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Understanding Graymail

Understanding Graymail

There’s a shift in the email delivery world from IP reputation metrics to engagement metrics. The message from the ISPs is clear: user engagement is truly the key to inbox placement.

You need an email strategy that’s interaction based to ensure continued inbox placement. This is due to Graymail - the industry term for unread email sent to legitimately solicited contacts - and the attempts of the ISPs to control this type of email.

Graymail is email that has been subscribed to and is, therefore, not unsolicited, or spam. But the recipient often doesn’t read it for a long period of time, if at all. These messages aren’t spam, or even unwanted – it just hasn’t caught the interest of the reader and as a result, hasn’t been interacted with. Because of that, ISPs are now “learning” from these actions and assuming the reader no longer wants the messages.

So how can you get around graymail and back to the inbox? The answer is simple: Send relevant, engaging content to your most active recipients. Here are some tips on how to do this:

Segment engaged and unengaged recipients from each other and treat them differently.

More often, marketing effectiveness is being affected by unengaged contacts, which impacts the results with your engaged contacts. Use your engaged recipients to your advantage by sending special offers that promote engagement with your emails - the more often subscribers click on links and the faster they do so, the more likely your emails will continue to reach the inbox.

Mail your engaged subscribers first.

Continuous mailing to non-responders can negatively affect inbox placement, so mail your most engaged contacts first to increase the likelihood that the message will be considered relevant when you attempt to engage your previously unengaged subscribers.

Try a re-engagement campaign.

Get your subscribers to open your email and interact with it, and encourage replies. If you can’t re-engage, it may be time to stop marketing to them.

  • Encourage an incentive to reply:
    • “Reply to this with a joke for 25% off”
    • “Reply to this message for free shipping”
  • Add your customer service email address as the reply-to for the campaign and encourage subscribers to “Contact our customer service anytime by replying to this email.”
  • Offer to field feedback - even a simple, all encompassing “We’d love to hear from you!”

Every case is unique, but the bottom line is to get your subscribers engaged with your email campaigns. If there’s anything that remains consistent with ISPs and their filtering, it’s that they don’t remain consistent. ISPs are continuously trying to keep spam out of their user’s inbox and making their user’s experience as positive as possible.

Get more marketing tips and advice on our VR Marketing blog.