New customer onboarding and ramp-up guide

Email is a very unique stream to use for marketing. The security algorithms involved on the receiving end (mailbox providers like Gmail and Yahoo) are smart and learn to recognize a sender’s (you) setup and patterns. These algorithms help streamline a more consistent inbox vs spam folder experience for their systems, which becomes problematic when a sender’s patterns change.

A change of sending platforms, such as switching from your old platform to Ortto, can create an unpredictable period of ups and downs until the receiving mailbox providers get used to your new send setup (usually within 30 days).

An example of this is a sudden increase in opens followed by a sudden drop below normal open rates. First, the mailbox providers are evaluating to see if people will complain (mark the email as spam) or not. Then, the providers filter emails (such as to Gmail’s Promotions category) to see if people will go looking for your emails or not. There are many other testing patterns that can occur besides this.

The following advice provides best practice guidance on actions you can take to help smooth out this process and prove your reliability as a sender to the receiving systems.

Onboarding checklist

To more quickly prove your quality as a sender, here is a checklist of onboarding best practices:

  • Set up custom domain authentication in your account.
  • Suppress for email (create a suppression audience):
    • Previously bounced or unsubscribed addresses.
    • Addresses that have not engaged with your company in the last 12+ months (subscribers who haven’t engaged with email messages or purchased from your organization in 12+ months).
  • Secure all signup/capture sources are with some form of CAPTCHA.
  • Set up a Welcome-type Journey (such as Welcome new subscribers) for signup sources:
    • In the email message shape, include a friendly request for subscribers to add your sending address to their address book/safe senders list and move any emails received in the spam folder into the inbox to maintain optimum experience. Example message to include:
      “To make sure you continue to see all of our updates in a timely manner, please add our email address to your address book and keep an eye out for any messages that might be accidentally filtered to Spam. Moving those messages back to your inbox will help ensure that our future messages are delivered there for you.”
  • Make sure your Audiences are set up to only send content to subscribers that have explicitly opted-in to receive communications from you.
  • Set up a preference center and allow subscribers to control which content they want to receive.
  • Read through and implement other relevant general best practices outlined in the Improving email deliverability section of the guide.
  • Send a campaign on your old sending platform advising to subscribers that you are upgrading your marketing outreach setup and to please be aware to look for any missing emails in the spam folder during the transition period.
    Transitions always have unexpected behavior as mailbox providers do stricter testing when changes to IP or domain occur.
  • Follow our general Ramp-up guide to allow for a better transition experience.
    If you are planning to send from Ortto using a new domain you haven’t yet used for bulk email sending, please reach out to our Support team ( for more tailored ramp-up advice.
  • Here is a general guide for desirable permission-based engagement-rate thresholds (specific benchmarks may differ based on industry and market):
    • > 20% Open rates
    • < 2% Bounce rates
    • < 0.5% Unsubscribe rates
    • < 0.02% Complaint rates (less than 2 complaints for every 10,000 messages).

While the above does not guarantee a perfect transition, it is a helpful guide of best practices that can smooth out and speed up an otherwise more unpredictable experience.

Ramp-up guide

Unless you have been advised otherwise, the ramp-up plan detailed in the table below can be useful for senders already sending from another platform and wanting to transition their sends more carefully onto Ortto.

This plan is designed for senders wishing to send individual email campaigns (rather than journeys or playbooks) to large audiences.


Current send volume (size of audience)

Increase from previous day






















Important advice about ramping up sends

The following instructions are very important when ramping up email sending, whether for a domain or IP with or without reputation:

  1. Make sure old, unengaged subscribers have already been removed from your list (create a suppression audience).
  2. Plan out how you will organize your audiences for the ramp-up additions ahead of time.
  3. Start at the advised volume and increase as advised no less than 24 hours apart.
  4. Monitor your engagement report from each send.
  5. If a large drop in opens occurs:
    1. Important: Do not go backwards in volume. Always stay at the most recent volumes.
    2. Continue sending at the volume reached until engagement metrics return to normal.
    3. Then continue ramp-up plan.
  6. Ramp-up is considered complete when total volume has been reached and expected engagement metrics have been maintained for several sends.