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Term of the Week: What is Graymail?

Otherwise known as ‘ham’, Graymail isn’t spam. It’s email that someone has opted-in to receive but doesn’t really want.

Why would someone opt in to this, if they don’t want it?

The contact may have been to a conference or signed up for a competition; often they will be asked for their details so they can be contacted thereafter. The intentions for signing up may have been aimed towards some form of prize, but anything apart from that might not actually be of interest to them.

If it isn’t spam, how is it classed as Graymail?

Graymail can be identified by the recipients’ lack of engagement with the emails.

Say the contact sees the email about that competition, they are told that they’re unlucky this time but instead they get “an offer you won’t want to miss”. They might have a look at it once and then avoid further emails as the content didn’t interest them.

Some email clients already address this lack of engagement, such as Gmail’s Priority inbox which filters out mail that subscribers don’t generally engage with.

Marketing Action:

If you see your campaigns showing signs of ‘graying’ then think about the potential reasons behind it. Is your content good enough? Is it personalised? Do you need to reconsider how you offer marketing material with a preference centre?

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