Only 81% of permission based email actually makes it to the inbox. This same study also took a sample of 30,000 Gmail accounts and found that 81% had the priority inbox enabled. The Gmail sample had an average of 91% inbox placement, but only 17% went to priority boxes.

Inboxes are getting smarter. This isn’t a bad thing; most people enjoy better quality control and it challenges marketers to deliver higher quality content relevant to their audience’s wants and needs. You just have to make sure your email campaign is evolving with these inbox tools.

So, what tools are we looking at? Gmail, Apple, Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL all allow you to to set up filters for messages that contain (or do not contain) certain words in the subject, from line, an recipients.

We’ve got some tips on how you can work with these more advanced filters to get your messages read.

  1. Be consistent. If subscribers like your email, they may set up a filter looking for your name or company name. This means you don’t want to be changing your from line between messages, otherwise your message can be lost in the mix. You also want to avoid a “no reply” address, since people may filter them out altogether.
  2. Watch your wording. You’ve probably heard you should avoid excessive punctuation and words like “FREE” in your subject line to avoid spam filters. Truth is, spam filters are more complex than that, and if you’re sending permission-based mail your message won’t be tossed out because of that. However, your subscribers might be setting up their own filters to toss out messages that contain words like “enlarge,” “financial” and “drugs.” So instead of “10% Off Photo Enlargement,” you might want to say “10% Off Photo Alterations” instead.
  3. Don’t cc your emails. Using the cc function is not as effective as a dedicated email marketing service, and there are also filters that can be set up that look to see if the message was cc’d to others, and trashing them if that’s the case.

Of course, you’ll also want to consistently deliver emails your subscribers enjoy reading, focusing on keeping them engaged. New delivery standards include looking at subscribers’ interaction with your previous emails, then deciding what box to place it in.

Now check out your messages. Ask yourself if you’re building relationships. Make sure you’re consistent.  Be careful with your words and follow best practices. Doing all this will help you get delivered to the right place.