Keeping Your Emails Away From The “Promotions” Tab

Whether you use gmail or not, there’s a fair chance up to 80{3d39faf6cb6f6c7496a15fb22f7f550d40919aca010ea2686f2665dbc56fe484} or more of your subscribers do.

With that comes a few positives. For example, emails are typically displayed a lot nicer than they are with some other email providers.

Also, it tends to give a very accurate account of open and click rates.

Gmail is easy to use, free, and it’s quite clear why so many people use it.

But as marketers, particularly email marketers, we’re met with one hurdle that was introduced not too long ago.

The Promotions tab.

(AKA the “Kinda SPAM, But Kinda Not SPAM” tab.)

The original idea behind it was great. Anything considered a “promotion” would be filtered into this area, and users would be able to browse at their leisure.

However, this is not how it panned out for the majority of users.

Now, it’s evolved into a spam-type filter… one that very few people ever bother to look through (myself included). Or if they do, it’s a very quick browse to make sure they haven’t missed something. You’re unlikely to find anyone in “buying mode”.

So you can be sure, if your emails are landing in the Promotions tab for your gmail subscribers, it WILL be affecting your rates.

Trust me, even some of the BIG marketers are falling victim to this, and from what I can tell, many are completely unaware.

I’ve put together a short checklist of steps you can take to guarantee your emails will land in either the Primary or Updates tab (which have been statistically proven to be the most actively used tabs)

(Note: if you’re a spam marketer, or you’re using some shady tactics and/or software, then this probably won’t work for you. These steps assume you’re a legit marketers)

1- Don’t try to be too fancy

Most people just want great content that’s quick and easy to digest, instead of flashy graphics. Too much flash actually makes it harder to digest, and will often deter people from clicking. It can also lead to an inflated unsubscribe rate.

Even if it looks “cool”. Even if you think you need super special branding before people will respect you and see you as an authority…

2- Don’t cram in too many links

This one is pretty easy to understand. If you have a lot of links in your email, not only will Gmail (and other email services) flag it as a promo/spam email, it also distracts your readers. It can leave people in panic mode, where they feel like they’re being pitched, and will abandon ship REAL fast.

Try to limit it to 1-2 per email, or 3 at a push (this doesn’t include unsubscribe link), and cloak your links if they look ugly.

3- Test before you send!

This one is extremely important.

Send yourself a test mail to a gmail account…

View the result from multiple apps and devices. Anything you can get your hands on.

Don’t just test the layout and look of it, click your links to make sure they work. Your one click isn’t going to skew your stats in any significant way, so spend the extra 0.58 seconds on making sure everything is working.

See this example:

Not trying to pick on anyone here, but the guy above must not test his emails (or if he does, he’s a little careless with the results). Every time I open one of his emails, 10{3d39faf6cb6f6c7496a15fb22f7f550d40919aca010ea2686f2665dbc56fe484} of the message is cut off on the side, and it’s a pain in the butt to read. To the point where almost every sentence makes no sense. And as I’m sure many of you will recognize, this guy is a top notch marketer!

4- Hold back on the images

If you absolutely must, just use one image. And again, test it before you send, because odds are it’ll look like crap if it’s not scaled properly (see the screenshot above as an example of terrible scaling).

5- Don’t be a signature-crammer

And by that, I mean don’t be one of those people who crams their life story into their email sign-offs.

Keep it short and sweet. If your subscribers have been through a well structured sequence with you, there’s no need to reeducate them on boring details every day. It’s bloated filler crap, and you don’t need it. Keep your messages tight, clean and crisp, and only include what’s absolutely necessary.

6- Check your email width

By email width, I mean the text running off the side of the message. If you’re using an autoresponder or email service that isn’t great at auto-formatting, then you’ll want to keep an eye on this.

There’s nothing worse than
reading an
email that has been formatted like this. Your eyes don’t know
where
to look, and it breaks everything up to
the point where it’s very incoherent.

So the TL;DR of it all… TEST TEST TEST! Don’t just close your eyes and hit send. Fine tune your messages, keep them clean and free of all unnecessary bloat (images/HTML/etc), and test everything from the perspective of a subscriber.

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