How Do I Make Sure Emails Go to Primary Instead of Promotions?

The Gmail Promotion tab is a major obstacle for email marketers looking to get their messages opened and clicked.

It’s not just that the promotions tab has a smaller appearance, it is also where most promotional emails are sent. You may find that yours is buried beneath a bunch of deals and other offers.

This tab does not have any of these issues. It is easy to access and has a sparse amount of content. Emails sent to the primary tab get more clicks, opens, and sales.

If your email appears in the Promotions tab, don’t worry. It’s easy to move it from there. Jimmy Kim is CEO and cofounder at Sendlane (a behaviorally-based tool for email automation) and teaches Foundr’s Advanced Email Marketing course.

In the past few years, he has viewed over 10 billion email messages. He is an expert in how to make emails open, read, and click.

The video below shows the most common reasons why emails are not being sent to the primary tab. It also shows how to correct the issue. Improve your email marketing with this simple and effective method.

Trigger Tab 1: HTML Templates and Signatures

Jimmy says that to understand the Promotion tab and avoid it, you need first to know how it’s created.

The tabs were introduced by Gmail to help users find emails of different kinds in their Inboxes.

Gmail wants updates on one tab. Emails for sales go onto another tab. And emails from real people are placed in the main tab. It was a noble goal, but Gmail couldn’t decide how to do it.


It is not difficult to spot patterns in promotional emails.

  • Image of Lots
  • HTML Templates
  • Product Images
  • Sales graphics
  • Legal jargon in the footers

This is an example of a typical Magic Spoon Cereal promotional email.

Notice how large the images are. Use a header and HTML templates.

Where are the email messages that you would normally find in the tabs?

Jimmy asks you to “imagine the type of email a friend might send.” They would not send you an email with graphics. “

If you’re looking to access the tab at the top, consider these points:

Consider this example from Natural Stacks. This email looks as if it’s from a close friend, but is actually from the founder of a company that sells supplements.

Only use one image. Too many images may trigger a promotion. Kim recommends a maximum number of two or three images.

If you want to reduce the promotional nature of your footer, then it is better to write “No longer interested in receiving exclusive health offers and news?” In your message of unsubscription, you can say “No longer wish to receive exclusive offers or the latest health news? Click here to unsubscribe.” Instead of “Unsubscribe”, you could say, “Unsubscribe”. This will make it sound like less of a promotional message.

Jimmy says: “You do not need to completely remove templates and images.” The HTML email is often placed under the Promotions Tab.

Natural Stacks is a good example of a tool that can switch between plain text and emails with a well-designed layout. It increases the chances that they will be in the main tab.

Promo Tab Trigger #2: Duplicate Content

Gmail puts duplicate content on the Promo tab just like Google for sites that mass produce content. Gmail understands that messages sent out to thousands or even thousands are unlikely to be personal. It will by default not be delivered to the main inbox.

Jimmy thinks that the solution to this problem is simple. “

You can add the name of the recipient to an email. This email from Podia (the platform which hosts online courses) customizes the message to me even though thousands of people received it.

This is probably the reason it showed up on my tab.

Promotional emails are often duplicated.

personalizing email can also lead to higher conversions.

Promo Tab Trigger #3: Unoriginal Images

Jimmy cautions that emails with stock photos and unoriginal images can also end up in the Promotion tab.

Google looks for images that are repeated. He says that they move images not of their creation to a promotional tab.

You will get a warning if you, as an example, run a company that sells health supplements and uses the very first image you can find of someone sipping green tea. By creating your visual content, it is more likely you’ll be included in the tab.

Meowingtons, for example, is a site that sells apparel and accessories with cat themes. Most of the time, they send out emails with models in their clothes.

This is not an image that anyone can copy. Google rewards the user for this. It’s a big brand sending out many sales emails. But they appear on my tab.

Try to avoid duplication whenever possible.

Promo Tab Trigger #4: Symbols & Strange Formatting

Many strange symbols

Punctuation with excessive stress

Formatting problems

All of these are signs that you’re receiving spam. Gmail knows this and will automatically move it to the spam folder (at least) or your promotion tab.

Jimmy’s advice: “Avoid symbols and other formats, for both your subscribers and Gmail filter. “

By using simple techniques, you can reduce the amount of symbols and formatting in your documents.

Click Here instead of “==> to click on <==”. “

Instead of “You have to see it immediately”, try writing “You need to see this now!” Instead of writing “You have to see it now!”, try writing “You need to immediately see this” Instead of “You must see this immediately!!

Gmail does not like it when you use ALL CAPS.

Be very cautious when using the currency symbol.

Listen carefully!

Promo Tab Trigger #5: SPAM Words

The use of these words is not allowed in Gmail.

Jimmy: “You’ll be in the box for promotion if you don’t stop using them as often as possible.” ” “Almost guaranteed. “

You can see a list here of words that trigger spam.

Spam Words are words such as:

  • Make promises and exaggerate claims. Google will mark you as spam for promising fast payments or saying you are guaranteed something.
  • Gmail can detect excessive usage of phrases such as “ACT NOW” and “THE DEADLINE IS TODAY”. It is spam.
  • You may be making a true exaggeration, but it will cause spam filters to flag your emails.
  • Before sending your email, check for terms related to the industry.

Ask yourself: Does this spammy to you? “

Your delivery will be affected. Try to avoid using buzzwords and being unclear.

Increase email clicks, opens, and sales with

If your email goes to the promotion tab, it’s no big deal. By making a few changes you can instantly improve the performance of your emails.

Test them to see how they work.

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