The Gmail promotions tab is a curse and a blessing. It’s a curse because, I check the promotions tab less frequently and I am sure others are the same way. It’s a blessing because, without the promotions tab, marketing emails were likely to have ended up in the spam folder. Who likes to get bombarded with mass emails?

However, I think we can all agree that we’re willing to tolerate marketing emails that are relevant and helpful and don’t seem overly promotional. When sending out emails, I have several end goals. Sometimes, I’m just trying to tell the customers to not forget about us and sometimes I am actually trying to provide them with time-sensitive information.

When I first started doing email marketing in mid 2016, my emails would go to inbox and I would get phenomenal open rates. This was done through MailChimp and I had validated ownership of my domain. I was sending out emails using my brand name and from the brand domain. They consisted of images, lots of styling, social links and everything that a marketing email typically contains -- still the open rates were phenomenal. A few weeks later, my emails started appearing in the promotions tab. The takeaways from this are:

  • Google gives you the benefit of the doubt that you are not peddling rubbish information.
  • Google learns from whether your readers love or reject your information.
If you create amazing content that your loyal readers love, open rates should never be a problem. But for the rest of us mortals, following is what’s required.

How to avoid the Gmail promotions tab:

  1. Don’t use too many images.
  2. Don’t include more than one link.
  3. Set the sender as your real name rather than a brand.
  4. Include a decent body of text, not too short and not too long. Preferably using words that seem like a genuine email rather than one that talks about promotions or uses spam type phrases such as, asking for personal information.
  5. Make your email subject relevant to the body of text. If you’re writing about apple orchards, use the phrase “apple orchard” in the subject.

In other words, be a real person and send an email as you would to a friend or coworker. Despite weeks of ending up in the promotions tab, when I started making my email subjects relevant to email body text -- my emails started appearing in the inbox again and my open rates went up.

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