The Graymail Zone

January 22, 2019

Email is a very complex marketing channel. Not only do you have to convince your targeted audience that they want to open your email from among hundreds per day, you also have to convince the ISP that your email is worth delivering to the intended recipient’s inbox. If you fail that test, your email may become graymail, making it less likely it will ever be opened by the recipient.


Graymail 101

Graymail is a real thing…it exists somewhere between the blacklist and the whitelist. While technically graymail is not spam, as the intended recipient did at one time opt-in to receive these emails, the recipient has stopped engaging with them and over time, the ISP has determined it to be “gray”.


So, what happens to email once it’s labeled “graymail”? Email providers, such as Gmail and Hotmail, have created a nice filtering system that helps users sort their mail into mail they want to see (the inbox) and mail they might not want to see (the promotions bucket). The promotions bucket is typically where the graymail lives.


Getting Delivered Again

To avoid being labeled as graymail, it is best to ensure alignment with some email best practices, including:

  • Monitor email metrics closely and develop re-engagement campaigns for audience members who stop engaging with emails.

  • Send more personalized and valuable content to help raise levels of engagement.

  • Ensure subscribers understand what they’re subscribing to – follow best practices for opt-in.

  • Make unsubscribing easy, so your unengaged numbers don’t make you a suspect graymailer.


The best way to know if your emails are being considered graymail is to track your email metrics and perform ongoing list hygiene efforts. If you need assistance in performing ongoing list analysis and hygiene efforts, contact us at B2E – we’d love to help!

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