Gmail Promotions

How to Bypass Gmail’s Promotions Tab for your Emails?

Have you been observing a decline in the open rates for your emails, specifically with Gmail users? Gmail launched the tabbed inbox, which allowed them to segregate the emails into three tabs- primary, social and promotions. Very often than not, the emails that you send to your subscriber lands in the promotions tab, which is not very frequently visited. As a result, your brand’s visibility and open rates have declined in case of email marketing.

While the promotions tab has made life easy for the Gmail user, it has not gone down well with the email marketers. The reason being, your email that offers value to the customer, will be filtered by Gmail and sent into the promotions tab, and your subscriber is most likely to miss out the offer.

19.9% of the Gmail users never check emails that are filtered into the promotions tab. If you want to increase the user engagement for your emails, you may need to find a way to bypass the Gmail promotions tab.

Here are a few tips and ways that should help you achieve it. Ready to begin?

Avoid using promotional phrases

What do you think is the significant difference that you see between mailing your friend and mailing your subscribers? The use of promotional phrases. When emailing your friend, you don’t use words such as free, discount, sale time etc. You are pretty much to the point, not only with the email content but also the subject line. You need to write content that you would send to someone you know. It should be personal, i.e. it should be written keeping the subscriber in your mind. If you write a more personal content and subject line, it will not only bypass the promotional tab but also enjoy a good open rate.

Too many images spoil the email

We do want to showcase as many images as possible while drafting the email. However, too many emails can put off the subscriber and can put your email in the spam category. When you write a regular email that is not considered spam, the email does not contain too many images. In fact, there are times when the email includes no photo at all. When working on the email for your subscriber, make sure you take into account the image: text ratio necessary for the email. Don’t include any more than 2 images per image. Avoid adding mastheads or pictures in the signature while drafting the email. Google immediately filters the emails with too many images into the promotional tab.

Add necessary links only

Linking requires a lot of thought from your end. Linking to just about anything and everything in your email can catch unwanted attention, and promote your email to the promotions tab. Make sure you don’t add social media links or links that don’t make sense to your email. A sales pitch containing too many links is not relevant or personal in any way. It is a sales pitch, and Google can determine the difference quickly.

If you want to add links to the emails, make sure you don’t add more than 4 links. Obviously, adding only one or two essential links will actually help get your email into the inbox, and increase the engagement rate for the email.

A reply-to address matters

If your email contains a from address marked as “no-reply”, there are high chances of it being transferred to the promotional tab. Gmail does not recognize the “from” email address and considers it to be spam.

Instead of using “no-reply”, try using a person’s name or admin as your email address. The email address with a company’s name as the domain for the email is recognized inbox-worthy. When you have a reply field where the users can reply, and the email address seems valid, Gmail considers it to be a personal email that the subscriber would be interested in. The email is then sent into the inbox. Make sure, before sending the email, you have added a proper email address in the sender field.

Don’t format your email too much

What do you do when you are sending business or personal emails? You just write the text, edit it a bit and then send it across. However, when you are sending it to a subscriber, you tend to format it carefully and modify every aspect of the email.

As a result, Gmail believes that the email is not being sent by a person, but by the company. Too much formatting can actually spoil your marketing efforts. Avoid the HTML formatting, and use plain text when drafting an email. You might need to change the template that you are using to send the emails, in case your email template requires you to format it every time before you send the email across.

Content should be short & personal

While this is still being debated, there is a school of thought that believes the content plays an important role when you are trying to avoid the promotions tab. For instance, the longer the content, the more chances you have of being considered as spam. You can use short paragraphs to make the content flow distinctly visible to the subscribers. Secondly, you need to personalize the content, so that the subscribers feel it is being written to them.

If you don’t believe that the content is responsible for the email being transferred to the promotions tab, then you can conduct an A/B testing. However, it is important that you address your subscriber by their first name, and add other personalization elements to be recognized as authentic by Gmail.

Don’t send emails without testing

Testing of the emails on the various ESPs is important before you can send the email to the subscribers. You ought to test the email for personalization, use of promotional words, length of the email, the sender address and other details. Also, test the email by sending it to your own Gmail Id to know whether it enters the inbox or the promotions tab. Check all permutations and combinations when testing your email.

Wrap up

The emails that you send should be from a reputed and authenticated domain so that they are received well by Google. If you are offering value to the customers, and making your email sound more personal than promotional, you have higher chances of being in the inbox tab. The idea is to follow all the tips, and then test your emails as much as you need to, before sending it to your customers. If you want to talk promotions, then add the promotional content to your email, instead of being spammed by sending it via emails.  

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  • Chris Donald

    Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies.