How to fix reputation issues with Gmail

Deliverability Podcasts

According to Finances Online, as of January 2020, Gmail had over 1.8 billion active users. When you’ve got a mailbox provider so prevalent on your email list, keeping yourself on good terms with that provider is essential for the survival of your subscriber count. But how do you know if your reputation with Gmail has tanked? And what’s the best way to respond?

While every mailbox provider cares about customers first, Gmail has its advantages for senders too. For example, Gmail allows you to track your domain and IP reputation. Gmail also sends helpful hints when your emails land in the spam folder, but it can be confusing.

In this episode, Alyssa and Melissa discuss how to determine where your sender reputation stands with Gmail, what to make of every possible inbox tip-off, how to respond when you realize your reputation has tanked, and reaching the root cause of your strained relationship with Gmail.

fix reputation

Key Takeaways

  • [03:28] – There are many clues and data points Gmail provides that can point senders in the right direction when it comes to fixing your reputation.
  • [06:37] – While Gmail is the mailbox provider, the actions of your subscribers determine where you land in the inbox. Remember that mailbox providers care about their customers (your subscribers) above all else.
  • [07:34] – Subscribers will sometimes tell you when your messages are landing in their spam folders. Keep in mind that the promotions tab is still the inbox.
  • [11:24] – If you land in the spam folder and see a banner that reads, “Why is this message in spam?” — it usually means you’re not using a verified sending domain with an ESP.
  • [13:16] – If you realize you have a bad reputation with Gmail, immediately stop sending to unengaged subscribers and figure out the root cause.
  • [14:07] – Clean your list, check to see if you’ve been listbombed, and avoid sending to unengaged subscribers for two weeks. As you see your reputation start to improve, you can gradually begin re-engaging subscribers who haven’t been receiving your messages.


[06:59] – “Gmail’s number one priority is their customers, who are your subscribers. So you may have every good intention in the world of helping people, sending relevant content, but if those subscribers are not interacting in a positive way, then your reputation may be suffering.” ~ @mel_lambert_

[17:43] – “You have to give them time to build that trust back. And you want to make sure that in that process, when you’re building it back, you don’t do anything that would cause more negative signals to show up. Don’t try and re-engage your list too fast. You want to do all that really slowly and try to make sure that the most things they’re seeing when you send messages are those positive engagements like opens, and clicks, and replies.” ~ @alyssa_dulin

[19:22] – “Even though reputation issues can be scary, at least at Gmail there are a decent amount of tools, signals that you can use to be able to work on certain aspects of your list and your sending habits, and they give you an opportunity to get better.” ~ @mel_lambert_


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Alyssa Dulin

Alyssa is a Deliverability Lead located in Nashville, TN. She loves helping senders reach the inbox of their subscribers. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys traveling, indoor cycling, and spending time with family.

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