Mid- 2013 Google updated the Gmail interface to include “tabs’’. These tabs separate incoming emails into three separate categories. There are three default tabs, the Gmail primary tab, the social tab, and the promotions tab. You also have the options of adding custom tabs.
Avoiding the Gmail promotion tab
As an email marketer your job is to connect with your audience using relevant and timely content. You want your email to land in the Gmail “Primary” Tab every time and never in the promotions tab. As an email marketer a significant portion of your audience will be using Gmail as their email client of choice, this is important to know. As a Gmail user, I check my Gmail primary tab several times a day. I rarely check the Gmail promotions tab. When I do I find great offers I’ve been sent that are now long expired. This is common behavior and a serious problem for email marketers who need to get their message in front of their audience quickly. Offers are often time sensitive and unless viewed when ‘fresh’ are often ignored.
Why is Google doing this to me?
As an email marketer you are emailing people that have subscribed to receive your messages so why is google segregating these messages and removing the content from their Gmail primary tab. Why does this happen? In short, if Google considers that something looks like promotion it will get labeled as a promotion. Google’s algorithm is smart and complex, and there is no single silver bullet to unraveling it.
Top factors the algorithm looks at includes email content, HTML code, sender IP address, etc. Some of these factors are more easy to manipulate than others. The main way to mitigate against your email landing in the Gmail promotions tab is to make damn sure it doesn’t scream ‘PROMOTION’. It’s an interesting exercise to sign up for your competitors’ emails and note which end up in the Gmail promotion tab.
Ensure your email lands in the Gmail primary tab
The good news is there are lots of things you can do to ensure your email lands in the Gmail primary tab and subsequently increase your open rates. Take a look at implementing these 5 practical tips to avoid emails landing on the Gmail promotions tab.
1 – Get recipients to reply
An over and back email flow is another trigger for Google and will prompt them to land your emails in the Gmail primary inbox.
2 – Address the reader by their first name.
Using the contacts first name is really important – Google sees this is personalized content and values this.
3 – Stop using images.
Don’t include any images, did you know that 53% of Gmail users read email without turning images on.
4 – Write in traditional letter form.
Format your email like a real letter, with an introduction, main body, and conclusion. The thought is that google scans the email and analyses format – a traditional format is considered less likely to be promotional in nature.
5 – Use no more than one link.
Use no more than one URL in your email. If you must include a link make sure it’s truly relevant. Remember if you were writing to a friend would you include lots of links? Probably not!
6 – Keep it short and sweet.
There is some speculation that longer form email copy is a signal to Google. It’s worth running an A/B test on a long and short copy version on your email. The results might surprise you!
By following these tips and ensuring all elements of your emails look like personalized traditional letters you should see your emails reaching the Gmail Primary Tab and therefore being seen and opened by your audience more often. If you have any email marketing tips or success stories of your own you’d like to share or have questions please do let us know.