How to Keep Your Marketing Emails Out of Gmail’s Promotions TabJun62022

Categories: Email Marketing,Digital Marketing
How to Keep Your Marketing Emails Out of Gmail’s Promotions Tab

How many of your email subscribers use a Gmail address?

Today, with about 1.8 billion users, Google's free email platform remains the most popular one worldwide. Therefore, it's safe to say that at least a quarter of your subscribers get your marketing messages via Gmail.

In 2013, Google gave Gmail a total makeover with specific tabs for sorting messages. Instead of landing in one general inbox, each email is assigned to a tab (social, promotional, primary, etc.) based on an ever-changing algorithm. In order to make the most of your engagement with your Gmail subscribers, here's what you need to know about the promotions tab and what you should do to avoid it.

The Promotions Tab Is Not All Bad

Sure, your goal should be for your marketing emails to end up in your subscribers' primary inbox. This increases your chances at a higher open rate. Still, getting sorted into the promotions tab is a far better deal than if your messages end up in the dreaded spam folder.

The promotions tab is a stopgap for strict spam filters. In fact, research shows that Gmail users actually engage with their promotions tab and find its content useful, whereas they use the spam folder as a catchall for junk.

If your marketing emails are sorted under the promotions tab, they are less likely to be tagged as spam and filtered out entirely. When your emails are marked as spam, your email address is eventually blacklisted as a junk address. This isn't the case with emails that simply go into the promotions tab, since that tab is still technically recognized as part of the main inbox.

In short, any emails that end up in the promotions tab are still recognized as legitimate. That said, for a higher open rate and in order to stay relevant to subscribers, you should strive to get your messages into that primary inbox tab.

Check Where Your Emails Go

There is a way to find out how your emails are sorted by Google's algorithm. This free tool from Litmus shows you exactly where your email will end up in Gmail. Just copy your message into the tool and hit send to find out how it's categorized.

You can do this test with each of your marketing emails. Since the algorithm changes constantly, Gmail's parameters for each tabs are updated without much prior notice. Using the Litmus tool can help you tweak your emails accordingly.

Authenticate Your Email

When you are recognized as a trusted sender by Internet service providers (ISP's), your emails are far less likely to be labeled as spam. ESP's need to know that the messages are truly coming from you and your company, and that they aren't part of a data fishing or spoofing scam.

The easiest way to ensure that your emails are authenticated is to use an email marketing platform like Constant Contact. Anyone who sends mass emails through Constant Contact enjoys a basic layer of authentication without having to go through any further verification steps.

However, if you want extra layers of authentication, you can ask your IT professional or your email marketing service provider to update your DNS settings with a DKIM TXT record. The more levels of authentication your email address has, the better.

Limit Your use of Images

As a general rule of thumb, the more images in an email, the more it is likely to be flagged as a promotional message or spam. This is predictable even with an algorithm that changes all the time.

Save graphics and other such creative content for other marketing channels like social media. For your emails, use conversational text to connect with your subscribers. You can lay your text out in a smart, web-friendly way without using many graphics, images, or unusual fonts. Just use bullet points to break up your message a bit whenever appropriate.

Include High-Quality Anchor Text for All Links

Including a lot of links in your emails is a sure way to get your messages flagged as spam. That said, you can use links sparingly if you include them as high-quality hyperlinks with contextual anchor text.

Avoid using naked links, where the URL of the link itself is the anchor text of the hyperlink. Also, avoid vague phrases like "click here for more," or "this link", or "learn more here." These hyperlinking tactics are often used in spam messages that contain malicious links, so they get filtered out by most email platforms, not just Gmail.

Instead, label your hyperlinks with descriptive anchor text that tells your subscribers where they are being directed. For instance, if you want to link to a reference article from your website or blog, you can use "our recent report," or "This marketing blog post" as your anchor text. Since you don't want to feature many links in your messages anyway, descriptive anchor texts should be easy to create within the context of each email.

Personalize Your Messages

The best way to guarantee that your emails make it into your subscriber's inbox is to keep the messages personal. Address each subscriber by their name, and write each message as a direct conversation. Using a service like Constant Contact allows you to customize each message in this way without having to do so manually. A certified Constant Contact marketing professional can help you configure your newsletters to include your subscribers' names.

Limit Salesy Phrases

If you don't want Google to recognize your email as a promotion, make your email look and read like an informational newsletter instead. In other words, don't use promotional language that creates urgency to visit your site or buy your products.

Of course, your emails are meant to attract new customers and increase conversions, but the best way to do this is by creating a connection with your subscribers instead of by sending them a blunt sales pitch.

Send Subscribers a Move-Me Message

Historically, so-called "move me" messages don't have a high open rate with newsletter subscribers. However, for extra peace of mind, it doesn't hurt to include such a message to new subscribers as part of your email marketing campaign. A "move me" message is simply a reminder for your subscribers to label your messages as legitimate to ensure that they make it into their primary inboxes.

To move emails out of the promotions tab, a subscriber can drag and drop a message from Promotions to Primary through Gmail's settings. Then, to ensure that all future messages from that sender make it into the inbox, they simply have to click "yes" on the pop-up notification which asks about where to direct any future messages.

If you don't want to send a separate "move me" message, you can simply include a short blurb about marking your emails as legitimate in your introductory message. Also, you can feature a short written tutorial on how your subscribers can get rid of Gmail tabs altogether. The process to revert Gmail's inbox to the classic layout is not very intuitive, but your subscribers can change their Gmail tabs altogether within the platform's settings.

Hands-Off Email Marketing 

Whether you're spreading the news about your latest services or you simply want to build loyalty through credibility and customer engagement, you need a solid email marketing strategy. From proper email authentication to crafting quality newsletters, it's a lot of work to ensure that your emails sail straight into Gmail's primary inbox tab.

If you'd like help with your email marketing, contact Hosting Connecticut to see what we can do for you. With integrity, digital marketing know-how, and Constant Contact expertise, we can help you build a fruitful email marketing campaign.