Being marked as spam is every email marketer’s worst nightmare and unfortunately with the recent alterations to the way that Gmail handles marketing emails, it’s all too easy for your bad dream to become an uncomfortable reality.

Recent changes to the way that Gmail categorizes email means that senders are now scored according to their relationship with recipients. A high score can get you straight into your recipients’ inboxes, while a low score can leave you with a one way ticket to the spam folder.

The good news is there are a few things you can do to help ensure you reach your audience and your emails don’t get marked as spam. Read on to find out what they are.

Why do some emails get through and others don’t?

In a bid to reduce the amount of spam clogging up their readers’ inboxes, Gmail has developed specific indicators it uses to decide whether an email is likely to be a spam email or whether the recipient wants to receive it.

If Gmail decides that an email from you is spam, it will be diverted directly to the junk mail folder which, if you are an email marketer, is bad news.

There are a number of different factors that Gmail takes into consideration when deciding whether or not a message should be classed as spam. These include the content and links contained within the message and the specific IP address of the sender.

However, the main factor is recipient engagement and if you want your message to arrive in your readers’ inboxes, this is the area you will need to focus on.

What is recipient engagement?

Recipient engagement is measured by how much your recipients interact with your marketing emails. Interactions can include email opens, skim reads, archives, deleting without opening, reporting as spam, link clicks and just about everything else a reader can do with an email.

Interactions can be positive, for example opening an email or clicking on a link within it, or they can be negative, for instance, marking an email as spam or deleting it without opening.

The more positive interactions readers have with your email the more likely Gmail is to give you a high score and ensure that future emails arrive in your recipients inboxes.

The larger the number of negative interactions that are registered, the more likely it is that you will be condemned to the spam folder.

How can I improve my recipient engagement?

Here are six things you can do to improve your recipient engagement, increase your sender score and reduce the chance that your emails will end up in the junk mail folder.

1. Create attention grabbing emails that your readers just have to click on. This will naturally boost engagement and ensure that you go straight to their inboxes in the future.
2. Encourage recipients to add you to their Gmail address book
3. Ask recipients to mark your email address as ‘not spam’
4. Remind users to click on the ‘always display images from this address’ button when they are downloading images.
5. Create Gmail specific campaigns which have a targeted call to action and subject line for Gmail users.
6. Remove inactive users or take steps to re-engage them.

When it comes to making sure your emails get through on Gmail, recipient engagement is the crucial factor.

Do you have any tips for better recipient engagement? We’d love to hear them!

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