Sales prospecting is tough — a lot of effort goes into finding new customers to reach out to. What often undermines sales prospecting efforts is outreach, with emails landing in your prospect’s spam folders. This is especially the case with Gmail, which further segments your emails into lesser engaging categories like promotions, apart from spam filtering. Globally, 17% of emails sent never make it to the Primary inbox folder due to spam and promotions filters. So you might be wondering, how to stop emails going to spam in Gmail?
Before getting into the question, let’s first explore why you should care about spam deliveries to Gmail. This will help us understand the phenomenon better by managing expectations and making changes and corrections earlier in the sales process.
How Spam Deliveries to Gmail Impact You
When your sales emails filter into Gmail’s spam, it isn’t just about your prospecting efforts falling through. It has consequences reaching far wider than lower response rates. An email in Gmail’s spam folder is quite likely to stay unopened, which signals the service of your content’s relevance. More of your emails are likely to redirect to Gmail spam filter, and this impacts the conversion rate in further stages of the process.
Apart from this, if your prospects spam report your emails in Gmail, it severely hits your sender reputation. Your domain and email addresses might get into email blacklists. Most email service providers follow these lists to block promotional, malicious, and spam content. This will mean your emails will start filtering into spam for other email services as well, apart from Gmail.
All of this would mean more of your emails will directly filter into spam, without ever reaching your prospect’s primary inbox, where it’s supposed to go. As a result, your initial emails, and follow-ups, aren’t being read, making your outreach efforts futile. This will slow down your sales cycle, reduce yield, and consequently impact your bottom line.
Does it sound worse than you thought? As we learned, sales email deliveries to spam can be quite detrimental to your sales outreach and need to be addressed. This is why over the next section, we’ll detail out 11 tips on how to stop emails going to spam in Gmail.
Tips To Avoid Emails Going To Spam in Gmail
1. Create Warm Connections Before Reaching Out
One of the driving factors for low response rates and spam reporting happens to be out-of-context, unsolicited emailing. When prospects receive messages from unknown senders, they’re least likely to open it, let alone respond. This is the case for the majority of sales and promotional emails.
However, if you connect with your prospect outside of email — say, social media platforms like Linkedin or Twitter, you can start your conversation over there. Social media messaging channels are less noisy compared to email, and they promote connecting and networking more than is possible over email. Once you’ve introduced yourself and start conversing over social, you can then continue the engagement over email, now with a greater chance of getting open and responses.
2. Use Short and Relevant Subject Lines
As soon as your email lands in your prospects’ inbox — the subject line is the first thing they see. Depending on how you’ve framed it, it could make or break your chances of engaging with them. Based on what you know about the prospects through your research, craft subject lines that appeal to their interests and compel them to act.
Hence while doing your research, look for your prospect’s interests and activities that can be drawn in parallel with your products and services. This will help set the conversation’s tone and topic in line with your prospect’s needs, making it easier for them to open and respond to your emails, rather than finding it irrelevant and marking it spam.
3. Remove Spam Triggering Keywords
One of the ways email services can recognize and filter promotional content is by scanning the content for certain keywords. Marketers and salespeople often use phrases and words meant to capture prospects’ attention, in hopes of getting better results from their campaigns.
Irrespective of your content quality and intent – these keywords end up triggering content filters on Gmail. In Gmail’s case, where emails also filter into folders like Promotions and Updates, filtering caused by spammy keywords has a much more pronounced impact on your email engagement.
Hence, make it a point to exclude these keywords from your sales email templates.
4. Ask Users To Create A Filter
If you’re reaching out to your prospects and not getting open and responses, it’s likely that your emails might already be in their spam folder. In such cases, you’ll have to ask them to create a custom filter for your emails in Gmail so your future messages can get filtered as per the new settings.
Since your emails are probably delivering to Gmail’s spam folder, you’ll have to reach out to your prospects on alternative platforms where you might have better access to them. These can include social media platforms, like Twitter or Linkedin, where your prospects already might be active.
5. Avoid Spam Reports
In continuation from what we discussed around subject lines – getting spam reports on your emails in Gmail is one of the quickest ways to ruin your sender reputation. A bad sender reputation is why emails go to spam instead of inbox in Gmail, and again, this wouldn’t be limited to Gmail. Email blacklists are public and shared between all email service providers.
Prospects mark emails as spam for various reasons. One of them is the content being irrelevant. Unsolicited promotional emails, along with frequent follow-ups also tend to get spam reports. This reinforces the importance of warm connections built outside of email, conducting thorough research and personalizing content.
6. Optimize content for response rates
Among other signals, email service providers like Gmail also monitor your email’s engagement in order to judge it’s intent. This includes open and response rates. Getting responses on your outreach signals to Gmail that your content is relevant and marks your future messages as important for the receiver.
To enable this — make your email content more action-oriented. Ask questions that are likely to receive an answer, offer value and help realize your product’s value proposition. Make your email content relatable and engaging for your prospects, making it easier for them to respond and take the conversation forward.
7. Use The Right Email Client
On the technical side of email content – your email sending IP address is also factored in when it comes to filtering your email. Remember email blacklists? Well, blacklists also store spammy and promotional IP addresses, apart from addresses and sending domains.
Yours sending IP address depends on which email client you use. For example, if you’re using services like Mailchimp to send out your sales email campaigns in bulk, they’re likely to land in spam. Mailchimp’s IP addresses are shared among many senders, most of them using it for sending out promotional emails. This makes your emails vulnerable to spam deliveries.
Instead, use services like SalesHandy which help you send personalized and automated sales emails from your existing Gmail or outlook account. SalesHandy sends emails using Google/Microsoft servers, similar to sending it from the web apps within those services.
8. Remove unnecessary HTML and URLs
In continuation to the last point, based on which email client you use, your email’s HTML content is also likely to be altered. Too much HTML in your email is a sign of multimedia heavy email content, which is considered promotional in nature. Important, formal emails are text-based and don’t have much in terms of embedded multimedia, which is why HTML is used in emails.
An Ideal text to HTML ratio is 60:40, where at least 60% of the body content should be text. If you’re using a third-party email client – you’re likely to find an option to edit the email’s HTML content using an inbuilt editor. Using this editor, you can remove or add HTML code to your email.
Pictured above, you can see the HTML code in SalesHandy’s email editor, with minimal use of HTML.
9. Stay clear from Blacklists
As we discussed earlier — getting into a blacklist would mean your future emails being filtered into spam, across all email services, not just Gmail. Using a few online testing tools, you can check if your address is part of public blacklists.
What do you do if you find yourself on one of these blacklists? You can simply reach out to administrators of these lists and ask them to remove your addresses, stating valid reasons. The process is manual and might be time-consuming, but worth the effort. Your emails will keep going to spam unless you get yourself delisted from such blacklists. While you’re at it — tweak your outreach process and tools so you’re not in the same position again.
10. Add Domain authentication records
If you’re using your own domain to send out sales emails, make sure you’ve added authentication records. Domain authentication records are used to identify and authenticate emails coming from your domain by email service providers, so they know the emails are actually being sent by the domain owners. Emails without authenticated domains are considered to be spammy and malicious, and hence, filtered into the Gmail spam folder.
There are three authentication records that you need to add to your domain — DKIM, DMARC and SPF records. Refer this knowledge base article on DKIM, DMARC, and SPF to know how to set up each one of them.
11. Test Your Emails
Once you’ve set up the template of your sales email, as the last step, make sure to test your email. Send it to yourself and your colleagues to check formatting and if your emails are landing in the Primary folder.
You can also use tools like Mail-tester that check your email content and if your address is part of blacklists. It also provides you suggestions to help improve the deliverability of your emails further based on the analysis.
Make warm connections and get the basics right
At the very core – spam filters in Gmail help users cut through the clutter and focus on important messages. You’ll need to account for this while planning your outreach. By doing so, you wouldn’t really need to worry about how to stop emails going to the Gmail spam folder. It comes down to knowing your prospect and connecting with them before you email them. Also, take care of technical parts of email filtering, like HTML, blacklists, authentication, etc. This separates your emails from hundreds of others your prospects get each day. Consequently, it’ll get your emails delivered to their Primary inbox every time.
Have you had your prospects tell you that they found your emails in spam? How did you respond, and how did you ensure your emails never went to spam thereafter? Share your experience with us in the comments below.