Brace Yourself… because on this subject I have to be brutally honest (also possibly kind of rude) to have a chance of helping you increase your Opens and Clicks if you don’t quite get why THIS aspect is extremely important.
GMAIL’s Promotions Tab is not QUITE a “Death Sentence” for unknowing Email Marketers; but it’s damn close. So, let’s talk about what can be done to help avoid it and keep your messages in the Primary tab as well as why it matters so much.
When the Promotions tab was launched, I was sooo shocked to see the Email Marketing Industry’s immediate reaction and responses, as a whole.
Mostly I noticed two Types of Reactions from Companies Doing Email Marketing:
- “Oh No, it’s the end of Email Marketing” or
- “How do we make our messages more appealing than the other messages in the Promotions tab”.
Believe that?! Like, immediately giving up either way. Oh Nooo Sir! Not my immediate reaction. This is way too important to just give up on from the start.
Think of the Gmail Promotions Tab as the “Junior Spam Folder”
First of all, at this moment in time, Gmail email addresses are used more than any other addresses on our platform.
Next, think of the Promotions tab as a “Junior Spam Folder” because it has all the downsides of the spam folder with one minor difference; SOME of your subscribers will not hold it against you when they see you there. The fact is, most will not see your messages until they periodically check the tab and see your last few or more all at once.
Now, I DO think many Email Marketers don’t quite get the importance of staying in the Primary tab, or simply have no idea they can do something about it because I see MANY of the top marketers in the world, as well as huge multi million dollar companies, landing in the Promotions tab every day and it just make me cringe because I see the money flowing down the drain for them.
First, you have to understand that this is a balancing act as well as a trade off. So, expect that you WILL have to sacrifice some things you may not want to when sending a promotional email. However, if you’re thinking that adding multiple clickable links in your email is just too important to do away with altogether JUST to get in the Primary tab and stay out of the Promotions tab; we have a lot to talk about (maybe a sort of intervention has to take place here lol).
Ok, remember; where science and art converge is NOT an area that can be classified under either and the same goes for technology and psychology as it does here.
There is no such thing as a specific list of concrete steps to follow that will guarantee your messages do not land in the Gmail Promotions tab, rather than the Primary tab, because if too many of your subscribers manually move your messages to their Promotions folder, Google learns from and reacts to this as well.
The Keys to Avoiding the Spam/Promotion Folders
This is what I watch out for and avoid when I write promotional email messages:
(which by the way have kept my email messages almost 100% in the Primary tab since Google launched the tabs).
- No more than 1 clickable link per message.
- No images at all.
- Keep the common “marketing or sales” phrases to a minimum.
NOW, I can just FEEEEL the heads shaking and traditional copywriters laughing as if this is an impossibility OR just pure craziness (or maybe even calling me a Rookie hahaha). But, it’s really this simple; you cannot possibly make your messages soooo appealing using multiple links and images that it could offset the power or effectiveness of my messages landing right in their face next to their friends’ and families’ messages When I Send Them (meaning in a timely fashion). That IS the difference by the way; a very VERY significant difference.
Love to tell you to just go test this on your next Broadcast, but it probably won’t help if you’re already classified as sending Promotions from that email address, that email service, and/or that IP address to those particular subscribers. But, you CAN test it out with a new list right from the beginning of your relationship with them.
The Ways That Google Classifies Promotions
Similar to automated spam filtering, Google’s way of trying to determine whether your message is a Promotion or a Personal message is to look for specific aspects that usually are in Promotions and not in Personal messages. Multiple links and inline images are the biggest giveaway. But, marketing phrases can certainly add to this.
It’s hard to drill down to single “tips” to help you here because I see all of these aspects as well as a conversational writing tone as an entire Email Marketing model that takes care of itself by making this less relevant. I don’t see subscribers as numbers that need to be “converted” per se. I see them as people that need to be communicated with more effectively than they normally are. And, again; this model takes care of most of this tab issue.
So, I hope this helps you with your Email Marketing efforts or simply gives you something to think about when you’re mapping out your next promos.
Have a Great Day! 🙂
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