How to Reach Gmail’s Inbox Consistently
Updated: Feb 9
What if all your emails are heading straight to spam? And Gmail lands in Spam? Look no more we have the solution.
📧 Gmail judges you based on your recipients’ reactions
Gmail surpassed long-time heavyweight champion Apple Mail earlier this year. That makes it now the most popular inbox provider with nearly a 30% market share. Because of this, it pays to understand how Gmail determines your relevance. To do this Gmail relies on user feedback.
It tracks all the actions you make after receiving an email: flagging as spam, replying, deleting, clicking, moving it to the Junk folder. These explicit actions have a direct relation to how Gmail classifies the email for the given user.
In this way, Gmail favors emails that interest you, but penalize emails you flag, delete or leave unopened. Essentially, as long as you keep opening and replying to emails from Mom, Gmail will consider her information relevant, deliver her emails to your inbox and raise her sender reputation.
But emails from unfamiliar senders are more likely flagged or deleted, lowering their sender reputations and landing their subsequent emails in the spam folder. (This is true even for new, unrelated Gmail account holders.)
One of the most important metrics Gmail looks at when deciding where to place your message is how many replies your prior emails have elicited. Replies, after all, are the ultimate engagement, as they specifically react to the original message in detail.
But you do at least get a say!
Are you asking your readers to reply? Just making that single request can make a big difference. Of course, encourage replies with other questions, surprising content and relevant information as well, but don’t forget to ask directly for replies.
🔎 User behavior isn’t the only source of clues Gmail uses to establish an email’s relevance. It also looks at components of each email, like images and keywords Here are some tips to make the most of these elements and earn Gmail’s badge of approval:
✅Reduce the size of the images. Aim to be under 100 kb.
✅Reduce the number of links to 3 or less per email.
✅Experiment with the tone of your message. Marketing emails can feel redundant after awhile. Test what kind of tone resonates with your contacts the best. Maybe your messages can be more playful instead of professional.
🔑 Segmentation is key
However, keep in mind that these tips are useless if you only send your emails to an unengaged segment that won’t open your email. Sending your emails to engaged people will increase your sender reputation over time and ensure your email is delivered to the inbox consistently. Having a good idea of who’s going to open your emails before Gmail finds out can help you “stack the deck” in your favor.
That doesn’t mean that you’ll have to ignore your unengaged, either. By including them in small doses, you can slowly and carefully nurture the ones who are genuinely interested in your content, without sinking your sender reputation.
And in case you do accidentally include too many non-openers and your campaign’s open rate dives, have an email targeting your highly engaged waiting in the wings. This way you can easily send a follow-up campaign that you know will earn an open rate high enough to offset the initial one. Sender reputation is recalculated weekly, so even Gmail gives second chances in most cases. Just watch your stats and be quick to respond.
Actionable steps to take when facing spam Issues:
1️⃣Deactivate all the current flows except for your most highly engaging: Welcome and Cart Abandonment.
2️⃣Remake the templates as plain text as possible and leave only 2 emails per flow. Leaving more emails will get lower open rates, harming deliverability.
3️⃣Make a pop-up, and give people an incentive to subscribe. Use a strong lead magnet like, for example, a discount. Don’t display the discount code in the thankyou pop-up; simply explain that you have emailed the discount. Since your recipients want the discount, this “trains” them to open your emails and even recover them from spam if necessary. This will boost your sender reputation.
4️⃣ Add a success image after they subscribe via the pop-up. It should say “If you don’t find your discount code please check your Promo and Spam folders.” Messages like this will encourage recipients to look in the Spam folder if they don’t immediately find it in the inbox.
5️⃣Create a segment of highly engaged people that opened or clicked at least 1 email recently. You can play around with the time frame until you identify a segment with an open rate of more than 20%. Make sure to exclude email addresses that bounced or are suppressed.
6️⃣ Start sending them regular campaigns. Make sure they are relevant and interesting for the segment’s recipients by including compelling promos, unique offers and content them that makes them feel special. The main purpose is to make them open the emails.
What If your list is brand new?
When doing email marketing in a brand new account, the best thing is to start sending campaigns only to engaged people that will open your emails. This is called “warming the list.” For example, recent buyers and recent subscribers are strong prospects for an engaged audience. At first, your email list will be small, but you can build it up if you keep them engaged and you run enough traffic to your website.
It’s crucial that you get good open rates. Since you are sending emails from a fresh account you don’t have a sender reputation yet. But you can rapidly get a good reputation by sending to engaged people during this Warm Up period when inbox providers like Gmail are evaluating you. Trust me: it is much easier to start with the right foot than messing up and trying to solve a deliverability problem later. This will save you a lot of time and frustration.