Email Delivery Tips for Marketing to Gmail Users

email deliveryIn a relatively short period of time, Gmail has become the email delivery service provider of choice for over a billion users around the world. That’s pretty amazing considering that its a free, advertising-supported email service which launched just 13 years ago – making it the youngest rival to the likes of Hotmail, AOL, and Yahoo.

The success of Gmail can be attributed to the fact that users of Android devices, Google Play Store, Google Chrome browser, Google Drive, Google+ and other services must have an account with them. Gmail is also accessible for users through the mobile apps for both Android and iOS and is also configurable for syncing emails through POP and IMAP protocols.

Email Delivery: FeedBack Loop

FeedBack Loops (FBLs) can help large volume senders identify campaigns in their traffic that are receiving large complaints from Gmail users. With FBL, the email service providers can detect abuse of their services and take the necessary actions to counter that. You can find out more about Gmail’s Feedback loop here.

Email Delivery: Whitelist

Email Whitelists are lists of IP addresses from which users are expecting to receive legitimate emails from. When an IP address is added to your whitelist, most of the emails sent from that IP will not be marked spam and will be delivered immediately. The Email Whitelist feature is available on G Suite. You can read more about it here.

Email Delivery: Postmaster Tools

With Gmail’s Postmaster Tools you can analyze and monitor your email performance to help Gmail route your messages to the right place.  You can find out more about it here.

Gmail Delivery Tips

Here are 8 tips to help you stay in Gmail’s good books:

  • Make sure that your list contains users who have confirmed opt-in. This is very important as it provides explicit permission from the users to avoid any “mark spam” actions from them.
  • Have a clear and seamless “unsubscribe” process. It is important to add the users who unsubscribe to the “do not email” list.
  • Take care in promoting affiliate products. Gmail is not the friendliest place to do affiliate marketing, so you might want to pass on this.
  • Avoid using shortened links. Thanks to the spammers, URL shortening services like bit.ly have been used too much for all the wrong reasons that it is best to avoid them.
  • Check the sending IP against blacklists. This should be a continuous, ongoing process to ensure your IPs are healthy.
  • Pay special attention to engagement.  Gmail is particularly sensitive to whether your email list is interacting with your email sends.  If too many of your addresses do not engage, you are likely to end up in the Gmail bulk folder.  You can optimize your Gmail engagement by periodically segmenting your list into 2 groups: one that has opened your emails recently (within 30-90 days) and another group who has not.  Send to your engaged Gmail users as you normally do.  Send less frequently or with special messaging to your less engaged Gmail users to try to bring them back to your active list.  The overall effect is that your engagement percentage is higher and more of your email is delivered to the inbox!

Improve Engagement

Despite all the safety measures and standard delivery tips to stay off blacklists and out of spam folders, things are tightening up, thanks to the recent changes to email categorization by Gmail.  According to these changes, senders are scored according to the relationship that they have with the recipients.

An important element of this relationship is the actual content of your emails and the kind of engagement that you’re pulling out of it.  Google now measures the recipient engagement, meaning the level of interaction from the recipient your marketing emails are able to get.  This includes, but is not limited to: email opens, archives, skim reads, deleting without opening, link clicks and of course, reporting as spam.

More positive interactions from readers will likely get you a higher score, ensuring direct delivery of future emails in their inboxes. So how do you get these positive interactions? Here are 5 tips to get you started:

  1. Have attention-grabbing subject lines that intrigue the readers to the point of clicking on them. This blog by Hubspot should help.
  2. Ask the recipient to mark your email address as ‘not spam’.
  3. Encourage the recipient to add you to their address book on Gmail.
  4. Tell users to make sure they click on ‘always display images from this address’ button when downloading the images.
  5. Make sure you either remove inactive users from your list or work to re-engage with them.

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