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Promotions email to inbox
Katie BrennemanDec 12, 2023 4:01:00 AM7 min read

How to Nudge Users to Move Emails From Promotions to Inbox

As an email marketer, you put a lot of effort and time into creating engaging and relevant content for your subscribers. But often, your messages end up in the Promotions tab instead of the inbox.

Seeing your hard work go unnoticed by your audience can be disheartening. Luckily, there are ways to persuade users to move emails from Promotions to the inbox. This article will share practical tips on how to nudge users in the right direction.

Understanding the Promotions Tab

The Promotions tab is a Google feature that automatically categorizes incoming emails. It filters out promotional content and separates it from your primary inbox. This process helps to reduce clutter and helps users focus on personal and essential messages. These decisions are often based on complex algorithms that consider factors such as the subscribers' engagement and the content.

The impact of your message landing in the Promotions tab can be significant. According to a study by ReturnPath, 90% of emails end up in the Promotions tab, with a read rate of 14%, compared to only 0.3% in the primary inbox, but with a read rate of 24%. This dramatically reduces the visibility of your correspondence, making it less likely that subscribers will engage with your content. Fortunately, there are tactics you can use to encourage users to move your message by lowering your emails from going to spam.

Strategies to Nudge Users

Now that we have a better understanding of how promotional tabs work, let's delve into the strategies you can deploy to help you get noticed by your target readers.

  • Craft compelling subject lines: The subject line is the first thing readers see when they get your message. It plays a significant role in whether or not they read your correspondence. So, you must use persuasive language and ensure your subject lines are relevant to the content of your email.
  • Personalize your emails: Content that feels personalized has been shown to increase open rates. Use data such as the subscriber's name or location to create a more personal connection with your readers. However, personalizing mass emails can be challenging, so consider using email marketing software to help you scale this plan.
  • Encourage engagement and interactivity: It is crucial to include interactive elements such as polls, quizzes, or surveys that can grab subscribers' attention and encourage them to reply to you.
  • Voice of the customer: As mentioned earlier, personalization is key to bypassing the promotions tab. So leverage data and insights to build your Voice of the Customer (VoC). This is ultimately highly personalized content that resonates with your audience.
  • Leveraging email authentication: Implementing authentication protocols such as Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication (DMARC) can help prove to clients that you are legitimate and should not be marked as spam. This can also improve the chances of your correspondence landing in the main inbox.

If subscribers find your content useful or entertaining, they are more likely to take action. Additionally, it is essential to regularly remind users to check their Promotions tab for any missed emails, as they may need to be made aware of this feature.

How Technology Can Help

From the use of mobile technology to AI-driven analytics, it's clear that embracing technological innovations can significantly impact your marketing effectiveness. Let’s explore how technology has helped with email marketing procedures:

  • Using mobile technology: With most users accessing emails on their mobile devices, optimizing your business emails for mobile is vital. Responsive design and concise information can make your content more readable and user-friendly.
  • AI-powered analytics: Artificial Intelligence can help analyze customer behavior, preferences, and engagement patterns, providing valuable insights for crafting targeted campaigns. This can also assist in increasing open rates and minimizing your messages' likelihood of going to the Promotions tab.

Incorporating these technologies can help you stand out in a crowd and achieve higher success. Remember, if you want to be successful in email marketing, staying ahead of the curve is essential.

Educating Subscribers

Companies must communicate why their content should be read, emphasizing the benefits and unique value they can gain from your communications. It is also important to provide clear instructions to guide subscribers on placing your emails in their main inbox if they need to learn about this feature.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Moving Emails to the Inbox

Instead of leaving it up to chance, here are some simple instructions you can provide for subscribers who may not be tech-savvy or familiar with Google's tabs:

  1. Open your Gmail account and navigate to the Promotions tab under "categories."
  2. Find an email from your brand.
  3. Drag and drop it to your Primary inbox.

These steps should significantly increase the likelihood of improving your visibility and engagement rates.

A/B Testing and Optimization

In email marketing, A/B testing and optimization present valuable strategies for improving placement. Let's look at a few ways you can leverage these tactics to boost your open rates:

  • Testing different approaches to improve inbox placement: A/B testing can help dictate which elements of your content, subject lines, and calls to action work best. Some variables to test include personalization, email length, call-to-action placement, and use of images.
  • Optimizing for user engagement: Try experimenting with different formats, visuals, and subject lines to identify the combination that results in higher open and click-through rates.

You can ensure maximum effectiveness by continuously testing and optimizing your email procedures, leading to a more substantial Return on Investment (ROI).

Building Trust with Subscribers

Trust is the key to a successful marketing plan. It's important to establish and maintain this trust to improve email deliverability and foster stronger relationships with your subscribers. Here are a few ways to build a bond with your audience:

  • Transparency and permission-based marketing: Be transparent with your subscribers about the type of information and frequency of when they will receive this content. Also, ensure you have their permission to send them the messages.
  • Requesting users to add your email address to their contacts: This can help Gmail recognize your content as secure and legitimate.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe: Nobody likes badgering emails that clog up their inbox. Even if the content in your emails is pristine, you can annoy recipients by crossing the line in the number of emails you send. However, you have to get their attention somehow! To balance this line, provide an easy way for your audience to unsubscribe, preferably at the bottom along with an encouragement to provide feedback.
  • Always ensure that Opt-in is unchecked by default while subscribing to your content: Choice is key when enticing potential subscribers. You don’t want to accidentally trick them into becoming subscribers by leaving the opt-in box checked when browsing your site. They’ll be more likely to unsubscribe without even looking at the content itself. Give the choice to your potential subscribers instead to prevent this from happening.

By building trust with your subscribers, you are forming a loyal customer base for your brand that will look forward to receiving your content.

Measuring Success

Success in email marketing strategies is measured in several ways, including tracking deliverability and evaluating the impact of various features. Here are a few metrics to keep an eye on:

  • Tracking email deliverability and open rates: To keep track of your deliverability rates, monitor your open rates, bounce rates, and spam complaints. These metrics help identify issues and allow you to make adjustments to improve future campaigns.
  • Evaluating the impact of nudging strategies: Implementing different nudging techniques, such as personalization, A/B testing, and educating subscribers, should help you better understand the impact of these approaches on your brand.

These measuring tools are not only helpful for assessing your current performance but also essential for making informed decisions to improve future campaigns.

Case Studies

Now that we've looked at different tactics for improving email deliverability, let's look at some real-life success stories from brands that have used these approaches:

Case Study 1: HubSpot's Personalization Strategy

HubSpot, a leading CRM platform, is a great example of how personalized email marketing can influence inbox placement and open rates. Using customer data and insights, HubSpot created highly customized emails, leading to a 75% increase in their open rate.

Case Study 2: Netflix and Amazon SES

Another outstanding case study involves Netflix and its use of Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) for email marketing. By applying Amazon SES's powerful analytics and reporting potential, Netflix saw inbox placement rates that surpassed 99%. Due to these results, they replaced their in-house email solution with this new tool.


It can be frustrating to put time and effort into crafting an email only to not have it seen by your target clients. That is why understanding the Promotions tab and implementing an effective game plan to improve email placement is crucial to the visibility of your business.

However, you’re only human. If you find that your email marketing efforts are falling flat, you’re not alone. That’s why support can help. If you find that your individual efforts are lacking, seek out an email service provider like SendX for the best results.

Make Your Email Marketing Profitable


Katie Brenneman

Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.