Primary, Promotions or Spam? How to get to the right Gmail folder

    by Наталия Шморгун



    Marketers have been racking their brains to update Gmail during the past 8 years.


    Adding the folder sorting, the email providers provoked a fiercer resistance than the Battle of Gettysburg.


    But no matter what tactics email marketers come up with to bypass the given algorithms and avoid the "Spam" or "Promotions" folder, Gmail filters emails mercilessly. So what can we do? Accept or continue to fight for "Primary" messages?


    Let's figure out how to get emails to a specific Gmail folder and enjoy the sales.



    Sorting emails into folders in Gmail. Good or bad?


    In 2013, the news that Gmail introduced additional folders have made everyone stir their stumps. If earlier marketers dreamed of "Primary" and were afraid of "Spam" like fire, now there is a worse monster — "Promotions". But is the devil so black as he is painted?


    According to Return Path, when users go to Promotions, they are ready for the offers and for purchases. Many marketers may argue: “So what, that they are ready? People don't go to the Promotions folder”.


    Is it so? Let's turn to the unchanging referee — statistics.


    • 0,25% of users do not sort emails in Gmail.
    • 46% believe that “Promotions” are the second most important after “Primary”.
    • 14% of recipients check the Promotions folder more than once a day.



    How often do people open the Promotions folder?


    Return Path investigation shows how often users check the Promotions folder.


    As you can see, the opinion poll showed that not everything is so terrible. People open the “Promotions” folder, some even several times per day.



    How to get to the Primary folder in Gmail


    If the email is in “Primary”, then the chances are high that the recipient will read it.


    But what should be the letter to be in the coveted folder? There are several tricks for this.



    Ask the recipient to help you


    Resourceful marketers add a column to the mailing body with a request to move their letter to the "Primary" folder. Thus, all subsequent brand emails will follow the same route.


    How to ask the reader to move a letter to "Primary"



    Write the correct text for your email


    Words like “buy”, “discount”, “sale” shout: “Hey, Gmail, and we want to get into the“ Promotions ”. Google will gladly fulfill this request. If your goal is the Primary folder, avoid these words both in the body of the email and in the subject line.


    How to fix the situation:


    • Don't overuse emoticons
      The excessive use of emoticons in your emails is of particular interest to spam filters. And the letters simply will not reach the recipient, as they will be regarded as spam.
    • Don't scream about money
      By adding the words “free”, “cheap”, “$$$” to the subject line, you doom your email not just to the “Promotions” folder, but to be completely forgotten in “Spam”.
    • Don't rush the subscriber
      How do you feel about people yelling at you “Come on quickly!”? This is how Gmail immediately sends such emails to ... "Promotions", and if very angry, then to "Spam". Avoid words like “hurry”, “don't miss”, “urgent”, “be in time”.
    • Don't sell out of the doors
      The words "promotion", "discount", "coupon" are triggers for Gmail, and he will gladly send them to "Promotions".
    • Don't be expressive
      Forget about the CAPS LOCK key. And also remember that you cannot write more than one question mark or exclamation mark.


    To prevent Gmail from suspecting too much, create the impression of a friendly communication. At the end of the letter, ask the recipient's opinion, as is usually the case in personal correspondence.



    Think carefully about the design


    • Images
      The sweet spot for images to text is 40:60. Where 40% of email is images and 60% is text. To be sure to get into the "Inbox", limit yourself to one picture.
      P.S. The logo is also a picture.
    • Page proofs
      An email formatted with a spreadsheet containing wow effects, GIF animations and sliders will go to Promotions at the speed of light.


    Follow the link count rule


    If marketers have come up with a formula for the perfect letter, they haven't released it yet. But they opened the door ajar and said that the optimal number of links is 3-5 per letter.


    So it is worth excluding elements such as:


    • "Browser View"



    • Social media icons



    • Unsubscribe link
      You shouldn't delete it altogether. Just change the wording, for example, "Don't get any more useful things."


    Of course, all this does not guarantee a 100% result, because it is impossible to take into account all 550 message sorting parameters.


    To increase the chances of getting into "Primary", use special software for email campaigns Atomic Mail Sender. Thanks to the Spam Assasin function, the program will analyze the finished email and give a rating. The lower the score, the higher the likelihood that the letter will end up in “Primary”.


    How to run an email campaign test




    Email spam test results



    It is also possible to automatically substitute words, text, pictures. Using it, you will increase the number of letters in the "Primary".


    How to personalize emails



    How to get into "Promotions"


    If you still agree with the idea of ​​Gmail and do not oppose the "Promotions", do everything as in the previous paragraph, but exactly the opposite.


    Here are some reminders:


    • Don't overuse selling words.
      If we said above that it is worth excluding them from the content of the mailing list, then here just limit yourself to one or two words that will indicate the promotional mailing.
    • Links can be left.
      But don't overdo it. You should not write 10 links in a row, otherwise the letter will be in spam. Maximum 5.
    • Do not remove the header and footer of your email.
      Rumor has it that the header and footer of email newsletters will ensure a hit in the "Promotions". If this is what you need - go ahead and create a beautiful sales letter with all the relevant elements.
    • Bring creativity to life
      If you are not obsessed with the "Primary" folder, then you can safely realize your wildest desires. Wow effects, colorful images are all welcome in Promotions.


    How to get to the Spam folder in Gmail


    If you are delusional with “Spam”, then we will help you in this case. Catch tips on how to plunge into the waters of oblivion.


    • Forget about word limits. Here you can give free rein to your senses and use all stop words, even those related to 18+ content.
    • You can leave an unlimited number of exclamation and question marks in a row.
    • Email with only links is welcome in Spam.
    • Want to customize your email with an image? No problems. Spam filters will kindly guide it to the appropriate folder.
    • And in general, to get into spam, just break all the above tips.

    A couple of examples of which email campaigns are considered spam:


    An example of "how not to do email"




    Typical spam email



    Such bright letters end up in the "Spam" folder. Pay attention to the text. Feel free to offer loans, money making and other shenanigans.


    P.S. You'd better not do that, because there is nothing good in Spam. There is only devastation, the damaged reputation of the sender and the brand.





    Preparing a mass email campaign already takes a lot of effort, and Gmail has added fuel to the fire. Adhere to the above rules, and then you will not be afraid of sorting letters into folders in Gmail. Which folder is your target: Primary or Promotions? Answer in comments.


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    Written by:
    Наталия Шморгун
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