Gmail has now amassed over one billion users.

For email marketers, this figure is absolutely key. It’s a colossal number and a stark reminder that among every subscriber list, there are likely to be a huge number of Gmail addresses.

Google’s free email service is arguably one of the most popular on the planet, and with an admirably simple sign-up process and comprehensive integrations with the search giant’s other services, the huge user base is only like to increase in number.

This should make gmail deliverability a key focus for email marketing. To ensure that messages successfully reach the inboxes of as many subscribers as possible, it’s essential that we all invest a good portion of our time in learning the basics of Gmail deliverability.

So, without further ado, here are five fresh tips for becoming a Gmail deliverability start in 2017 (quite a title, I’m sure you’ll agree).

1. Be careful with images and links

The team behind Gmail invest an awful lot of time in spam detection with keyword search algorithms and clever email scanning techniques that will sniff out even the smartest of offenders.

Because of this, legitimate messages can all too easily get mistaken for spam. To avoid becoming an accidental spammer, be careful with images and links – don’t use too many, employ alt tags and ensure wording you include doesn’t fall into the trap of relying on suspicious language like ‘click here for a free…’ or ‘just enter your personal details here…’.

2. Check you’re not already blacklisted

A common mistake made by email marketers is to neglect the importance of checking whether or not a blacklisting is already in place against their domain. If yours is already on a blacklist, for example, Gmail will almost certainly prevent your message from reaching the intended recipient.

You can check blacklisting status via this handy website. If you’re listed, contact your ISP as soon as possible.

3. Remove the people who are already disengaged

Gmail is smart. The less often your email marketing messages are opened and engaged with, the faster you’ll fall down the rankings in Google’s algorithm.

To prevent this as far as possible, take a look back at the analytics in your email marketing software and sniff out the addresses which are clearly either inactive or not at all interested in what you have to say. Given the size of the Gmail user base, it’s likely you’ll find a lot of Gmail addresses there – remove them from your lists – now!

4. Seek action on behalf of the recipient

Chances are, you’ll have received a fair few emails in recent months that have asked you to add the sender’s domain to the ‘safe sender’ list or your address book. There’s a reason for this – it is very good practice indeed.

Gmail is particularly adept at making decisions based on the sender’s name and domain, therefore when sending your emails, include a prominent note about your desire for the recipient to add you to their address list. Those that are engaged and enjoy your emails will almost certainly do so, enabling you to easily pick out the disengaged bunch (see tip 3).

5. Encourage dialogue

Gmail has a brilliant way of categorising emails by automatically placing them in specific folders. The one you should aim for is the ‘primary’ folder, as that’s the tab users will see immediately upon logging in.

One way to do this is to encourage replies from your subscribers. If you can get a dialogue going with them, Gmail will assume the user is happy to continue receiving emails from you and will promote you to that ‘primary’ folder – the holy grail, as it were.

Wrapping up

Spot something? That’s right – the tips above can, in fact, be applied to deliverability best practices for any email service – they’re just particularly important when it comes to Gmail, given that platform’s significant technical prowess and backing by the web’s most powerful entity.

Keep these tips by your side this year and double check you’ve covered all bases before you hit ‘send’.