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7 Steps To Avoid The Gmail Promotions Tab In Your Emails

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an email marketing expert. You are always going to have a big and annoying enemy: the promotions tab.

Let me give you a little background here.

As a user of an email platform you want the most relevant emails at the top of your inbox, right? 

That’s why back in 2013 Gmail released the promotions and social tab. 

In this way, you can avoid all the spammy messages from Facebook or the constant emails from that newsletter you signed up for in 2016 – anything for the free wifi, right?

And if you think about it, it’s a great idea for you as a user because managing your emails is much easier.

But for email marketing purposes it’s definitely not ideal. 

Gmail has this very specific algorithm to scan your emails and decide if they should go to the primary or promotions tab. 

If they go to promotions, your users won’t receive a notification on their phones so they have no idea about the existence of this email.

And let me ask you a question: how often do you check the promotions tab in your email? Not very often I guess?

So if you have an email list for your business is extremely important to take this into consideration.

Because you can have the best email in the world, with the best offer inside but if Gmail decides that it looks like a promotional email your open rates are going down in a big way.

However, not everything has to be bad news.

We’re here to give you the 7 steps you need to follow if you want to avoid the Gmail promotions tab:

1. Be careful with the number of links

Using too many links is a huge trigger for Gmail but this doesn’t mean you can’t use links at all. 

You should use one or two to start and remember to be smart about the way you use them.

With the right copy and placement, you can make people click without using 1000 links. 

This is a key step if you want to avoid the Gmail promotions tab.

2. Personalize your emails

This depends on the tool you are using but almost any email marketing tool has the option to add the first name of your recipient on your emails. 

Which is a great way to show Gmail that you are trustworthy. 

But don’t forget, you are only going to have the first name if you’ve asked for it, of course.

So *pro-tip*: always ask for the first name and last name in a separate field when you are collecting emails. 

3. Avoid spam trigger words

You should avoid words like sale, deal, promotion, discount, free, prices, get paid, credit card… 

Because obviously, they indicate that you are trying to sell something. 

I have used those words before and still, I have reached the primary tab, how?

If they appear one or two times in your email and you can mix them with natural and friendly text, you shouldn’t have any problem. 

But in the beginning, I would recommend avoiding them as much as possible, at least until you have a good percentage of open rates. 

4. Keep them simple

You know that we are all about good designs and fancy graphics but in this case, we need to avoid that if we want to avoid the Gmail promotions tab.

Just check one of the emails in your promotions tab. It’s probably super fancy, with good design, images, fonts. 

So as you can imagine they reached the promotions tab for a reason. Those emails triggered Gmail algorithms.

And I don’t want you to waste a lot of time making your emails pretty and fancy if they are going to end up in the promotions tab. 

Instead, you should choose a smarter approach, with a simple format and plain text. Something similar to the emails you used to send to your teachers. 

Keep them simple and professional.

5. Send valuable content

Sending value emails with no promotions or spammy words is a great way to earn Gmail’s trust. 

If the email follows all the recommendations it’s probably going to the primary tab. And Gmail loves when they see a positive pattern on your emails. 

And as you might know, adding value to your audience is a great way to connect with them and increase their trust. 

6. Avoid using many images

Another trigger for the algorithm, as you can imagine. 

Once again, check your promotions tab. They have a lot of images with products, promotions, deals, etc. 

So to avoid the promotions tab you should use one or two images. These images should be combined with text, of course. 

And as I’ve said many times, this text has to be natural and friendly. It shouldn’t come from a robot. 

7. Send your emails from a person, not a company

It makes a huge difference if you send your emails from a personal email and not from a company email. Let me give you a clear example. 

This email is not a good idea:, instead, you should use something like this:

It doesn’t have to be your private personal email, it can be your company email but with your name or someone’s name in it. 

Main principles to keep in mind if you want to avoid the promotions tab 

While you are applying all those recommendations and writing your emails, keep in mind that even if you are sending this email to a huge number of people, they are going to read the email one by one. 

Your emails need to be personal and real. As we said earlier, assume that you are talking to a colleague or a friend.

Also, you need to build a reputation with Gmail. If you have great open rates, you are more likely to land in the primary tab for your next emails.

This means you need to think of good headlines and the best timing to send emails. 

So, are you going to apply all those tips in your email marketing strategy? Because it can be a game-changer! 

Let us know how it goes and remember that we are here if you need help with your social media and strategy, you can just talk to us. 


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