Quick Start Guide (All-in-One)

Check this article to get setup with Instantly in just a few short minutes.

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Written by Ollie
Updated over a week ago

How to connect your Google Workspace / Gmail accounts

Sometimes setup of the account can be challenging, that's why we prepared step-by-step guide to make it easier for our users.

For your convenience, we also added a video step-by-step guide here.

Step 1: Enable IMAP

1. Open your Gmail account in the browser.

2. Click on "Settings" in the top right corner:

3. Click on "See all settings":

4. Click on the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" option.

5. In the "IMAP access" section, select "Enable IMAP".

6. Click "Save Changes".

Step 2: Connecting Your Google Account - OAuth method

Here are the steps to Create oAuth access in your Google Workspace account. Before enabling oAuth, make sure IMAP has been enabled through all email accounts. This article shows how to do it.

  1. Login to your Instantly account in one tab and to your Google Workspace in another tab of the same window.

  2. Go to Admin console (Security/API Controls/App Access Control)

  3. Click on "View list", and then "Add App":

  4. Select "OAuth App Name Or Client ID":

  5. Copy the ID from your Instantly account, by going to "Add New", choose "Google/Gsuite", select "Yes, IMAP has been enabled", choose "Option 2 oAuth".

  6. Paste the client ID into your Google Workspace and click on "Search":

  7. Select Instantly:

  8. Check the box and click on "Select":

  9. Select "Trusted can access all Google services" and click on "Configure":

  10. Instantly oAuth v1 will appear in the list of your trusted apps.

  11. Now you can go back to Instantly and complete the Login:

  12. Choose the Google account you want to connect to or Use another account:

Important: If only your workspace admin account is visible here, click "Use another account" to log in to your other Google accounts. It might be worth trying to add these accounts from the Incognito window, in case all of your Google accounts appear here.

In Incognito, your previous login sessions won't be stored, so you can easily add an account you need.

13. Allow access to the Workspace:

14. Your account will be connected to Instantly. You can proceed and add all other accounts from the same Workspace by using the same Google accounts connector and choosing the oAuth Method (just proceed to login after selecting the oAuth method since the app access has already been enabled once for that workspace).

Please check this guidance if you would like to connect your Google accounts using the App Password method.

Free Gmail accounts

Now when it comes to free Gmail accounts - Google is very strict with respect to limits and rules. This is because they don't want to promote cold emailing through free Gmail accounts.

As a matter of fact, their algorithm is very smart in detecting what use the accounts are being put to.

Their rules and limitations are more relaxed towards Gsuite accounts. So when it comes to recommendation- we suggest using Gsuite or maybe even Microsoft accounts.

The problem is that it is an industry wide thing, so even if you try some other cold emailing platform or you were to manually send out cold emails - it is still an issue one would face.

There was a question once asked in reference to free Gmail accounts used for cold emailing in our Facebook group. And majority of our members seconded this notion that it is not advisable to use free Gmail accounts for cold emailing.

How to connect your Microsoft/O365 accounts

You need both IMAP and SMTP enabled to connect an O365/Microsoft account to Instantly. It's not permitted to connect only SMTP for sending emails as our warmup is a peer-to-peer network consisting of real accounts that must both send and receive emails.

Step 1: Enable SMTP

  • Here's the official Microsoft guide on turning on SMTP for your account (if it isn't already)

  • If you have your Outlook account from GoDaddy, you can see their guide here

Step 2: Enable IMAP

  • Here's a guide on turning on IMAP for your O365 account (if it isn't already)

  • IMAP Settings for O365/Microsoft (even GoDaddy) accounts

Step 3: Connecting Your Outlook Account

Once you have enabled SMTP, wait for one hour, and connect your email account by logging in to a Microsoft connector in Instantly.

How to add Custom Tracking Domain

What is a custom tracking domain and what does it do?

In order to track certain things like email opens (for example - and link clicks in the future), we insert special code into the body of your emails. That special code is generally in the form of a URL - for example. xyz.inreg1.com/[code]

Now while we keep changing that URL every once in a while, that same domain is used by every Instantly customer - unless you setup a custom tracking domain.

When you setup a custom tracking domain, the special code that we insert will use your specified domain instead of ours. And so it will be unique - which helps ensure that your sending reputation and deliverability are completely isolated from the rest of the accounts.

Think of it as bringing your own toothbrush on a road trip rather than using one

that's shared by multiple people. Only you get to use it, which prevents any dental problems that you could get by using a shared one.

When you add a custom tracking domain, it essentially works as a proxy/mask for

the tracking end-point and it isolates your sender reputation from the rest of the

user base... and so in a nutshell, always use a custom tracking domain.

How to add a custom tracking domain to Instantly?

Start off by going to the settings for the email account

  1. Then, click on ‘Use custom tracking domain’

  2. Add a new CNAME for your domain and set it to prox.itrackly.com

  3. Use inst as the name of the CNAME

  4. Use prox.itrackly.com as the value of the CNAME

  5. Add the new CNAME in Instantly - inst.yoursendingdomain.com with yoursendingdomain.com being the domain you added the CNAME record under.

  6. Click on ‘Check Status’. If everything is set up correctly you will receive the following notifications below the Check Status button: CNAME Verified SSL Verified

Should I use a new custom tracking domain per account?

There are a couple of different ways to organize your custom tracking domains:

  • Organize them on a per-business basis - i.e., use a single custom tracking domain for multiple sending accounts. This would make sense if your primary domain is old/warmed up. If you're running a lead agency, this is what we would recommend.

  • Organize them based on the associated domain for the email account. For example, if you had [email protected] and [email protected], you may use inst.first.com for all email addresses associated with first.com and inst.second.com with all emails associated with second.com (and so on). This approach would make sense when all of your domains are new, or if you’re experimenting with a new campaign that could potentially have a negative impact your reputation. By creating separate groups, you can minimize the damage from a ‘bad’ campaign.

💡If you use Instantly's in-built warmup tool, you can automatically warm up the new tracking domains and accounts at the same time!

How Warm-Up Works and Why it's Important

The warmup functionality mimics human conversations between email accounts.

Think of it as you emailing back and forth with your friends - on autopilot.

But in this case, your ‘friends’ are other Instantly.ai users who have also enabled the warmup feature. You can be sure that all of them will open your email and a high percentage will write you back with a ‘thoughtful’ and positive sentiment.

The emails written by the Instantly AI algorithm signal to Google, Outlook, and others ESP’s that your email account and sending domain is relevant and legitimate.

This increases the likelihood that the messages that are sent to the cold leads in your outreach campaigns will also actually land in their inbox and subsequently be opened and replied to.

The bottom line is that the warmup will improve the deliverability of your cold email accounts by mimicking human conversations in the Instantly.ai user pool.

On top of the deliverability benefits, your outreach email accounts will also stay alive for longer and the likelihood of you ‘burning’ through an account is significantly lower.

How to Enable Warm-Up

To enable the warmup functionality, go to your Email Accounts section and click on the flame icon on the right-hand side for each email account.

1. By clicking directly on the flame icon

Go to the Email Accounts dashboard and click on the flame icon on the right-hand side for each email account to enable the warmup.

If the flame icon is grey, it means the warmup is not enabled. When you click the flame icon, it will turn green which means the warmup is enabled.

2. Through Account Settings

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How to change the warmup settings

In Instantly, there are two types of warmup settings:

  • Basic warmup settings

  • Advanced warmup settings (available on HyperGrowth and LightSpeed outreach plans)

You can change the warmup settings of each email account by clicking on the ‘Settings’ icon.

notion image

The warmup settings are already pre-filled with the suggested amounts. If you’d like to change them, click in the field and change the number for Increase per day, Daily limit, and the Reply rate %. And don’t forget to click the blue ‘Save’ button once you’re done. Check all the warmup settings here.

Below the ‘Increase per day’ field, you also have the option to Disable slow warmup.

This Disable slow warmup option is only recommended for older email accounts that are already warmed up. Don’t use this for new accounts. Newer accounts should be warmed up slowly and gradually (something Instantly automatically takes care of for you when you enable Warmup).

Creating And Editing Outreach Campaign

Creating A New campaign

To create a campaign, go to the left-hand side and click on the arrow. Once in the campaign overview, you’ll see the ‘+ ADD NEW” button on the top right.

As a next step, type in the name of your campaign. We suggest adding target audience parameters such as title, industry/niche, geo in the campaign name (e.g. Marketing Director_Advertising Agency_US) so you can more efficiently find and optimize your campaigns down the line.

Once you’ve typed in your campaign name click the blue Continue button and it will bring you to the next step. Now it’s time to add leads.

Adding Leads To A Campaign

Click on either one of the blue Import buttons to upload your leads, then choose the preferred method for uploading your leads, such as CSV file upload, manual email entry, or importing from Google Sheets, more lead import methods will be added down the line.

As a best practice, make sure that the leads you’re uploading are all verified. You can also check how to verify your leads here.

CSV file upload

Check this detailed guidance to upload your leads using a CSV file.

Lead Finder Import

Simply select the filters you need, and once happy with the result, select the number of leads and click "Add to campaign".

Bulk Insert Manually

To bulk insert or copy-paste a list of email addresses, simply paste it into the box and click on the blue button “Import emails >” below it.

Google Sheets Import

To import a lead list via Google Sheets, make the Google sheet publicly accessible and then paste the URL.

Check this detailed guidance to upload your leads using Google Sheets.

Creating Sequences

First Email and Follow-Up Steps

Paste your body copy and subject line into the first email that your leads will be receiving.

To add a step in your cold email sequence, simply click on “Add step”. You can also adjust the time delay between the steps. In Step 1, you can define how many days Instantly should wait before sending Step 2.

You can add as many follow-up steps as you’d like, although we recommend a maximum of 3-4 steps for most cold outreach campaigns.

Previewing And Testing Email Steps

To preview any email in your sequence and test it click on the eye icon on the bottom editing section.

A pop-up will appear where you can automatically see the preview of that email step. In the top left, you can also send out a test email to an email address you specify.

Inserting Variables And Other Editor Functionalities

Variable in the subject line

To insert a variable into the subject line click on the bolt icon next to the top-right blue Save button.

Variable in the body copy

To insert a variable in the body copy click on the bolt icon in the bottom editing section.

How To Add And Use Custom Variables

You can also import Custom Variables which will later show up in your email copy editor as the header name of that column.

For example, if you have a column with Title it will upload that as a Custom Variable, which you can later use in the copy as {{Title}} to dynamically insert the title of that contact.

When you upload custom variables they will show up as options in the email when you’re adding your variables in the email copy. Simply select the custom variable you want to use from there.

Adding Links/URLs

To insert a link into the body copy highlight the text that you want to hyperlink or select the link icon in the bottom editing section.

Insert Unsubscribe Link

If you want to add an unsubscribe link at the end of your emails click the respective icon in the bottom editing section, then click “Insert Unsubscribe Link”.

Cold Email Templates

Using Saved Templates

If you’re not quite sure what to write, we provide templates to get the creative juices flowing. To find the templates, simply click on the template icon in the bottom editor section.

Once you click the template icon a pop-up will appear with a wide selection of templates that Instantly provided to you as well as your own custom templates that you have saved in the past.

This allows you to set up a campaign even faster.

Saving Your Own Custom Templates

Once you’ve created your own email copy or made adjustments to an existing template, you can save that new version as a new template for future use as well.

Campaign Schedule

In the Schedule step of the campaign wizard, you can adjust the days of the week and the time frame in which Instantly sends to your leads.

Campaign Options

In the Options section of the Campaign wizard, you can select which email account to use for the sending and decide on the maximum number of emails to send per day.

You can also disable Open Tracking, Stop Sending emails on reply and auto-reply, or send emails as text only. Check all the campaign settings here.

Do a final check of your campaign setup and then hit the “🚀 Launch” button.

Advanced Email Body

Placeholder Values

When a mail merge variable isn’t available for a lead, we replace it with an empty string. However, you may want to have a default value for such cases.

Placeholder values are helpful when a mail merge variable isn’t available for a lead.

Here’s how you can use them:

Hi {{firstName | there,}}

In the above example, ‘there,’ will be used if the variable ‘firstName’ isn’t available for a lead.

You may also insert more than one placeholder value and the algorithm will pick one randomly.

Hello {{firstName | there, | friend,}}


Creating variations of sentences or words is pretty straightforward and can help you generate even more diverse email bodies for your leads.

{{RANDOM | Hello | Hi | Greetings!}},

Liquid Syntax

To use conditional logic with your email body, you may use Liquid syntax.

💡 This feature is currently in Beta - please contact us if you run into any issues

Using email open status

There are two special variables that you can use to change your email body according to whether a lead has opened your previous email steps:

  1. sequence_email_opened - Check if any of the previous steps (in the sequence) were opened

  2. last_email_opened - Check if the immediately previous step (in the sequence) was opened

{% if sequence_email_opened %} I see that you opened my email. Yay! 😃 {% else %} 😕 Please open my emails. {% endif %}

You may, of course, combine the above format with other variables:

Hi {{firstName}}, {% if sequence_email_opened %} Here's a special discount code for you. {% else %} Don't miss out on this deal for {{companyName}} {% endif %}
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