10 tips for leveling up your Gmail deliverability

10 tips for leveling up your Gmail deliverability

- Updated: April 7, 2024 - 12 minutes read

When sending emails with Gmail, there are few things really important to make sure your campaign is a success. Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieving a solid Gmail deliverability.

Email deliverability is what ensures your target audience reads and engages with your content, it’s the first defense against the dreaded spam folder and the all-important factor that decides whether your email gets to where it needs to go or bounces off its destination. With different email services having different approaches for distinguishing between spam and genuine correspondence, tuning up your emails for maximum deliverability is essential.

It just so happens Gmail also has one of the most stringent algorithms out there for testing emails for spam, so you’ll need to get yours in shape if you want to break through to the reading stage.

With that in mind, we’ve collected together some of the most reliable best practices for you to carry out when designing your email campaigns to maximize email deliverability to Gmail addresses. These are Gmail bulk sender’s guidelines, designed to help you pump up your open rates, your Gmail reputation and your email engagement:

1. Warm-up your Gmail account

Warm-up your Gmail account

Gmail is always on the lookout for spammy email accounts that are designed to flood email inboxes with scams and viruses.

Since most of these are sent from brand new accounts or accounts that have been inactive for a while, it stands to reason that however respectable your intentions may be with your campaign, sending emails from a new account can drag your deliverability right down.

If you want to send bulk emails in Gmail without getting blocked, make sure your email account is nicely warmed up. Start with a few emails to a small group of recipients (20-50 people) and try to focus on open rates and engagement. As time goes on and results go up, start to grow your lists as you go, keeping the best practices recommended by Google in mind at all times.

Recommended reading: Email warmup has been trending lately in the email industry, so we have made an extensive guide on email warm-up with a ranking of the best tools available. You'll learn why it's useful, how it works and which service you should use.

2. Collect responses and reply back

Collect responses and reply back

Nail the first impression! Just like when meeting someone in real life, first impressions count with your Gmail emails – though not in quite the same way.

The first email you send for your mail merge to new recipients should be entirely focused on getting as much engagement as you can.

Gmail loves to see that first email getting clicks or replies from readers who are interested. It sets a deliverability precedent for the rest of the campaign.

3. Personalize your emails 

Personalize your emails

Everyone likes to feel special. Personalizing emails will be of tremendous help in order to boost your Gmail deliverability, and thus replies you can get.

The problem is: nobody is fooled anymore by an email beginning with the age-old personalized greeting “Hi {{ firstname }}”. Though it’s a good first step to add a personal touch with your recipient’s name, try also taking the advantage of the endless personalization possibilities offered by a mail merge.

Personalizing the subject line is effective when it comes to increasing your deliverability. Here’s a good example of a personalized email subject: ”{{ Mutual connection }} recommended we talk”

You can also personalize the email content to be perfectly targeted at your segmented audience. For example, you can insert custom links, pictures, bullet points or post-scriptums. If you want to grab some inspiration, we compiled the best email templates.

4. Write like a human

Write like a human

The best advice we can give here: write your email as if you were writing a text message to someone you know.

What does a good email copy look like?

  • It’s short and concise (4 - 5 sentences is the perfect length).

  • It’s personalized and resonates with your recipients’ interests.

  • It doesn’t look fishy: no spam triggers words, a limited amount of exclamation marks, no UPPERCASE abuses, simple formatting (one font, 1 or 2 colors at most).

  • The email structure is simple and clean. The email should contain more text than images (what we call the “image-to-text ratio”) and have a simple HTML structure, so prefer plain-text emails when you can.

  • It’s sent by someone real: add a profile picture (see below) and a simple signature. Again, try not to insert a complex HTML signature: the simpler, the better. Also, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated account for sending, named after a person.

5. Give your account a profile picture

ive your account a profile picture

It’s a simple fix but there’s a good chance it can improve your open rates and for that reason, it’s well worth the five minutes it’ll take to do it – give your email account a profile picture.

Having a profile picture in effect works the same way as the ‘giving the name a face’ technique. Not only does it create a sense of familiarity in your inbox, but it will also help your readers associate the good quality content your produce with your brand.

Ideally, use a human profile picture for your account – you’ll get an improved open rate and the human presence will go a long way to convincing your readers that there is a real-life person behind each of your emails, creating familiarity and fostering a connection. We noticed substantial increases (+20-30%) in engagement rates when switching from a neutral picture, like a brand logo, to a real face.

6. Don’t track opens and clicks 

Don't track opens and clicks 

I know, this sounds super counterintuitive. If you can, avoid tracking your emails. Why?

Beyond privacy aspects, there’s a matter of email deliverability to consider when tracking emails. Indeed, tracking emails can affect negatively your email engagement rates. This is because the tracking technology used to know when people opened or clicked can be detected by anti-spam filters.

Most email solutions are clever enough to prevent that from happening, but still that’s something to be addressed if you are looking to optimize your Gmail deliverability.

Our recommendations here would be to track your emails in the first stage of your email campaign. As soon as you start having promising results (you know for example that you can expect a 40% opening rate on average), try turning off email tracking and focus on other engagement metrics, such as the number of replies you receive.

7. Keep your address list clean and up to date

Keep your address list clean and up to date

A healthy address list is where every good mail merge starts. Having a well-researched, prudently kept a register of recipients ensures you minimize bounce rates and maximize returns. We call this address list hygiene.

You’ll want a list of people who may actually want to engage with your emails and you’ll want to ensure you aren’t sending material out to emails that are invalid or outdated. If you’re sending emails that are getting no engagement or worse yet, bouncing completely, Gmail’s algorithm will take action. There are many email verification services you can use to validate your email list.

We’d say the first place to start with list hygiene is to track down email accounts yourself and through your own research. You can collect consent through your website’s email link for example, far better than relying on the information from a purchased email address list. Stay away from emailing list you can find on the internet, build your own instead.

8. Add in an unsubscribe option

Add in an unsubscribe option

Having a clear and obvious unsubscribe option ensures that you can shave off the recipients on your Gmail mail merge who don’t want to read your emails.

The more recipients who don’t open your emails, the worse the Gmail Postmaster will see your deliverability. For that reason, it’s far, far better to ensure that recipients who don’t want your emails can opt-out easily than to have them stay and reduce your deliverability – that’s where Gmail-list unsubscribe buttons come in handy.

If the reader does choose to unsubscribe, and this is important, make sure you accept their request immediately. Not only will this protect you from any legal ramifications but it will also speed through their removal from your email list so you don’t end up sending them any more comms.

9. Make sure your messages are authenticated

Make sure your messages are authenticated

Unsurprisingly, authenticity is a big deal when leveling up the deliverability of your campaigns. Authenticating your domains and emails can give things an easy and simple boost to your engagement and open rates, keeping your emails safe from the Gmail promotions folder or worse, the junk folder.

An authentication is a form of identification for your emails. Email services like Gmail use it to track your email, to see where it’s come from, and ensure that it isn’t fraudulent or spam. There are different forms of authentication, but the more you can provide for your domain, the better your deliverability will be.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance), and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) are some good examples, and ideally, you should have all of these in place before you send your first email.  Google made a complete guide on how to authenticate your account to ensure delivery and prevent spoofing.

10. Avoid sending too many emails at once

Avoid sending too many emails at once

It can be tempting to send emails in bulk in the hope to get faster results. However, you face the risk of getting blocked when you reach Gmail’s sending limits or if your results are poor (a lot of emails ending up bouncing or landing in spam).

Gmail is bound to block your emails if your sending meet one of these conditions:

  • Around 10 recipients in your campaign marked your email as spam

  • Around 10 emails fell into your recipients’ spam folder

  • Your account is new and starts sending a lot of emails out of the blue

The solution is to stagger mass communications over several days. For large campaigns, try sending messages to one group of recipients, wait 24 hours, and then send to another group. Lastly, using a proper mail merge solution that handles deliverability aspects for you will save you from stressful situations (e.g. Mailmeteor has an autopilot feature that throttles emails deliverabililty).

Bonus: Use Mailmeteor, mail merge for Gmail 

Those are some of our best tips for developing a watertight email deliverability strategy around your campaigns, but our final trick for getting your emails read and engaged with is to use a tailormade mail merge tool like Mailmeteor.

We are the top-rated Gmail mail merge tool on the market today, trusted by 5 million users, helping them land their emails in the inboxes of interested and switched-on customers.

We priorities efficiency, privacy, and results above everything else, with easy-to-create email templates, contacts brought straight from Google Sheets, and complete personalization options for deliverability-boosting practices.

This guide was written by Jean Dubrulle, Mailmeteor’s cofounder. Mailmeteor is a simple & privacy-focused emailing software. Trusted by millions of users worldwide, it is often considered as the best Gmail mail merge to send mass personalized emails. Give us a try and let us know what you think!

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