How To Get Your Emails Delivered In Gmail’s Primary Inbox

Recently, I started up my email campaign again.

My company, Doorbell Digital Marketing, is in it’s infancy stage so I figured i’d do what I do best to help it take it’s first steps. Create useful content, and put it in front of people that need it until they become customers.

I know. Revolutionary stuff.

Today was the day that I sent out my first email. I was pretty excited and ready to change the world. However, upon clicking send I realized one small problem.

My emails were going straight to the promotion box.

Hmm. That hadn’t happened with my old blog’s email marketing campaign. So I decided to do what I always do in these situations.

Read, try some stuff out, and fail until I win. Thinking cap engaged.

The problem

My content was heavily promotional.

I gave almost no thought into customer and their needs, or how I was speaking to them. My initial email was basically the equavalent of me sending them a giant red button that said “purchase things from me because i’m telling you to right now”

That is not the way to properly market your content or services.

Also, I was using a template from my email service provider, Mailchimp. The provider in and of itself wasn’t an issue, but the fact that the default template I chose wasn’t optimized for delivery, was.

It had a spot for my company information, a header with a logo, and a bunch of nonsense at the bottom. I realized that aint nobody got time for that.

Lastly, I never tested any one aspect of the emails. Every element I changed and added was impulsively done with no thought to the end result or how it would affect the campaign overall.

Getting my emails into the sacred place

I”m talking about Gmail’s coveted primary inbox.

That’s where you want to be, as your emails are going to be read front and center and will appear more personal to your user. People like other people they can trust.

First step. Switch up the template.

Use a plain text or extremely light amount of html

You may think that your emails won’t get read or your users won’t take action with a simple and dare I say it, “boring” email format.

Well youre wrong.

Us marketers tend to think that we are giving our target users what they want, when in reality, we’re giving them what we want them to want.

Completely separate objectives.

Think about it. When you send an email to someone, are you adding in H1s, bolding parts of text as a call to action, or utilizing an RSS feed? Of course not.

That would be silly.

Users don’t expect emails to be complicated or include all of the bells and whistles you think will make them convert. Just keep it casual with the format.

You’ll be safe if you follow these guidelines:

  • Text only
  • No coding
  • Make it as close to a regular email as possible

If your email is promoting something…that’s the box it will end up in

I know, it makes so much sense.

The type of language you use, including percentages and numbers, will affect which box your email will get sent into.

My initial message include “deal” and price a few times in it and so clearly that’s not personal. A friend or family member would rarely send a message containing these elements.

So I changed the title to something less salesly, changed the body text to more casual language, and took away any numbers or references to purchasing directly.

As a general rule of thumb, if you want to promote something with your campaign, it will end up in the promotions tab, and that’s okay. Today’s users are savvy and used to looking into the part of their inbox for deals and messages from brands they connect with.

If you want to promote something, consider including information material or content that isn’t a direct sale, and urge your users to follow a link to that content in the email. Then, once they’ve landed on the page, you can urge them to convert.

Take it easy with the links

Throughout my research, I found that 1-2 links was acceptable if I wanted to get my email in the primary inbox.

That was good to know, because my original email had 5 links. I could certainly see how it would be odd to send someone I regularly communicate with that many links to soemthing in a single email.

So I shaved down the amount of links to one single one at the conclusion of the email. This seemed to work well and google rewarded me with once again placing my message into the inbox. It also made the email look incredibly natural.

You’ve got to test

More so than anything I realized that Google has an incredibly complext algo for determining where the mail ends up and it seems to be constantly changing as well.

At times i sent the same email twice and it ended up in separate boxes.

So a great piece of advice would be to send yourself quite a few test emails and isolate different variables of your messages one by one until you get a result that consistently ends up in the inbox.

Final thoughts

Here is the email I ended up with that landed in happy zone:

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