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How to Keep Your Emails Out of the Gmail Promotions Tab


Ah, yes. Gmail’s Promotions Tab is the bane of online entrepreneurs and it really stings when your prospect doesn’t read your email because it’s not in their primary email inbox. You see, when a business sends an email blast, Google scans the incoming mail, and depending on the kind of information received, assigns the email to the Primary Inbox, to the Social Tab, or the Promotions Tab. The idea is to ensure that the Primary Inbox remains uncluttered, making it easier for users to find the emails that matter to them the most.

Oftentimes when email marketing software or a marketing automation platform sends emails, these messages contain identifiable information that betrays their usually generic nature and sends them to the Gmail Promotions Tab. Unfortunately, your email service has no control over the placement of emails in Gmail, and there is no proven way to “beat” Gmail’s algorithms. Only a subscriber can move your emails from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab.

In a recent blogpost, Infusionsoft explained that the actions Google takes is based on individual behavior. So just because one person says they’ve gone to promotions, don’t expect that to be the case for everyone. Your email box, and your neighbors, and your colleagues, all tell Google that the stuff being opened by you is important. Only to you.

The point of mentioning this is that you’re never going to outwit Google. If you’re trying to make a promotion look like something other than it is, Google will figure it out.

So What Can You Do?

There are things you can do to improve the chances of your email arriving somewhere other than the Promotions tab. First, avoid practices that make your messages look like a promotion.


* Lots of images in your email: Anything with more than one image looks like a promotion. Stick to emails that look like plain text, as if you sent it from an email software platform. Definitely avoid a masthead (that header image that may look all so pretty but screams “promotion”) and stick to a common, even ordinary email signature.

* More than one or two links in your email: One link per email. (Not including an Unsubscribe link.) Opinion seems to be divided whether repeating the same link more than once impacts your inbox placement. Tests prove both, so test your own emails to see what the result is. (Tip: If your audience is predominantly mobile, make sure that you’re using a mobile email builder and test the placement of your call-to-action link. You shouldn’t scatter links within the copy like you once did… it’s just too difficult to click with fat fingers!)

* If it’s “from” your brand, rather than you: Always make the email from you, not your brand. And, let your personality stand out. People buy from people, not machines. Be sure your audience knows your story and what you stand for.

* Lots of fancy HTML code in your email: Clever email templates look great and businesses love them, but fancy HTML coded templates often end up languishing in Promotions.

* Links to your social media profiles in your signature (or any other links for that matter): As mentioned, too many links will land you in Promotions, but, more importantly, you’ve worked hard to get someone to open and read your mail. Why send them to Facebook or Instagram when you want them to follow the call-to-action in your email?

One more way avoid the promotions tab

One method that is absolutely foolproof, and algorithm-proof, is asking your audience to whitelist you. If you’re not quite sure how to do this, just let 4Chicks know. This is something we can help you implement in your optin thank you pages.

Once your email recipients have told Gmail that your emails are important to them, they will keep sending things into that inbox.

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