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 email deliverability best practices.
- Ideally, stick to the same IP address. However, if you need to send from several IP addresses, designate distinct IP addresses for different types of messages. For instance, appoint one 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 promotional messaging about an upcoming seasonal sale in a transactional email.
- Remember to verify your domain health. Regularly check to ensure your domain (and any linked domain) isn't flagged as unsafe, by checking in Google Safe Browsing tool.
- 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 blocklisted.
5 Tips for Boosting Gmail Deliverability
Tip 1: Be Mindful of Message Size
Gmail has strict file size limits - emails with a HTML file size exceeding 102KB are considered too long. When Gmail's limit is surpassed, the remaining content in your message is clipped with a "View entire message" link.
This means critical elements of your email could be hidden (including your unsubscribe link), increasing the likelihood that the rest of your message goes unread, while resulting in an inferior user experience that could lead to negative subscriber engagement.
Avoid content from being cut off and prevent a poor UX by always completing inbox preview testing to inspect and confirm that your source code is within the threshold. To decrease file size, optimize your sends by writing concise messaging, and clean your code by removing unnecessary attributes, tags, and whitespace.
(Note: Gmail only takes HTML file size in consideration, images will not contribute to the size of your email.)
Tip 2: Supervise Send Volume
To steer clear of subscriber fatigue and support subscriber satisfaction, Gmail has specific policies and guidelines regarding bulk sending practices. For senders using a G Suite or Gmail account to deliver their messages, there are restrictions on the number of messages users can send per day, as well as the number of recipients per message.
If a limit is exceeded, an error message will occur and you must wait up to 24 hours to resume sending emails. To reduce the risk of maxing out your allowed sending volume:
- Stay up-to-date with Gmail's latest email sending limits.
- Send mass communications over several days, when needed.
- Segment your audience to send relevant and timely emails to targeted groups.
Tip 3: Overcome Gmail's "Passive" Opt-Out Feature
To deliver subscribers a better email experience, Gmail actively prompts users to unsubscribe from promotional emails they haven't opened or interacted with within the last 30 days or more.
Based upon how frequently users receive and open emails from a specific sender, the automated feature enables them to unsubscribe from unwanted messages in just one click for a clutter-free inbox.
Prevent an uptick in opt-outs, amplify your engagement metrics, strengthen your deliverability rates by:
- Regularly cleansing your send lists to suppress unengaged subscribers and remove inactive contacts.
- Running a personalized reengagement campaign to reconnect with sleepy subscribers.
- Sending a reactivation campaign to survey your audience's interests and better understand what content they'd like to receive.
- Optimizing your email cadence to ensure you're sending the right messages, at the right time.
- Allowing subscribers to adjust their email frequency or temporarily hit snooze.
Tip 4: Consistency and Content Matter
Gmail provides a tabbed inbox experience, using machine learning to classify and organize user's mail into categories, such as: Primary inbox, Promotions tab, Social tab, and more. As a result, Gmail recommends that you dedicate a specific email address for sending different message types.
Ideally using the same IP address, create separate "from" email addresses to deliver consistent content coming from the same sender. This helps to provide an improved inbox experience, so subscribers can more easily recognize the purpose of your message and ensure the email lands in the appropriate inbox tab.
For instance, establish recognizable from addresses to:
- Deliver transactional emails, such as purchase receipts and order confirmations, from email@example.com
- Send promotional emails and special offers from firstname.lastname@example.org
- Provide important account notifications, updates, and alerts from email@example.com
Tip 5: 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.
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