What does inboxing really depend on?

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Everyone wants to inbox. If there would be a simple guide for inboxing, the writer of that guide would be the richest person on Earth.

1. Previous Connection between sender and recipient
Many ESPs (especially Gmail) rank incoming non-spam messages based on previous contact between the two parties.
In other words: if you have sent an email to a person, and that email was actually opened, than you have lot better chances
of landing in the person’s inbox. Clicking doesn’t really matters, but opening a previous email is essencial.

2. Layout & Design & Coding
Your emails have to be perfectly formatted. If your design is not mobile friendly or responsive, you will be punished by ESPs and the subscribers themselves. You have to make sure, you are not using spammy words and your images are properly sized and formatted.

3. Delivery software
There are mandatory fields in an email transmission, that have to be properly filled out.
Emails have to be properly encoded. Not all software do that properly. If you run into issues read up on your sending tool.
Sending tools also fill out ‘bulk’ information, which is especially requested by Gmail. If you don’t fill it out, but you are still sending bulk,
you’ll be blacklisted.

4. Domain Settings, validation
Every time you send out an email, the receiver checks your sender’s identity. It has to make sure, that you really have the rights to send out emails from that domain.
The SPF, DKIM and dMarc settings are to assist the parties during the identity check. If you have your domain wrongly set up, you can give reasons for a false negative identification and automatically land in spam or get blacklisted.

5. IP reputation
Your IP address is like a little post clerk on the internet. ESPs remember which IP has sent low or high quality emails in the past, and assign trust levels to them accordingly.
This information is kept as secret to make sure no manipulations are being made by bulk senders. Once your IP reputation gets low, you have to work double to inbox any mail at all.
IP reputation can be also damaged by too fast sending, or sending with wrongly configured email software or from a wrongly configured Domain.

6. Domain reputation
The reputation of the sender domain is calculated sepatartly. It is always a smart idea to separate billing, support and marketing comunications by different subdomains. Ify you hurt your domain reputation by sending too many marketing messages, it can happen, that your bills or support messages won’t arrive either.

7. List hyginie
Not only the source of email and the content of email what ESPs are checking, but also the addresses you are sending emails to. Each large ESP and spam filter keeps a list of honeypots and spamtraps. If you scrape your lists from the open internet or Linkedin or other lists, you will include some spam traps in your lists too. Hitting a spamtrap will immediatly lower your IP reputation, and stop you from inboxing.

You can read more about spamtraps and honeypots here.