Avoid the Gmail Spam Folder & Promotions Tab

9 Ways To Avoid The Gmail Spam Folder And Promotions Tab

Email marketing is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers, clients, prospects or subscribers. This post will teach you how to prevent your emails from landing in the spam folder dreaded Gmail promotions tab.

#1 – Use an email service provider

An email service provider is a software company that offers an email marketing tool that helps you to create and send bulk emails to a list of subscribers. Without an email service provider, you risk the chance of your domain name being blacklisted. Once you are blacklisted (aka spammer), all emails from your company’s website domain will be blocked by major internet service providers. What does this mean? Any emails sent from your domain name will not be delivered, including individual messages you send to communicate with clients – can be blocked.

I would recommend using one of these email marketing services; such as, aWeber, Constant Contact, MailChimp, iContact, Klaviyo to name a few.

#2 – Ask for an add

The emails you send through your email marketing services will likely show up in the Promotions tab if you do not take action. Start with a direct approach… ask your subscribers to add you to their contact list. This simple ask guarantees that your future emails pass the spam filters and arrive directly into your subscriber’s inbox. Getting subscribers to whitelist your email address helps improve your sender reputation with your email service provider and improves your overall delivery rates.

Example 1: To make sure you keep getting these emails, please add [email address] to your address book.
Example 2: Did this email land in your Promotions tab? Help our emails land in your inbox. Follow these two easy steps:
1. Click on the email and drag it to your Primary inbox.
2. When a dialog box asks whether you want this action performed for every message from us, click “Yes.”

#3 – Watch Your Words

When you send your email if it sounds salesy or promotional, it will land in the promotions tab in gmail or the spam filter in other email services. One of the best ways to avoid landing in promotions or spam folder is to choose your words wisely.

In your subject line and content, skip words like “Sale,” “Free,” “% Off,” “Deals,” and “Discount,”. You’ll also want to be careful about using all caps, dollar or percent signs, or excessive punctuation, like a lot of exclamation points!!!!!

You’ll also want to avoid the most common spam trigger words to avoid your email being marked as spam.

  • Congratulations
  • Winner
  • Amazing
  • For only ($)
  • Free or toll-free
  • Great offer
  • This is not spam
  • Order now
  • Guarantee
  • Cancel at any time
  • Click here
  • Dear friend
  • Risk-free
  • Special promotion
  • Promise you
  • Free
  • Prize
  • Bonus

#4 – Send Personalized Messages

Marketers believe that personalizing your emails will results in higher subscriber engagement. It only makes sense, if the customer feels the email is written directly to them and not just a group email they are more likely to take action.

Here’s a few ways to personalize your email messages:

  • Address your subscribers by name, the way you’d address your friends.
  • Use personalized subject lines.
  • Making the content of your emails unique and relevant to your users by segmenting your email list.

#5 – Use Your Name In Your “From” Information

Email service provides evaluate your IP, domain name, content and they also pay attention to your “From” email address as well. To help establish your credibility you will want to…

  • Avoid using obscure email addresses like “4466889@domain.com” or “noreply@domain.com.”
  • Avoid using generic sender names such as “contact@”, “support@”, “feedback@”
  • Use a simple and trustworthy “From” field name such as “Rebecca Wardlow | RebeccaWardlow.com”
  • Avoid changing your “From” field name. Use the same “From” field name on all your emails.

The CAN-SPAM Act states “you shouldn’t mislead subscribers” with your “from,” “to,” “reply-to,” and routing information. For example, you can’t make your email look like it came from a competitor.

#6 – Don’t Use Too Many Images

Yes, I agree! Images make emails more attractive. BUT… they can also be the reason your email is flagged and sent to the promotions tab or the spam folder.  I would not recommend removing images completely; just stick to using one or two. 

#7 – Include Your Physical Address

Some internet service provides specifically check for a physical address on email blasts because the law requires you to include a valid, physical address.

A physical address can be:

  • Your current street address
  • A post office box registered with the U.S. Postal Service
  • A private mailbox registered with a commercial mail receiving agency that abides by Postal Service regulations

If you work out of your home, I would recommend that you get a P.O. box for your business. That way, you don’t have to share your home address with your newsletter subscribers.

#8 – Do Not Hide Your Unsubscribe Link

Do not try to be sneaky by hiding the “unsubscribe” link in the footer of your email in very small font. If your subscribers cannot locate the unsubscribe link, they will hit the spam button. By law, you MUST provide the option for subscribers to opt-out of your email list. If you don’t include a unsubscribe link in your email, you could receive a fine for thousands of dollars. My advice, make it easy for subscribers to opt-out of your email list.

#9 – Never Purchase Email Lists

You do not want the reputation of being a spammer! It may be tempting to grow your list by a million leads for a few bucks, but you should NEVER buy an email list. Most email service providers do not allow you to upload purchased lists. Sending emails to people that did not opt-in to your email list, almost always end up in spam. My advice, you should ALWAYS get permission first before sending an email to them.

So how do you acquire emails? Add a email opt-in form to your site in various locations, such as a pop-up, embedded form on a page or a simple link to a sign-up page. On social media, invite your fans and followers to join your email list.

Did you know that the CAN-SPAM Act prohibits the use of purchased email lists? What is the penalty for breaking this rule, a hefty fine up to $16,000. In addition, you should never manually add emails from business cards you collect at a chamber of commerce events or conference as this is also a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act. Instead, take the emails from those business cards and send a personal email to the person you met. Be sure to invite them to opt into your newsletter.

Finally, if you have subscribers in Europe, you must also follow GDPR guidelines.

You’ve written your copy, crafted your email blast and are ready to send it? STOP! Take a moment and use the tools inside your email service provide to provide you insight about where your email is likely to land. Both of these tools will provide you with helpful hints and insight on how to adjust your email so that you have a better chance of landing in the subscribers inbox.


Do you have any questions? Feel free to email me! I’m here to help in any way possible.