Gmail and Yahoo are not the most friendly to Email Marketers. But there are a few tricks you can use to help get your messages into the Inboxes. The key is to remember it is about user privacy.
We all like to know what the open rates are of our email marketing campaigns. But the ability to track open rates also gives spammers the ability to validate an email exists and is active, and then add it to all their other spam lists. In the end what really matters is your subscribers read your emails, and if they end up in the spam folder, they are unliikely to read them. Even worse is when users do find them in their spam folder, they often don't move it to their inbox. People are trained to just purge the spam box without reading the messages. The key is to stop trying to track open rates. This means removing any web referenced images. However this doesn't mean you have to send boring text emails. You can still send emails full of graphics, but you must embed the image data into the email itself. Depending on the content of the email, this could result in a email message that is several hundred KB in size. A few mail servers restrict message size to 150KB. So its important to take that into account when designing your messages, else they will be bounced.
This one trick seems very successful at getting messages into the Inbox at Yahoo and Gmail.
For years the assumption was that if ISPs knew you used a specific IP address for sending your newsletters, and notifications they would throw most of those messages into the spam folder. This is far from the truth. The biggest problem major Mail Servers like Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail have are spam messages coming from compromised accounts.
For this reason any IP address that sends corporate or personal email correspondance will be scrutinized more than say an IP address that only sends notifications. But if you try to send all your company's emails from a single IP address eventually you will run into the dreaded deferred message from yahoo, and the spam folder on Gmail. This is why its important to separate your Email traffic onto separate IPs.
Once I figured this out, I started looking at some of the newsletters I get from other companies.
As you can see no other company is sending emails from firstname.lastname@example.org. They are all using a subdomain email address. This was the smoking gun confirming what I had read.
I am now in the process of setting up one of my clients who has a larger email list with their own IP separate from their corporate email traffic. To put things into perspective on a mailist of about 10K, we were getting an open rate of about 6%. This is for a double opt in list, where people had to subscribe from our website. I will update this blog with the results.