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Myths and Realities of the Gmail Promotions Tab

January 22 2018

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"Why do my emails go to the Gmail Promotions tab?"

It's a question all marketers have asked themselves. The long and short of it is—because Gmail sees what you're sending is a type of promotion. Gmail uses some pretty smart algorithms that sniff out emails it thinks have promotional materials, so across the board, email marketing platforms have a higher chance of arriving there.

This also means that outside of those algorithms, the only person who has the power to move your email from Promotions to Primary is the owner of that inbox. But is the Promotional tab the mortal enemy of marketers that some people think it is?

The Myth: The Promotions Tab Is Bad

First off, let's address the stigma attached to the Promotions tab. It is not a bad thing that your emails arrive there. On the contrary, a study by ReturnPath showed that the same Promotions tab that you may be worrying about is actually increasing your email's deliverability and open rates, as well as decreasing spam complaints.

Thanks to Gmail, because users are receiving marketing material in a place designated for that message, it has trained them to expect, and be more receptive to, your message. ReturnPath calls it "Teaching consumers to shop from the Inbox," and marketers are reaping the benefits.

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Ways to Make It into the Primary Tab

Now you may still want some answers to the burning question of how to improve your chances of getting into the Primary Tab, and there are some ways to do it. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Send to "Healthy" Contacts

As with all email marketing, the key is to have a healthy contact list. This means not buying leads who have never heard from you, but rather cultivating and making connections with people who know you and want to receive your emails. Yes, it takes more time to build this type of contact list, but it'll be worth it because your contacts will be more engaged with your brand.

2. Be personal in Greetings

Greet your readers by name using name placeholders in your email. This is very easy to do (as long as you are saving first names!), and is shown to increase open and engagement rates.

3. Be conversational

Speaking to your audience like human beings is important to do anyway, but in email you always avoid blunt (AKA: easily detectable) promotional messaging. Here's a list of words that you should definitely stay away from if you want to make it to the inbox.

4. Become a Contact

Whenever possible, encourage your readers to add you as a contact. If you are in their Google Contacts, your emails will go to their Primary tab.

5. Manage Links and Images

Heavy usage of images and external links will clue in Gmail's algorithms real quick to your marketing email. Not every email needs a thousand pictures, nor does it need to be a miniature version of your website. Keep a balance of textual content and imagery, and remember, more is NOT better!

The days of a captive audience are over, and so engagement is now earned.

By following the tips above, you will not only improve your chances of getting into the Primary tab, but also increase your audience's engagement overall.

To view the original article, visit the eMerge blog.