The NCAA Tournament started last Thursday which means that sports fanatics all over the country are consuming massive quantities of $0.99 Doritos, developing calluses changing channels frantically and going cross-eyed staring at their brackets. What I didn’t count on was Gmail joining the the festivities and filtering a significant amount of email to the junk folder!
On Monday the 23rd of March, Gmail filtered over 20% of all messages to the spam folder. This dip in deliverability was quickly followed with a 2nd day of record low deliverability with almost 14% of all messages winding up in the spam folder. Is Gmail upset that Stanford didn’t make it into the tournament and Cal did?
Whatever the case for the drop in deliverability, maybe March is the new Thanksgiving and no one told me, regardless there are some solid recommendations I can offer for ensuring that your mail stream has the best possible chance to make the inbox with nothing but net:
- Make sure you’re signing email authentication and the signatures are valid. Not having a signature isn’t as bad as signing with a broken one. At the very least you should sign with SPF and if you can DKIM.
- Make sure that your HTML is W3C compliant and up to the latest standards.
- Make sure that your sending IP has a valid reverse DNS lookup.
- Ensure that your WHOIS Information is up to date and completely filled out. Making yourself easier to contact helps differentiate you from spammers who don’t want to be contacted or found out.
- Consider using the ‘Precedence: Bulk’ X-Header. This is a simple static X-Header that can be added to your email headers which helps identify the mail as promotional.
- Know your affiliate partners. Don’t included content, URLs or IPs in your emails unless you are certain the owner of the URLs and IPs adheres to industry best practices. Guilty by association on the web is a reality and you can fall prey to someone’s less than stellar reputation.
- The single most important thing you can do, and this applies to more than just Gmail, is to send email to customers who want to receive it. Exercise some restraint, that list IT found on a 7 year old laptop isn’t an untapped gold mine. Quite the contrary it’s a landmine that could blow the legs off your mailing reputation.
Gmail has a complete list of guidelines that you can refer to when attempting to resolve delivery issues. Although Gmail doesn’t offer a feedback loop for mailers refer to your other feed back loops to get a sense of how you’re performing. If complaints have sky rocketed for your other FBLs then chances are the same is happening at Gmail and as such you should examine what you’re sending and how much of it you’re attempting to deliver.