So I was working on a project where we send out over 200.000 promotional emails every day. I’ve joined this project after Google introduced the promotion tab in Gmail, so I never experienced how it was before that. I am reading that it was not such a big decrease in open rates as everyone was afraid of. The thing is, this is how I explain it to myself, that before google introduced tabbed Gmail people were kind of immune to all promotion email they were receiving and didn’t open them anyway.
But now that people got accustomed to the fact that the promotion email land in the promotion tab and that only important email land in the primary tab the thing is that if you manage to land your email into primary tab, your email open rates will skyrocket.
Before Google introduced tabbed Gmail, people were receiving all kind of emails in inbox with no filtration, so your email was just one in the crowd. But now that all of the promotion emails land in promotion tab, your email can reach people more directly.
How to move your emails from or to promotions tab
Rather than me explaining how you can move desired email from or to promotion tab here in writing you can just watch this short clip and see it for yourself.
It’s amazing how far two tabs over can be.
We all know that this emails still get delivered to the people we send them to but even I hardly ever check these tabs, and I’ll bet that most people don’t check them either. It is just like a black hole that just eats your emails and people never get the chance to read them.
The problem is that Google created this smart algorithm that just knows where to put your incoming emails. This algorithm is really smart and takes in calculation every detail in your email. It looks at your keywords, your html markup, DKIM and SPF signature, the amount of text, the ratio between text links and images and so on. There are not that many people that found a way around this almighty Google algorithm and that successfully land their promotional email into primary tab in Gmail. It really isn’t that simple. If it was, everyone would be doing this and there would be no point in tabbed Gmail interface anymore. There is also a flip side to this story. I have signed up to several newsletters that I really like to read and I get reminded every once and awhile when I look at my promotions tab that I am still subscribed to their email newsletter. I don’t actually want this email to land in my promotions tab, now I know I can move those emails manually but not everyone knows how to do this and even I have forgotten to do this a few times.
How do others land their emails into primary tab?
As I was looking for a solution to my problem I have read a couple of posts about how to get your email out of promotions tab and there was basically the same information everywhere I looked. Everyone said you should add no more than only one link and one image into your email and you will land it into primary tab. This may be true as it is true that a rock can’t have a car accident as it does not drive a car. If you put only one link and one image in your marketing email, that this is by no means a marketing email anymore is it? So what they are saying is don’t write a promotional email and your email won’t land into promotional tab. No shit? I would say even a child would come up with this.
So I was on my own again as I couldn’t find anything helpful on the internet about this topic. I started to play around a bit and test different versions of the same email and send it to a couple of emails that I own. I found out that each time I’ve put some links and images into my email, all of the emails landed into promotional tab but if I put just a couple of links and one image the same email landed in my primary tab. So it doesn’t have that much to do with the keywords I was using as I was using the same keywords.
After some time I figured a way how to put more links into my email and land it in the primary tab. I put one image at the top put everything else under this image made all titles links and styled it really nicely so that my customers wouldn’t miss the images so much. The first day that I have send this kind of email, my open rates doubled and the clicks increased dramatically. Off course the click through ratio dropped a little but the total amount of clicks increased dramatically. This only encouraged me to test further. After days of trial and error I just couldn’t get any further than what I have already accomplished, so an email with 20+ links and one image, but I wanted more. I knew (or I hoped) that it could be done, so I experimented further…
So how did I get my promotional emails into primary tab in Gmail?
After few weeks I received a promotional email, and guess what? I received it in my primary tab and it had multiple images and multiple links. Now I knew that it can be done. This gave me even more drive to discover the secret of Gmail algorithm. After carefully analysing the received email and a lot of trial and error I finally succeeded. My email with multiple images and multiple links landed in primary tab of my subscribers. Some people will say what’s the big deal about this, why am I so excited about this, but if you know how hard it is to achieve this and how rewarding it can be if you have a large subscriber base and you can double your open rates, than you know why I am so excited about this.
There really is no easier way to increase your profits by 20-30%, than to apply this techniques and land your email in the main tab in Gmail. Can you grow your user base by 20-30% over night? Can you charge your customers 20-30% more than you have and expect to have the same sales volume? Everything else takes time and hard work, and you still should pursue those things, but this is something you can do quickly, and it gets you the results instantly.
How much do open rates increase?
It depends on what kind of email you are sending, but I have seen open rates increase as much as 200%, and especially the first few days the open rates will just skyrocket, so you better have something special to offer to attract all those users who don’t usually open your emails. Off course click through and conversion rates don’t increase as much as open rates but increases from 20% to 50% are normal, and that’s a lot. If your business depends on your email marketing strategy and you can increase your profits by 30%, than this really feels like a jackpot doesn’t it? Can you imagine if you make 10000$ per month with your email marketing strategy and suddenly you can increase it to 13000, just like that, overnight and with no additional costs?
Read here to learn more about how you can create additional streams of income.
Please note that this numbers are based on the email campaigns I was working on and that the numbers might vary as every audience is different and different business models produce different revenues.
Are there any limitations?
As with everything, there are also some limitations here. I still have some testing to do and push my email techniques even further but there are some basic rules you can bend a bit, but can’t brake. Even the HTML markup can make or break you email to land into main tab. Your DKIM and SPF signature must be set up correctly. If you use to many styles your email automatically lands in the promotion tab. It is a lot of work to create an email template that is nice to look at, gives your audience the information you want and to avoid the promotions tab black hole.
So what is the main cause your email lands in the promotions tab?
Google email algorithm is checking different aspects of how your email is structured.
Have you ever tried to forward an email that landed in promotions tab to a friend? Guess what it won’t land in promotions tab.
So one thing is trust towards the sender of the email.
The other thing that I found out is that multiple images and links raise a red flag that dumps your email into the black hole of the promotions tab immediately. This one is the biggest obstacles to overcome and the main reason to get flagged as a promotion email. As soon as you will put multiple images and links your email is doomed.
There are also certain keywords that trigger google filters, such as “buy now”, “cheap” and so on. Especially if you put this keywords in the title of the email.
How to overcome this red flags
First you must set up your DKIM and SPF signature correctly else all your efforts will be wasted for nothing.
Second thing, now this is really easy, just avoid all problematic keywords. We already discussed this earlier, you can easily avoid using problematic keywords as you can always describe something in many different ways, just don’t use any spam keywords.
And now to the important part, how can you bypass the link and image filter, if you want to send multiple links and images? The thing is that google algorithm doesn’t actually look for links and images but it rather looks for repetition. Imagine you have 10 products you want to promote in your email. What is the easiest way to programatically find out that you are not sending 10 images from your holiday to your relatives but are actually sending a promotional email to potential customers? Well if the html markup in your email is repeated 10 times and is nicely styled, than there is a great possibility that you are not sending your holiday photos.
The first thing you need to fix is not to repeat anything more than two times. Don’t put a table with 5 rows of 2 columns with exactly the same markup. This will always trigger Google email filters. The second thing is not to do to much styling. Only marketeers style their emails to such extend.
This is basically it, now you will have to do a lot of trial and error to figure the best fit for your email.
After I have found the perfect balance for the email template I was sending out I also created a script that generates the template for me from the content that I have selected to send out, so now I need about 10 seconds to create my promotions tab proof email template.