Stop emails from going into Promotions Tab on Gmail

So today I will share my experience about what’s happening. Specifically about Google service Gmail, because other service providers (e.g. yahoo) use filters from SpamAssassin, spa house, and others. Google got own system.

What’s happening when you write an email and press button send?

  • Google checks the server from which email is send (Mailchimp, Getresponse and etc. Also SPF, DKIM )
  • Domain check, which is (from sender)
  • Text scan
  • Check of contacts relationship history
  • Email delivered in to one of primary, promotional or spam

Everything is just to give users the best experience and lower spam as much as possible.

What indicators are being monitored:

  • Email open rates
  • Clicks
  • Newsletter unsubscribes
  • Spam complaints
  • Conversions
  • CTR (click through rates)- how many people opened an email and how many clicked.

Email bounces and bounce types

Soft bounce:

  • Email inbox is full
  • Recipient email server is offline
  • Message considered as spam
  • Sender reputation is low
  • IP you’re  sending from is on blacklist
  • Your sending speed is too fast and emails get rejected
  • Away from office- auto message left for everyone who sends an email.

Hard bounce:

  • Wrong email address
  • Block getting email from specific server or domain

If you will send a newsletter for (e.g.) 2000 subscribers and the first 200 will have bad monitored indicators, then automatically all other contacts may get it in promotions or spam folder.

Gmail understands when an email was delivered and deleted straight away, that means information from this sender is not important, but if the email will stay in the primary box or archive,- then it is more important.

How to clean up email list

Important criteria’s in email marketing:

Content and word matters also do your link has an SSL certificate.

Subscriber actions,- how quickly subscriber opens email after connecting to own account, how much time he spends reading that email if the user clicks the link. All actions matter.

Is content unique: duplicate content, used by all marketers is not favorite in this case.

Anyway, not all emails necessary will land in the Promotions tab, because Google may personalize emails for every user according to habits.

Google also may recognize words that are in the blacklist. If you have an email containing headlines including words like free, weight loss, click here, payday loan, serious cash, cash off, etc. This may be a signal, that email is promotional/spam type. Check spam words  in email marketing posts to see the full list

Symbols, bold, underline, emoji,- do not use them in every email, just willing to grab more attention.

Gmail may also test your newsletter, just to find out, if subscribers will pull out your email from the spam folder and move it to the primary inbox.

Include text version of your email.

What should you do?

  • You probably wonder- how to test, if your email campaigns will reach subscribers also if it will land into primary inbox
  • Create 3-4 gmail accounts. Then before you send to your email list, send exactly to your test accounts.
  • When you open each of these test gmail accounts never open any email, just watch where they will land (primary, promotions or spam tab/folder).
  • In this case you are not opening any emails and does not want to show any actions (what you like or do not like) so gmail can not apply any rules or filter to identify and sort by moving email to appropriate place.  

Monitoring with Google Postmaster Tools

Google postmaster tools is a free service provided by Google to track email deliverability. You will have to add your domain associated with your business. Then confirm it. Now, depending on email sending volume you will get data about spam complaints and domain reputation.

Couple more tips to stop emails from going into promotions tab on Gmail

Keep your list clean and tidy,- if subscribers have not opened any emails in the last 60 days, there are no chances he will do it in the future! You don’t need such contacts, delete them. Sometimes they are too lazy to find that magic “unsubscribe” link and press.

If you have a very inactive email list you may try to start an advertising campaign by creating an audience only from these emails.

Segmenting also matters: e.g. let’s say your subscriber is interested in photography and just purchased Canon DSLR from your e-shop. Do not send him a newsletter informing him about the newest Nikon reviews or about discounts for Tvs in your shop. Rather send him specific information about a product, which is relative and the user wishes to buy it (maybe). Let’s say after purchasing DSLR you could send a tripod review with a link to buy it. Let’s say the tripod was too expensive, then maybe something how to use DSLR better?- e.g. a book, which got a lower price…

If you have a super big email list (e.g. 10000+) send an email campaign divided into a couple of parts with the different headlines (at least) and text (recommended).

A lot of marketers love super-coded, nice-looking HTML newsletters,- IMHO bad! Specifically these ones Google sees as a promotion/spam straight.

Think about it: how many HTML emails you have written for your friends or family?- I guess… None probably… So which email is more important: from e-shop, blog, or family member?- I think it is self-explanatory.

If you will follow these best email marketing practices, you will definitely improve your email deliverability.

About Mantas J

Blogger, marketer, coffee lover,- currently now developing several online projects. I know a thing or two about digital marketing :)