Are Your Gmails Going to Spam?

This is the most common problem that people come to me with.  Their Gmail subscribers are going to spam.  Most email marketers care, because at least 85% of their list is Gmail.  I’m guessing that you’ve hopped from every ESP, SMTP and MTA service world-wide.  You’ll find an “ok” ESP/SMTP/MTA but they are kicking you out OR the cost is too high for the dismal open rates.  If this sounds like you, keep reading.

All My Gmails Were Going To The Inbox

Three years ago, email marketing was easy.  You needed basic engagement and you’d hit the inbox.  However, there were many email marketers on the scene, making a lot of money with insane open rates (20-40%).  The beauty was, you could “pay to play”.  Let me explain.  I could get a GOOD IP from an SMTP provider, probably more than one, OR I could leverage an ESP’s IPs to get into the inbox.  It worked and it was great times for all.  We all made lots of money and paid a lot for our leads.  However, something was happening behind the scenes.

Gmail subscribers were getting SLAMMED with emails all day long.  To the point where people were looking for alternative providers.  Gmail had a problem, they needed to tweak their algorithm to allow GOOD emails in the inbox but to also thwart the aggressive email marketer.  They quickly realized that pay-to-play was NOT the way to do it.

Gmail Inbox Algorithm Change

The biggest change to the Gmail Inbox Algorithm was this:  We’ll still reward good IPs, but we’re going to put more weight on domains.  Initially, marketers started seeing MASSIVE drops in their Gmail open rates.  I sure did!  Churn and burn domain buying tactics were less effective, and WAY less cost-effective, as they have been in the past.  Even going through the BEST IPs, Amazon/Mandrill, my open rates weren’t adding up.

Google’s new algorithm works something like this:

  1. The IP gets you through the gates
    1. If the IP score is HIGH, you are more likely to land in the inbox
    2. If the IP score is neutral or new, you are more likely to land in the spam folder
    3. If the IP score is POOR or BAD, you WILL land in the spam folder…providing you make it through the gates.
      1. Continued BAD/POOR reputation, combined with more sending (or even consistent sending) will likely cause 4xx errors, meaning that you are being GreyListing.
      2. Past GreyListing, you will see 5xx errors, meaning that your IP is being blacklisted.
        1. A blacklisted IP will NOT be able to send for a few days.
          1. Blacklisted IPs regain their “neutral” status after 30-60 days.  It’s not like Gmail can block IPv4, there’s only a finite amount of it.
  2. The DOMAIN ultimately gets you into the inbox
    1. If the domain is NEW, you will inbox with roughly 10% of your blast.  So, that 100k blast that you did, only roughly 10k of it will hit the inbox.
      1. Of that 10%, Gmail slowly lets it into the inbox, if somebody initially clicks spam…that’s it game over.  It’s almost impossible to recover from that.
      2. However, if that 10% engages WELL with your emails, the next blast will see substantially MORE opens/clicks.
    2. If the domain reputation is BAD or POOR, you need a new domain.  It’s too time consuming to repair poor Domain reputation.

This is all well and good, but the real problem is that Gmail has NO Feedback Loop. Gmail realized that making NO public feedback loop would cause internet marketers to rethink their sending strategies.  Ultimately,Gmail doesn’t want their bandwidth clogged up with junk, nor do they want to over inundate their users with emails, going back to the original issue of users wanting to leave Gmail because they are getting spam-bombed all day long.  This lack of a feedback loop wasn’t a bad problem 3 years ago, but now with Gmail’s algorithm change, it has caused us marketers to think outside the box, WAY outside the box.

That’s where IP Oven comes in.  Initially, IP Oven’s plan was to send transactional emails through your server and raise your IP reputation so that you could hit the inbox.  The idea made sense and we could have continued selling it all day long.  However, the underlaying problem was this:  What happens when YOU start sending YOUR emails to YOUR list?  You have the same same exact issue that you initially had with the other ESPs, as well as being out even more money and time:  Gmails are going to spam.

We couldn’t offer this service, so we went offline for about 6 months.  We’ve been researching, connecting with other email marketers/ESPs/Deliverability Experts.  The problem is simple and it’s the same problem that the seasoned email marketer faces as well as the brand new email marketer: emails going to spam.  How do you fix that?  The answer is: Quality Data!

Sure, you pay for advertising and your leads come in.  You run them through some sanitization to make sure that it’s a real email.  And, sometimes, they even double opt-in.  Yet, STILL, as time goes on, your emails are going to spam.  It’s not you, it’s THEM!  It’s your subscribers.  There’s a psychological aspect to all of this that is overlooked almost 100% of the time.  I sign up for JUNK just to get what I want, which is typically on the very next page.  Then, I’m done with you.  I don’t care about what you are trying to sell me on, in fact, I’m irritated with you.  Admittedly, I click SPAM! However, I have a good friend that opens every email she gets, even the ones in spam.  She clicks the links and NEVER once would click the spam button.  NEVER.  She thinks it’s rude, almost like you are unfriending somebody on Facebook.  She MIGHT unsubscribe to you, but NEVER EVER would click Spam.  We had more conversations with more people and have found that most people are like me or like her, however, there’s a correlation between the two of us.  I might click on 1 or two of your links, but still click spam.  She will click on 50-90% of your emails and NEVER clicks spam.  At this point, the problem became analytical.  We started refactoring IP Oven into a new service.

IP Oven no longer sends transactional emails through your server.  What we do is score your data and then feed your GOOD data into an auto-responder after it passed our algorithm.  The end result is an email list of ALL TLDS (gmail, aol, yahoo, hotmail, cables, GI) that actually want to hear from you.  We see open rates as high as 70%.  You don’t have to worry about who’s good and who’s bad, we take care of that for you.  You are free to export your data at any time or continue using our Email Servers to deliver your emails.

Here’s how IP Oven works.  You continue mailing your data through your existing ESPs/SMTPs/MTAs, but your click tracking link will send the email into your IP Oven account.  Our algorithm scores the email for engagement and once it’s met the criteria, it’s then sent into an auto-responder (while the user is still in their inbox!).  This gives you excellent engagement, a HIGH domain score, a HIGH IP score and keeps all of your future emails going to the inbox.  You will have a very refined list of super-clickers that really want what you are offering.

We work with all industries and we look forward to working with you!

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