In 2013 Google rolled out an update in Gmail that created multiple tabs known as primary, promotions, social, updates, and forums.
This update has significantly affected the email open rates in Gmail.
When users go through their emails, they want the most relevant information at the top of their inbox.
Thus every email received on Gmail goes through the filter where it checks if the email was sent to promote something. In such a case, the email lands in the Gmail promotions tab.
If you are a professional from IT services, SaaS, Marketing agencies and Sales, you would be worried why are my emails going to promotions tab?
However, it’s easy to learn how to avoid Gmail promotions tab.
In this blog, we have explained the Gmail promotions tab and how to prevent emails from going to the promotions tab.
What is a Gmail promotions tab?
In simple words, a Gmail promotions tab is where all the marketing, promotional, or other bulk emails land.
If a user wants to go through some deals or offers, they can directly open the promotions tab.
With the update, Gmail now has 5 tabs. Let’s take a quick look at what each tab is meant for.
1. Primary inbox: This is for personal emails and emails from people you know.
2. Social media tab: To receive updates from social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Quora, etc.
3. Promotions tab: This is where marketing emails are stored.
4. Updates tab: Emails related to transactions, such as shipping confirmations and order confirmations.
5. Forums tab: To receive emails from forums like Reddit.
Why do emails get delivered to Gmail promotions tab?
Gmail uses intelligent algorithms to scan every email.
If you send marketing emails or bulk emails that include deals, offers and other promotional messages from a third-party email service provider or email marketing software like Mailchimp, Aweber, ActiveCampaign, etc., this would trigger the filters.
This is the reason why your emails go into the promotions box.
84.5% of the messages triggered as promotion land in the Promotions tab, out of which only 19.2% are read, which is the lowest among all the tabs.
This makes it clear that landing in the primary inbox is much more significant for your product or service than you think.
So, it becomes crucial to move your email from promotions to the primary tab of Gmail to increase email open rate and boost your conversion rate.
So without further delay, let’s dive into how to avoid Gmail promotions tab and reach the primary inbox instead.
14 best practices to avoid Gmail promotions tab in 2023
- Avoid email blast (use email sequence)
- Avoid too many links
- Improve your sender reputation
- Keep the HTML to text ratio
- Personalize your email
- Avoid spam trigger words
- Use correct formatting
- Declutter the footer
- Ask your subscribers
- Send valuable content to your subscribers
- Send short emails
- Perfect email timing
- Add unsubscribe links
- Test your emails
1. Avoid email blast (use email sequence)
When you send an email blast to your subscriber from any email blast tool, the Gmail filter imminently detects it.
There are high chances you may land in the spam or the promotions folder.
To avoid that, instead of blasting an email to the entire list, you can segment your recipients and add them in an email sequence using an email sequence tool like Saleshandy.
In the email sequence, you can personalize the email and add follow-up (step) in a single thread.
While sending your emails, Saleshandy follows the practice of keeping a time interval of a few seconds/minutes to make it look more natural and human-like. This practice improves your email deliverability and helps you gain a good open rate.
2. Avoid too many links
The most significant difference between a marketing email and a conversational email is links.
To land in the primary inbox, you need to make sure that the links are minimum.
If you jam your emails with too many links, there are high chances that your email goes to the promotions tab.
3. Improve your sender reputation
The email deliverability also depends upon the sender’s reputation of your email service provider.
Based on your score Gmail filter decides in which tab your email should land or go in spam.
There are ways to check your spam score before sending an email to someone. You can make suggested changes and ensure that the spam score is as low as possible.
You can use a free tool called Mail-Tester to check it. Send your email to the email address that they provide, and they will fetch you your spam score.
Google recommends authenticating your email. It helps the Gmail filter verify that the email is sent from a legit account of an organization.
4. Keep the Text to HTML ratio
If you are sending an HTML email, there is no chance of your email landing in the primary folder.
Gmail algorithm immediately detects that the email is sent by a tool rather than a human. Also, HTML emails with heavy images take more time to load and affect the user experience.
To make sure your emails avoid the Gmail promotions tab, the email should appear as if it’s written and sent manually to create a one-to-one conversation rather than blasting with beautiful HTML tags. If your campaign requires beautification, keep the text to HTML ratio to 60:40.
The plain text email with minimal links and images gives higher chances of getting delivered in the primary folder.
5. Personalize your email
When you send an email to multiple users, you can use mail merge to personalize every email.
This will help you get better odds in landing in the primary box. Being a marketer or sales person you need to create a feeling of belongingness with your readers.
Personalized emails are more likely to be opened and clicked.
With tools like Saleshandy, you can attach a CSV file containing all your recipient’s details and send a different email to each one of them.
You can address each of your recipients by their name and a personalized subject line. 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line.
6. Avoid spam trigger words
There are plenty of words that will trigger the Gmail filters and send your email in the promotions box.
Here are the most common spam trigger keywords:
- Best prices
- Be your own boss
- Expect to earn
- Get paid
- No credit card
You can read a whole list of such words and make sure you avoid them as much as possible. It will also ensure high email deliverability.
7. Use correct formatting
If you use a lot of fancy-looking fonts in your email or have a variety of formatting at different places, the filters might identify you as spam.
Keep your emails professional-looking and use different fonts only if essential for the design.
8. Declutter the footer
The footer of your email might have a long list of disclaimers, terms and conditions, etc.
Only keep the necessary things — it’s good to keep your email plain with no links and images.
9. Ask your subscribers
In Gmail, moving email from promotions to primary is the most full-proof way to avoid the Gmail promotions tab.
Send an email to all your subscribers, asking them to move your emails from the promotions tab to the primary tab.
When the user moves it to the primary box, all your emails will be delivered there. Regardless of what content you share.
But make sure you do not overuse this luxury by sending spammy content. You can also ask your subscriber to save your contact. This will help you land in the primary tab of the inbox.
10. Send valuable content to your subscribers
In this era, where content marketing is at its peak, you must understand the importance of giving value to your readers.
You must deliver great content to all your subscribers. It would increase the number of people who opt-in to your newsletter and other content sent by you.
You can help them with the new updates of features of your product, or you can also tell them the productive news related to your industry.
The benefits of creating high-quality content will reap in the long term, and it will come with a ripple effect.
PS: Email segmentation helps you deliver high-quality, relevant content to your subscriber. They earn 100.95% CTR than non-segmented campaigns.
11. Send short emails
Send concise and to the point emails . If these emails resemble those you would personally send to someone, Gmail will put them in the primary inbox.
Also, if you keep your subject line short, there will be an added benefit. It’s good to send an email less than 300 words, and the optimal length of your subject line should be 7 words and 41 characters.
12. Perfect email timing
Timing for sending emails is a determining factor in getting a high open-rate. The better the open rate you have, you are more likely to stop asking yourself why my email goes to promotions.
It’s all about the recipients’ behavior with email opens and link clicks that Gmail considers the most. The best time to send emails differs from industry to industry, one that works for us may not be the same for others.
Find the best in your industry, test it and stick to what works well for you.
If you are in B2B, ensure your email gets read when the recipients are at work.
On the flip side, for the B2C, engagement remains high in the evening and over the weekend.
To make the most out of your emails, you can use a tool like Saleshandy that gives you the flexibility to schedule your emails in different time zones.
13. Add unsubscribe links
As per the 2003 CAN-SPAM law, every email campaigns must include an unsubscribe link to make them legal, so make sure you include an unsubscribe link in your emails.
PS: Add the unsubscribe links at the bottom of your email so your emails don’t look spammy.
14. Test your emails
A/B testing is a technique for comparing the outcomes of two different emails and drawing conclusions.
Prepare two or more email variants, labelled A, B, C, and so on. Compare the results from different lists. Use the one that yields the most results.
Pro-Tip: Check the email address of your sender in case if there is any sort of typos or errors to prevent your emails from bouncing back.
Benefits of emails getting delivered to the primary tab
1. Higher open rates
Emails in the primary inbox get a far more open rate than in promotions.
Once a person’s promotions box starts filling with unread emails, the pile grows and the chances of your email getting opened becomes minimal.
2. Increase conversion rate
When you land in the primary box, half of your job is done. An email that lands in the primary inbox gets more read rates and that would lead to increased click rates. Hence, your overall conversion rate would increase.
Just by making sure of these few things mentioned above, you will be able to increase your conversion rates. That is the biggest and most unarguable benefit that you get when you land in the primary inbox.
3. Increase reliability
Imagine you subscribed to a newsletter and they send you an email in your primary inbox, it makes the email much easier to access and trustworthy for you.
When your email lands in the primary inbox, it increases the trust of your customers in your product or service. This factor helps you create long-term relations with your customers.
When readers go to the promotions tab, they have a preconceived notion regarding the email. This means even if you have sent a great email, your reader will read it with a bias.
You need to consider the above-mentioned strategies to avoid the Gmail promotions tab. It is essential to land in the primary inbox to get the best result as email marketing is getting more and more competitive.
Due to Google’s ever-changing algorithm, you would find new strategies and tips to understand why emails are landing in the promotions tab.
Till then, make sure you get all the steps correctly and stop wondering why my emails go to promotions.
1. How do I stop emails from going to the Promotions tab in Gmail?
Some best practices to avoid the promotions tab are:
- Avoid too many links in your email
- Avoid using spam trigger words
- Avoid sending email blasts
- Avoid sending lengthy emails
- Personalize your emails
- Keep text to HTML ratio 60:40
2. How can I disable the promotions tab in Gmail?
Go to the gear shaped icon (settings) in the top right corner. Disable the promotions option in setup inbox.
3. How can I delete the emails in the promotions tab in Gmail?
Click on the promotions tab. A little blank square should appear just underneath Search Mail and to the left of the refresh icon. Select all from the dropdown next to the small blank square. After that, click the trash / delete icon.