It is not surprising that webmail providers have tools and filters in place to ensure that email user inboxes are not flooded with spam. However, an email marketer may face difficulties in reaching customer inboxes if they do not comply with best practices or avoid spam traps. In a previous post, we provided 7 tips to stop Hotmail from blocking your emails. With this post, we hope to shed some light on the ways that you can steer clear of Gmail blocking your emails.
A Little Background on Gmail
Publicly released in 2004, Gmail is a popular webmail service produced by Google. Boasting a substantial 1.5 billion users, Gmail is a leader in the world of email service providers. Any person using a private Gmail account (ending with @gmail.com), as well as any work or educational institution accounts linked to Google Workspace, is considered a Gmail user.
Naturally, with the increasing number of Gmail users, Gmail has put in place the tools to combat spammers and fraudulent accounts. Unfortunately, this can mean that marketers can face blocked emails and messages marked as spam for any number of reasons. The following advice can help you avoid your sending rate being restricted, your messages being blocked or your emails being marked as spam.
Reasons Your Emails are Getting Blocked
There might be several reasons that your emails are getting blocked by Gmail. First, you might be sending out emails that combine various types of content, such as promotions and receipts. Not only does this decrease the value of the message, it can also decrease your reputation as a sender.
A second reason for blocked emails could be the sending of test email campaigns from your domain. “Your domain’s reputation might be negatively affected, and your domain could be added to internet blocklists.” (Gmail Help)
Third, the practice of spoofing is a guaranteed way of landing your emails in spam. Spoofing is the act of creating and sending out emails whilst masquerading as another sender or domain.
Best Practices to Follow
So, you have not behaved in the previous three ways but your emails are still getting blocked? Fortunately, there are best practices in place for you to follow to ensure that your email delivery succeeds.
Sending out Emails
Make sure that any messages you email are sent out from the same IP address. If you are reliant on several IP addresses, make sure that the messages you send out from one IP address are all the same content-wise. For example, you can have one IP address dedicated to newsletter delivery and another dedicated to transactional messages. Additionally, best practice would be to send out similar messages from the same email address. Examples of this include,
- “Purchase receipt messages: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Promotional messages: email@example.com
- Account notification messages: firstname.lastname@example.org” (Gmail Help)
In a previous post, we wrote about several tips to increase your Hotmail deliverability. Email authentication is just as consequential in that case as it is in the case of Gmail.
“Email authentication is a technological verification of the origin of an email message and is one of the many ways the industry is resolving the challenge of spam. Authenticating your emails is important to secure a positive reputation and earn an ISP’s trust in your brand, with more chance an ISP will actually deliver your email. Without email authentication, you will never get great email delivery, plus it is good to protect yourself against spoofing. The three most important email authentication protocols are:
- SPF – Sender Policy Framework: You achieve authentication by having IP addresses published in your DNS.
- DKIM – Domainkeys Identified Mail: This assigns a digital signature to a domain to allow it to associate its name with an email message. Verification is achieved using a signer’s public key as published in DNS.
- DMARC – Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance: SPF and DKIM must exist for DMARC to work. DMARC is a powerful tool that offers an added layer for authentication. It directs a receiving server on how to handle emails that fail SPF and DKIM validation.” (Inboxroad)
Email Engaged Subscribers/Users
Another best practice to follow as a means of ensuring a high sender reputation and limiting the chances of having your emails blocked by Gmail is to email your engaged subscribers. You can do this by implementing the following in your email campaigns.
Maintain data quality and use double opt-in
When you continuously send your messages to bad email addresses, you risk hard bounces. This ultimately leads to a negative sender reputation and you might be considered a spammer. To avoid this, make sure to consistently examine your email list and weed out any bad data.
Using a double opt-in subscription form also ensures that the emails you send out are directed towards interested and engaged subscribers. “When you develop a double opt-in process, it guarantees that your email subscribers are truly interested in the content you send out and want to be on your list. This essentially means they are a more engaged audience, and are far more likely to open and interact with your emails.” (Inboxroad)
Compose engaging emails
Keeping customers engaged with your emails also entails composing messages that peak their interests. (This post explains several ways that you can go about composing engaging emails and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Easy ways to unsubscribe
While it is not desirable to lose subscribers, having them mark you as spam is even more harmful to your email marketing. Make it easy for users to unsubscribe to your emails and stay on the safe side. At Inboxroad, we recommend including a list unsubscribe header to avoid any possible spam complaints.
Grow and maintain your email contact list
Ethically increasing your email contact list with engaged users is a great way to make sales. In this post, we outlined the organic and ethical steps that you can take to grow your list. From easy sign-ups to customer reviews, growing and maintaining your list of engaged users can help in building a strong sender reputation.
Warm-Up Your IP
Finally, a best practice that you should follow before you send out your emails is IP warm-up. This process, albeit time-consuming, is essential to developing a strong reputation with any email service provider. This post includes expert information on why IP warm-up matters and how you can succeed in it.
Just like any other webmail service, Gmail filters emails for spam to protect the user. By following these best practices and being consistent with your email marketing, you can rest assured that your emails will get delivered to your customers’ inboxes.