Tips For Making Sure Your Emails Are Seen And Read
A decade ago, when emails first become common, you would find as many marketing emails in your inbox as you would personal email. Fortunately, Gmail – and other email providers – got smarter. They added strong spam filters that could filter out unsolicited emails. However, in the last few years – first with the Promotions tab, and now with “Inbox” by Gmail – we’ve noticed a change in how even solicited marketing emails are being filtered. More and more marketers are reporting lower click-through, starting from when Gmail launched its promotions tab.
What is the Gmail Promotions Tab
The Gmail Promotions tab was, along with the “Social” tab, Gmail’s way of sorting email. Messages from social media and mailers were both filtered out of the main inbox, so that you could easily go through these messages at a different time. In theory, this sounds great. Allowing people the choice of when they sift through promotions and social media messages is an excellent way of ensuring two things: 1) these messages are distracting them during the work-day, 2) when they eventually go through them, they do so with intention. This same filtering mechanism has also been introduced with Inbox by Gmail.
The main issue with these tabs is that it takes your marketing emails out of the customer’s main inbox, and is sidelined. The worst case scenario here is that it might never be opened – as many people ignore their promotions tab entirely – or that they might unsubscribe if they see a large number of emails from the same sender with no perceived value. Here are some tips on how you can avoid this.
- Inform the Customers
While these tabs are setup by default, users have the option of either turning them off, or changing how different emails are treated. Many brands have emailed their customers to inform them of these changes, and given clear instructions on how to ensure future emails are sent to the primary inbox. It’s still not too late to do this.
It’s not important to just explain the how, also explain the why. Let them know the reason they signed up for the mailer in the first place, the value you are providing them, and why it is in their best interests to receive these emails in their primary inbox.
- Build Relationships
Use your email campaign to build a relationship with your customers. This might sound complicated, but it’s not. Avoid sales-y words in your emails. Instead, each email you send should deliver on the promise you made when they signed up for it. If you offered great discounts, make sure you regularly follow through. If you promised great tips on XYZ once a week, make sure every email delivers on that.
If you’re regularly delivering on what you promised, the customer is much more likely to mark your email as one that needs to be sent to the primary inbox. It is email that is no longer delivering anything of value that will end up in the promotions tab.
- Deliver Great Content
As long as your email subject and content packs a punch, you will be in better shape than most marketers out there. Sending high-quality, a relevant email, with great content, is the key to ensuring your marketing emails are not only open, but have a higher click-through rate than ever before.
Click a handy infographic below. It will help you to design the optimal email.
- Avoid Tripping the Spam Filter
Gmail’s spam filter uses an algorithm that very effectively removes spam, but sometimes ends up filtering out even those emails the user signed up for. A lot of experiments have been done on the why and how of these spam filters. If you’re strill struggling with your mailers being filtered straight to spam, here are some quick things to note.
- Proactively ask all new subscribers to add your “from” address to their Gmail contact list. This is the definitive way of making sure your messages don’t end up in the spam folder.
- Make it easy for the user to unsubscribe. Might sound counter-productive but in fact it saves your email from being marked as “spam”. Once this happens, your email address might get marked as spam across email providers.
- Don’t use purchased email lists. These are a sure-fire way of informing an email provider that you are spamming people and sending unsolicited emails.
- Link only to reputable sites, and don’t add more than 1-2 links per email.
- Don’t send an email over 50kb in size. Smaller is better. This will mean fewer images, which goes well with a more “conversational” email tone and high-quality content.
- Don’t use sales-y language. We covered this earlier, but it deserves a second mention. Avoid phrases like “free prizes” etc, which might be construed by the spam filter as being too promotional.
When a subscriber trusts you with their email address you have successfully started building a relationship with them. Whether they stay on the outer fringes of your sales funnel, or eventually convert into a lead, is dependent on how you communicate with them. Since email is how you communicate, it’s in your benefit to ensure they keep this line of communication open. Make sure every email provides your subscriber with enough value for them to look forward to the next one, and you should be safe from them clicking on “spam” or “unsubscribe”.
Below you will find some helpful do’s and don’ts for email marketin. Just click the image!