified as spam. And I don’t mean by the spam filters. I mean by people.

The point is…

Even if you try really hard to create copy that brings some value to the prospect, it may be the case that your email gets classified as another crappy unsolicited offer and gets marked as spam even before the prospect reads the whole thing.

I guess, with a well-prepared email that’s rarely the case, but still you need to take such a possibility into consideration.

And that’s why we needed a separate mailbox on a separate domain just for our cold emails. We wanted to play it as safe as possible and make sure that our domain woodpecker.co is safe, no matter what.

Reason 2: Convenience of handling the replies

The word convenience covers two motifs in our particular case:

Motif #1: We want to see clearly in an inbox, which replies came from our outbound campaigns. When we have a separate mailbox set up exclusively for cold email campaigns, we know all emails incoming to this address are replies from our prospects. This way, our sales guys don’t have to struggle with a mess in their main work inboxes.

Motif #2: Even if cleaning the mess in our main inbox wasn’t a thing we hate doing, we would want to have a separate mailbox for outbound to integrate with Woodpecker. Why?

Because Woodpecker needs to access the replies in order to mark our prospects as REPLIED and stop sending them follow-ups.

Now, if we used our main work mailbox for outbound campaigns, and we wanted it to stay tidy at the same time, we would probably move some of the replies to dedicated folders or archive them. And in such a case, Woodpecker wouldn’t have a chance to detect the replies and mark our prospects accordingly in our contact base.

So with the separate mailbox dedicated exclusively to outbound outreach, we are happy and Woodpecker is happy as well.

How exactly did we set up the new mailbox?

STEP 1: We bought a new domain – getwoodpecker.com.

That’s the domain for outbound. We don’t use it otherwise.

Important: When choosing the name of a new domain, make sure it corresponds with your main one. Make sure your prospects won’t get confused. Remember that your email address is also part of your message.

See also: What Should Be the “From” Line of My Cold Email? >>

Consider adding a word as a kind of affix to the name of your original domain. Try adding for instance:

  • get- at the beginning,
  • -app at the end
  • changing the .com to .co, .io or the other way round.

STEP 2: We created a business account on Google Apps.

STEP 3: We placed the new domain getwoodpecker.com on our Google Apps account (this link may appear handy if you want to know the technical details).

STEP 4: We created 2 mailboxes within our Google Apps account, one for each of our sales guys.

STEP 5: We warmed up the mailboxes before we integrated them with Woodpecker. That is, the guys manually sent some emails from the mailboxes to servers hosted by various email service providers. Check out a full tutorial to warming up your email address before sending cold email campaigns.

STEP 6: We integrated the new mailboxes with Woodpecker, and set up first outbound campaigns BUT we started the sending slowly, no more than 2-3 campaigns limited to maximally 10 prospects/day.

STEP 7: We gradually lifted the sending limits in Woodpecker, to reach our planned daily limits (around 150/day).

What’s in it for you?

Maybe you think, “I write emails that cannot possibly be considered spam, I’ve never had a situation in which the security of my domain was in danger. So why should I care about setting up a mailbox exclusively for outbound?

If you feel totally safe and don’t mind the prospects’ replies mixing with other messages in your main inbox, think about more intensive testing of your cold email copy. A separate mailbox on another domain gives you more comfortable space for testing and making mistakes. That’s especially important when you start and you need to test a lot to optimize your copy and settings.

***

Do you have a separate mailbox for outbound campaigns? Do you plan to set up one? Or maybe you think this isn’t a good idea for some reason? I’ll be grateful if you share your thoughts in the comments.

You may be also interested in:

How to Warm Up My Email Address before Cold Outreach? >>

Why Do People Hate Cold Emails & What Can We Do to Let Them Love Ours? >>

10 Factors that Make Our Cold Emails Work (or Not) >>

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  • Nick Potts

    I do this however my experience is that SPAM companies have technology in place to make the connection between 2 different domains, as you may include links which end in “woodpecker.co” within your “getwoodpecker.com” emails. How do you effectively stop this linking happening?

    • Sally Evans

      Just an idea. If you wanted to link to woodpecker.co/promo in you email then you could instead make the URL getwoodpecker.com/promo (in the email) and then redirect that URL to woodpecker.co/promo

      • Thanks for your comment, Sally. I wouldn’t recommend that solution though (if I correctly understand what you mean). If you put a URL in the copy of your email, and then link from there to another URL, that may be an alert for the anti-spam filters. Instead, you can link to your domain from a piece of text that is not a URL.

        So, using your example, instead of linking from getwoodpecker.com/promo to woodpecker.co/promo you can hyper link just a word, e.g. “Woodpecker” to woodpecker.co/promo. In short it’s better to link a phrase->URL than a URL->different URL. More on that topic in this post https://blog.woodpecker.co/cold-email/links-in-cold-email/

        As to the remark by TrademarkNow, if this was a case that you were not supposed to send links to different domains from an email on your domain, it wouldn’t be possible to send links in any kind of emails at all (except for the links to your own domain, of course). For instance, we couldn’t send links to YouTube videos to our friends via email, just because we would be linking from an email on our domain to youtube.com. So to sum up, whatever domain you are sending your emails from, you can link to a different domain without fear of spamming, if only you prepare your links in the copy the right way (for more details, please check the post I linked above). Hope this helps.

  • Tom Dunn

    Just wondering, what’s the advantage of using Google Apps, instead of a regular Gmail account or just the domain’s email server? Thanks.

    • Hi Tom. Thank you for your question.
      Straight to the point:

      1. Google Apps have much higher limits of emails that can be sent daily (2000 compared to 500 on regular Gmail)

      2. You can use a proper company email with your domain in it, instead of @gmail.com.

      3. Storage space on Google Apps is 30GB per user.

      4. Deliverability. Google Apps have good deliverability overall, and they also provide quite firm SPAM filters, so your inbox will not be littered with some junk mail.

      Therefore, if you run a business, Google Apps have some definite advantages over regular Gmail.

      As for domain’s email server – setting you own might be a way to go if you have the knowledge and resources, but it is probably an option that is valid for enterprises only.

  • Tom

    Great article!
    I wonder if you guys reply from the same outreach email or from your “real” email address to have conversations with prospects. I imagine it helps if the outreach email address also has some communication going on rather than only be used for outbound emails, right? However at which point is it best to switch over to the “real” email and how do you keep everything tidy with two inboxes?

    Best, Tom

    • Hey Tom,

      Wojtek from outbound sales at Woodpecker here. Normally, we keep the communication on our “outbound” mailbox until we actually close a deal. So I only contact my customers from my main mailbox. Many companies are using “get” or “try” prefixes to their domains, which I think still lets them be easily associated with their main domain.

      So far, I haven’t noticed any impact of that on the relation with my potential clients, although they sometimes ask what the reason is for me contacting them from a slightly different address. I treat it as an opportunity to explain how setting up a separate mailbox for their outbound operations can help mitigate the risks of automation that Cathy explained in the article above. Hope this answers your question.

  • Stanislav Polyakov

    We are using Woodpecker’s competitor with similar features. We tried setting it up with Google Apps, but didn’t follow “warm-up” procedure, so Google really limited our ability to send after something like 25-30 emails per day. We figured out it’s not the most reliable thing if they can kick us off at anytime. We ultimately ended up using our own email server (which we have anyway – just added outbound domain name there) and we use same inbox for outbound and general – found it a bit easier to manage responses, besides, we also use Base CRM and it pulls all outgoing and incoming messages from the inbox and attaches it to each contact – that’s reallly handy.

  • Susan Boyle

    OK so here is something that seems to be missing from your blog posts about using a different domain for outbound messages. So you have a new domain but you can’t really use the same hosting account either because then it would be using the same IP address as the domain you are trying to protect. So either you need to buy another IP for the same hosting account or you also need a new hosting account for the new domain. Otherwise, if your new domain’s IP is blacklisted and it’s sharing an IP with your main website then all of this was for nothing.

    • Susan – you may be right but the devile’s in the details. If you are using a small hosting company service, or your own a mail server, the situation you described could be an issue. But when you are using hosting from providers like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. — you can be assigned a different IP each time you send an email.

      Small companies or in-house email servers have limited capabiliteies to build whole network of IP addresses. So if your emails start to get marked as spam, your IP could also be affected. And if your server uses only one IP, then you could have that kind of a problem you described.

  • So, you split your mailbox… But do you split your domains website too?

    I mean: if you want to send links from your getwoodpecker.com emails, do you create a link towards the getwoodpecker.com website or towards the woodpecker.com website?

    Because we could guess that if google sees lot of “spam considered” emails from your GetDomain with links toward you MainDomain, it will make a link between both of them and consider it aqually as SPAM ?

    • Jérémie, perhaps I don’t understand correctly what kind of situation you described, so let me repharse it: you suggest that sending emails from one domain (e.g. getwoodpecker.com) I should not link to any other domain in my email, because that may be considered spammy? If it worked like that, you couldn’t send links to YouTube movies to your friends from your private email, or links to any website except your own really, without being suspected of sending spam… I don’t think that’s the case. 🙂

      But, if you’re asking if I would add a link in which the text of the link would be Woodpecker.co, and the url would be getwoodpecker.com (or the other way round) — I would not. Here’s more about why that could cause some deliverability issues https://blog.woodpecker.co/cold-email/links-in-cold-email/.

      Finally, about linking to your website in cold emails in general: it’s not something I would try to do at all. I usually aim at convincing my addressee to reply to me, instead of getting them to click a link to my website. The only place I would place a link to my website in the message would be my signature, and there I would use Woodpecker.co as the text as well as the URL of the link.

      Hope that answers your question. Thanks for the comment!

      • Thx for tour answer.

        I saw your point about not putting any link on the email.

        If anyway there is a link toward a domain ‘B’ from an email sent from the domain ‘A’, and that your email from ‘A’ is considered as spammy, would it impact the reputation of your domain ‘B’ ?
        Because if I am Google and see lot of (considered) spammy emails from ‘A’ Linked to another domain, i could think that this second domain is spammy too.

        I ask that because you split your domain for reputation reasons… ans wonder if it would not need to be even more clustered.

        • Hi Jeremie,

          If those links are the same as on one of URL spam list that could be issue. Other situation that come to my mind is when you send so many emails that some of them are marked as spam and then links that are in are considered as spammy links.

          There are also third party reputation system like https://www.talosintelligence.com/reputation_center that take website reputation under consideration.

  • Ciccio

    @Cathy_Woodpecker:disqus , what if your domain reputation is already bad. Would create a separate domain for marketing campaigns help? At the end, there would be a problem with the links because I’d be linking to a bad domain (my original one) from a new one (which starts with a bad reputation). So, that would be seen as spam, am I right?
    Btw, nice article!