According to Litmus, Gmail is the world’s most popular email client, with more than 1.5 billion global active users. As a result, Gmail is a leading email service provider that marketers can’t afford to overlook when it comes to inbox placement.
It’s essential for today’s marketers to follow Gmail’s ever-changing guidelines. If you aren’t mastering Gmail best practices, you could be losing opportunities to improve deliverability, boost campaign results, and effectively engage with a critical segment of your subscriber audience.
So what’s a marketer to do to ensure their messages aren’t getting flagged before they reach their Gmail customers? Read on to dive into fundamental tips for optimizing your email campaigns to meet Gmail’s latest deliverability guidelines and avoid their sophisticated spam filters.
Best Practices for Sending to Gmail
Gmail is notorious for setting high standards for email marketers sending to their servers. Their multifaceted algorithm for determining both the delivery of your emails and inbox placement takes into account a combination of personalization and reputation factors, in addition to user behavioral feedback.
As tempting as it may be to take shortcuts, Gmail will penalize you. Reduce the risk of your messages being sent to spam or blocked entirely by getting started with these general best practices.
- Ideally, stick to the same IP address. However, if you need to send from several IP addresses, designate a distinct IP addresses for different types of messages. For instance, appoint an IP address for distributing account notifications and another for sending promotional offers.
- Don’t mix and match. Avoid mixing different types of content in the same message. For example, don’t include messaging about an upcoming seasonal sale in an order confirmation email.
- Remember to verify your domain health. Regularly check to ensure your domain (and any domain linked to yours) isn’t flagged as unsafe, by using Google Safe Browsing status page.
- Don’t impersonate another domain or sender. Sending sample phishing emails or spoofing messages will result in Gmail categorizing your emails as spam. Even worse, your domain reputation can be significantly damaged or blacklisted.
6 Tips for Boosting Gmail Deliverability
Tip 1: Authentication is Key
Authenticated emails help to prevent malicious messages from reaching the inbox and are less often rejected by Gmail’s spam blocker. Ensure you’re following proper authentication protocols, including: Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC). Set up authentication methods for each of your sending domains and check for configuration errors to prevent legitimate emails from being blocked.
- A Sender Policy Framework (SPF) inhibits spammers from sending unauthorized emails that appear to be delivered from your domain.
- DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) helps servers verify that a message was indeed sent by the domain owner.
- DMARC is an email validation system that aids sender reputation and protects an email domain against spoofing scams and other cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Tip 2: Adhere to IP Address Best Practices
Ideally, you should consistently send from the same sending infrastructure and IP address. Utilizing a dedicated IP address makes it that much easier for Gmail to recognize you, ultimately simplifying the delivery path of your sends. Keep in mind that when using a shared IP, any other sender’s negative reputation will impact your own, as well as injure your delivery rate. If you use a shared IP for sending mail, Gmail advises that you continuously monitor for any internet blocklist.
Tip 3: Engagement is Everything
Quantity is not more important than quality when it comes your email database. To stay on Gmail’s good side, they recommend that you steer clear of purchasing lists and regularly audit your contact list. Improve your list hygiene by removing invalid email addresses and hard bounces. Suppress less engaged subscribers from your active sending list and win them back with a strategic, personalized re-engagement campaign.
Respect your subscriber’s wishes. Only send messages to contacts that have opted in to receiving your messages and avoid opt-in forms that are checked by default. Sending unwanted messages often leads to soaring spam complaints. In addition, always provide an unsubscribe option that is easy to find and complete. Allowing your users to opt out will assist in improve the key performance metrics of your sends, such as open rates, click-through rates, and sending efficiency.
Tip 4: Format your Messages for Optimal Delivery
Follow tried-and-true formatting guidelines to increase your chances of reaching the inbox. Use a valid and consistent from-name that’s easy for subscribers to identify. Make sure your subject lines are relevant and clear to avoid misleading recipients. Guarantee that all links and call-to-action buttons throughout the body of the message stand out and are easy to understand, so users know their next step and intended action. Keep away from using HTML and CSS to hide content within your email to dodge the dreaded spam folder.
Tip 5: Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It’s best to begin with a conservative sending volume, and then gradually ramp up the quantity over time. Avoid sending emails in bursts. Instead, distribute your messages across a steady-going cadence. If you increase your send volume and frequency too rapidly, you run the risk of a delivery dilemma and surge in spam complaints. As you mindfully map out and execute your email marketing plan, closely supervise your send rate, as well as subscriber response and engagement.
Sending the right message, at the right time is critical to your overall deliverability and subscriber satisfaction. If you’re seeing an uptick in deliverability problems and unsubscribes, you’ll need to adjust your email strategy. Consider allowing subscribers to customize the frequency at which they receive messages with a preference center. In addition, send less often to subscribers who don’t consistently engage with your emails to avoid overwhelming their inbox.
Tip 6: Always Monitor and Adjust
Regularly appraise the performance of your emails to identify and rectify factors that may be influencing your sender reputation and inbox placement. Leverage Gmail’s Postmaster Tools for actionable insights into issues that are hurting your deliverability, such as:
- When subscribers have flagged your messages as spam
- Causes for your message to experience a delivery error
- Recommendations for preventing your emails from being blocked
- What messages have passed or failed authentication standards
- Evaluation of the health and security of your domain and IP reputation
Double Down on Your Email Deliverability
As Gmail continuously adjusts the way they assign reputation scores and adapts their deliverability guidelines, ensure you’re reaching your subscribers by meticulously monitoring and improving your mailing practices.
Need hands-on help? Get in touch to talk with a marketing expert about how we can help you enhance your email marketing strategy to the fast-changing environment and ensure your emails are reaching your customers.