Cover Image How to Set up a Domain and Mailbox for Cold Email Outreach?

How to Set up a Domain and Mailbox for Cold Email Outreach?

The article explains how to set up a new domain and mailbox for cold email outreach to avoid risking the reputation of your main domain. It outlines four steps to derisk cold outreach, including buying a new domain, connecting the domain and email hosting server, setting up a redirect for your outreach domain, and setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records. Finally, it talks about how to warm up your new domain and mailboxes.

Manuel BiermannManuel Biermann

Manuel Biermann

8 min read

Why should I set up a new “burner” domain before starting to email cold leads?

The first thing you need when you are planning to start with cold outreach is to set up a new domain and mailbox that is separate from the existing one you use to communicate with your team and clients. The main reason for doing so is to protect your main domain from any potential impact on its reputation. What happens if a domain’s reputation is bad? Spam filters block emails sent from those domains, land them in spam folders or even put the sender on a blacklist.

Just imagine how annoying it would be if your employees and customers are not receiving your emails anymore because they are landing in their spam folders. Be smart, don’t risk it, and keep reading! Here are the steps for you to de-risk cold outreach.

1. Buy a new domain

There are endless providers to buy a new domain and from an outreach point of view, it really doesn’t matter which one you choose. Here are some well-known options:

What does matter is the name you choose. Look for available domains that are close to your main business domain. This reduces the chance of leads being confused by different names. You could for example look for the same domain name but with another TLD.

For example, we are using for our outreach campaigns and use as our main business domain.

You can get cookie points for buying a second-hand domain that’s one year old or even older. To spam filters, domain age matters. They are especially suspicious of fresh domains used for outreach. This makes a lot of sense since spammers tend to use newly created domains. So in general, the older the domain, the better. But don’t forget to check the domain’s reputation before buying it.

You can use tools like Talos and MX Toolbox to find out the domain’s reputation and whether it’s blacklisted.

2. Connect domain & email hosting server

Now we need to point your new outreach domain to the email server of your choice. If your domain and hosting come from the same provider you can usually connect them with a few clicks. If you bought your domain from a different provider than the email hosting then you have to follow the steps below:

  1. Copy the nameservers from your email hoster
  2. Log into your domain provider
  3. Go to your DNS settings
  4. Paste the nameservers and save

Here are some guides in case you are using Google Worksuite as your email provider:

3. Set up redirect for outreach domain

Leads might be curious and visit the domain after receiving an email from you. To make sure that they don’t end up on a 404 or this domain is parked website we should set up a redirect to our main domain. Here are some guides on how to set up redirects for your domain:

4. Set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records

SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are security mechanisms that prevent scammers from sending forged emails on your behalf. Setting these up in the DNS records of your domain will increase the chance that emails from your domain are successfully delivered to leads’ inboxes and your domain’s reputation stays intact.

Setting up SPF

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a security mechanism created to prevent spammers from sending emails on your behalf. The mechanism is all about communication between DNS servers. To simplify things: Let’s say you’ve sent an email to Carl. But how does Carl’s DNS server know that the email was in fact sent by you? Without SPF records it doesn’t have a way to know. SPF defines which IP addresses can be used to send emails from your domain.

Here are some guides for well-known email providers:

Setting up DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) standard has been created for the same reason as SPF. It’s a way to additionally sign your emails in a way that will allow the recipient’s server to check if the sender was really you or not. By setting DKIM on your DNS server, you’re adding an additional way to tell your receivers “yes, this email is really from me”.The whole idea is based on encrypting and decrypting the additional signature, put in the header of your message. To make that possible, you need to have two keys:

  1. the private key (which is unique to your domain and available exclusively to you. It allows you to encrypt your signature in the header of your messages.)
  2. the public key (which you add to your DNS records using the DKIM standard, in order to allow your recipient’s server to retrieve it and decrypt your hidden signature from the header of your message).

Here are some guides for well-known email providers:

Setting up DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) is a protocol that is used to authenticate email messages and prevent domain spoofing and email phishing. 

DMARC records are used to instruct email-receiving servers on how to handle emails that fail DMARC authentication. They are added to the DNS (Domain Name System) records of the sender's domain and contain information on how to handle emails that fail SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and/or DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) checks.

Here are some guides for well-known email providers:

5. Warm up your new domain and email address

Newly created domains have a neutral reputation by default. This means that spam filters will keep a close eye on it and could be alarmed when you suddenly send a large number of emails. A domain must earn a good reputation by sending and receiving emails first before you start sending emails at scale.

The process of increasing email communication over time for a new domain is called domain warmup. The idea is to send just a few emails a day from your outbound mailbox to addressees who you know will respond to you (e.g. family, friends, or colleagues). Keep in mind that if you have more than one mailbox on this domain, you have to warm up each of them separately.

We suggest you send 5-10 emails a day and increase the number slowly over time. To be sure that a domain is fully warmed up this domain warmup phase should last about three months.

There are a handful of tools out there that help you with warming up your email mailbox by sending, receiving, and replying to emails within their customer base. This allows them to monitor how many emails end up in spam and adjust the number of emails being sent over time. Beginning of 2023 Google started to crack down on all those services and it is becoming harder and harder to use tools to warm up email mailboxes using Google Worksuite these days.

Here are a few options:

While your domain is warming up, there are a few things you should take care of:

  1. Building a prospect base (incl. Sales Signals)
  2. Setting up a sequencing tool
  3. Drafting email sequences

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