“How can I get to the inbox at Gmail?”. Probably one of the most common questions from email marketers we get at ReachMail.
We recently attended the Email Sender and Provider Coalition semi-annual meeting in Palo Alto in May, Gmail’s Product Manager Sri Harsha Somanachi had these suggestions to get into the Gmail inbox:
- Personalize as much as possible – Gmail empowers users to control their inbox. If your email ends up in the bulk folder and the user marks your email as “Not Spam” Gmail will weigh this heavily in your favor and lean towards placing your email into the inbox. How should you personalize? Consider:
- Segregating your non-openers – This will keep your spam complaints down. (Here’s how it’s done in ReachMail)
- Personalizing content – Use the subscribers history to send them a unique appeal. Possible options beyond their name include product purchase history, website usage and to a lesser extent demographic data including age, geography and gender.
- Take seed list inbox data with a grain of salt. If your seed list is bulking that may not necessarily reflect bulk folder placement. Seed lists such as Return Path’s Inbox Monitor may not show user engagement like actual subscribers. Somanchi said that when he gets complaints of seed lists bulking, he often see actual subscribers inboxing.
- Send from a consistent sending IP – Gmail still strongly measures your sending IP reputation. Don’t switch it up.
- Use GMail’s Postmaster Tools You can check on your sending reputation and can see the trendline in how your email is perceived by Gmail.
- Starting new? Start extremely slowly – If you have a new brand or domain, Somanchi recommends starting very small. Send just 10 emails per day and ramp up only by a factor of 1.
- Warm-up ALL your sending infrastructure - Gmail looks at everything – your sending IP, the “From” domain, DKIM, SPF and the “from” header. If you change just one of those – (e.g. from domain), you need to warmp-up all over again.
- Screw up? Take a break - If you send an email that severely damages your reputation – don’t “mail through”. Rest your sending infrastructure at least 3 or 4 days, correct the issue and start very slowly again.
- Enable one-click unsubscribe - Top brands know that making it easy to unsubscribe dramatically cuts down on “spam” complaints. Don’t feel like making it easy? Your subscribers will mark your mail as “spam” if it’s difficult to opt-out. Here’s how it looks:
To enable one-click unsubscribe, Gmail states “Provide a ‘List-Unsubscribe’ header which points to an email address or a URL where the user can unsubscribe easily from future mailings. (Note: This is not a substitute method for unsubscribing.) “ Check out more at ReachMail.