The Problem Of Landing In Gmail

There are a few browser based email service providers that are targeted by most email marketers. Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, and Microsoft Live aka Hotmail.

If you have noticed, some of these browser based email services filter incoming email into multiple tabs. Why is this important?

Well… because for example in Gmail, people tend to read their emails in the first two tabs: Primary and Social. There is also a third tab that people tend to not read…. the Promotion section.  
This presents a big problem for email marketers now especially if we are following a funnel based strategy. We now need to make sure that our emails are getting into the Primary and Social tabs.  
People need to read our emails, otherwise it is a wasted effort on our part. How do we optimize our email marketing process for this?


Focus on Gmail

Gmail is the most important browser based email service provider to follow because they set the highest standards as far as filtering protocols are concerned. They rate emails on the basis of reputation.  
There are four levels: High, Medium, Low, and Poor.

I will outline what requirements you need to hit in order to be optimized to land in that primary tab in Gmail and receive a high reputation. Armed with this knowledge you will better understand where and why your emails are landing there they do.

The Four Requirements


30% Or Bust

First, you need to achieve a 30% average open rate in Gmail. But that’s hard right? There’s not an easy way around it but this is a requirement for Gmail’s filtering system.

One tactic you can employ is removing subscribers and doctoring your list to include subscribers that respond to your emails the most. Go through your lists and look for subscribers that are unresponsive and are pulling down your average open rate and remove them from your list.

You can still keep them on your overall list but it’s going to be harder to sell to them using email.

Click Through Rates Matter

Second, you need to achieve an average click through rate of over 20%. You’ll want to have links in your email in order to measure this. Most of your emails should have at least one link with a CTA.

If you’re not doing this your reputation is at risk because this is the only way to get the email picked up by analytics. So please, going forward every email needs to have a link.

Ix-nay On The Omplaints-cay

Third, you need to have a complaint rate of under .1%. Basically you have to do anything and everything in your power to prevent your emails from being marked as spam. A good rule of thumb to avoid being labeled spam is to view your content as if you were a subscriber and see if it passes your own smell test.

Overall, to prevent being labeled spam, focus on improving your prospect’s email experience and avoid spammy subject lines. Communicate the important stuff, and don’t annoy your prospect.

IP Rep Is Crucial

Fourth, your domain and IP address reputation should be medium to high. You can find this out by using Google Postmaster Tools.

This is a tool that checks your deliverability reputation on Gmail. There are a few things you can do to improve and maintain your domain and IP address reputation.

However it mostly comes down to avoiding spammy behaviour like the plague and making sure your prospects are having a good email experience.

Ultimately it takes time, practice, and a careful watch on your analytics data to improve or maintain a good email reputation. Set expectations with your audience and deliver on your promises to keep them reading and responding.

Action Steps

  1. Achieve a 30% average open rate. Start by going through your lists and removing low-response subscribers.
  2. Achieve an average click through rate of over 20%. Make sure your emails have links to be trackable.
  3. Keep your complaint rate under .1%. Avoid spam.
  4. Achieve a medium to high Domain and IP address reputation. Manage your reputation by avoiding nasty spammy behavior.
  5. Use these 4 guidelines to improve your deliverability in Gmail.


Result You Will Achieve

A high reputation with Gmail and overall better email deliverability to increase your email response rates.

Mentor: Mick Olinik

CEO of Rockstar Coding. Mick Olinik is a leading marketing automation strategist.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.