6 Tips to Avoid the Dreaded Gmail Promotions Tab

The Gmail Promotions Tab.

To an email marketer, it’s almost as bad as landing in the spam or junk mail box.

But, here’s the good news: it’s not as bad.

Statistically, your emails will still get read and clicked on.

You just need to expect a decrease in interaction because it takes a bit more effort for subscribers to find your messages.

However, if you determine what landed your emails there, you can fight your way out!

It can be done – I’ve seen it done over and over (including with my own emails).

So use this as a guide and you should see better results in no time!

But, before we move on, I have to share a quick disclaimer – this is not a 100% definite way to remove yourself from the promotions tab.

If you follow these 6 guidelines, you’ll have a better chance of going back to the primary tab in gmail, but since I don’t control their filtering process, I can’t make guarantees.

These are just recommendations based on my own email marketing experience and our history at Sendlane.

With that being said, here are the main reasons why your messages could be classified as promotions.

And a few tips on how to make the jump back to the Primary Tab if you find yourself there:

1. Set Templates and Signatures

I know they look nice.

The same format every time, the same look.

Guess who else does this?

Large companies like Apple or Facebook.


Because it’s the corporate look.

If you can avoid using templates and still have a cohesive, branded feel – great!

If you own a company that requires this type of branding, it’s better to focus on other factors within your control.

If that’s the case, don’t worry about it – I have 5 more tips coming that you can use instead.

2. Big Company Keywords

Just to list a few: Google, Facebook, Bing, Yahoo, Twitter, and Youtube… all of these are “authority” keywords.

You should avoid using them so Google’s filters don’t flag your messages.

Try to be creative with how you reference these big names.

Here are a few examples:

Google = The Big G or The Largest Search Engine in the World

Facebook = FB or The largest social media platform

YouTube = YT or The Tube

3. Think “SEO” for Email

When it comes to SEO, your content needs to be original in order to rank in search engines, right?

Copy and pasting no longer works in email marketing, just like duplicate content won’t get you anywhere when it comes to website SEO.

Plus, Google has the same type of filters in place for Gmail as they do for their search engine system.

You can’t just take the swipes a vendor offers, drop them into your autoresponder & hit send.

Think about it… you are promoting a product that a few hundred (maybe even 500) affiliates are promoting.

Let’s say 10% of them copy and paste – which is probably on the low side of average.

So based on 500 affiliates, that’s 50 people who just copy and paste the email and hit send.

If each person has an average list of 2,500… that means 1,250,000 million emails get sent out with the same exact email copy!

What do you think your chances of hitting the promotions or spam box are?

They just greatly increased!

So, ditch the pre-written swipes and craft your own copy every single time.

You can always use the vendor’s resources as a reference when writing your own emails, but don’t ever copy and paste.

4. Images

Media rich emails can be effective (if done correctly) but the images have to be unique.

With Google Image Search, every image is now scrubbed through Google’s system when you send an email.

If the image is considered a stock image or non-unique it’ll increase your promotions tab chances.

Use your own images!

5. Symbols or Formatting

We’ve been taught that symbols are great!

If I use exclamation points and question marks with a ton of bolding and highlighting, people will pay more attention right?

Well… Gmail finds it as obnoxious as I do if you use too many.

Here are a few examples:

==> Click Here <==

Check this out!!!

Are you READY????


Make $215 a day!!!!!

If you want to really make an impact on your audience and avoid the promotions tab, take it easy on the symbols and formatting.

Your emails should be clean with simple formatting so the content is easy to read – both for your subscribers and for Gmail’s filters.

Use a normal amount of punctuation and only add bold or italics on the most important points you’re trying to make.

6. Email Curse Words

You know the words, I’ve made a great post here about them!

You really need to stop using them as much as possible, because…

  1. it’s going to land you in the promotions box
  2. if you continue, your messages will most likely wind up the spam box

You get the point, right?

If it looks “spammy,” it’s going to affect your delivery.

So think before you use anything on the email curse word list!

Final Thoughts on Avoiding the Promotions Tab

Now these 6 tips aren’t the “must do’s”…

But they are best practices, especially if you are just starting out!

Over time, and once you’ve built up your reputation, these factors won’t be quite as detrimental to your deliverability.

Once you get to that point and if you have strong enough interaction, you won’t have to worry quite as much.

For me, I can do all 6 of these and still maintain presence in the primary inbox.

But occasionally I’ve even seen Facebook end up in my spam box, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

And chances are you aren’t there yet… as most people aren’t.

So take these tips as general knowledge and apply them to your email marketing – it’s good practice either way.

Oh and these things ALSO apply to subject lines as well, not just the body.

I hope this helps!

Take a minute and let me know which tip is your favorite or what your best “AH HA” moment was from this list!

Caitlin Hutchinson

Caitlin Hutchinson

Social Media & Community Manager at Sendlane
A native of San Diego, California, Caitlin has a passion for developing creative and engaging marketing content. She is primarily responsible for overseeing the development, execution and delivery of digital content across all of Sendlane’s channels as well as maintaining an online presence of Sendlane's team culture. She has enjoyed being a part of a powerhouse team where she has had the opportunity to wear a variety of hats and take her knowledge and creativity to the next level. When not focusing on increasing Sendlane's online presence you'll find Caitlin playing music on her guitar or piano and spending time with her Husband and their rescue dog, Piper.
Caitlin Hutchinson