Resources for Small Business

Don't get Dumped! Not even by the New Gmail Inbox.

It took all your courage to go up and talk to that one girl you liked in your school, or maybe in your college. You went up and told all that was necessary to seal the deal.  Didnt work out ?
You just got dumped! Felt bad?

But you were never among the ones who gave up. Come 2014, you mustered up more courage this time. Took the step which few of your friends dared to take – Opened up your own ecommerce business, launched your website. Got a huge list of your subscribers through the cool app on your website which allows your visitors to drop their email addresses.
You unceasingly wooed your customers, through email ,Whatsapp or sms – informing all your customers about the discounts and great offers. But what if I told you, your email communication is going to be dumped again. This time by Gmail.
Feels really bad, doesn’t it?

So its time to say, “Look Gmail,this time I want a place in your heart-THE PRIMARY TAB!

Emails are one of the most personal ways of communication for any marketer. Although a traditional means, its highly effective for small/medium business owners looking to establish a one to one relation with their customers. New offers, product updates, discounts, new store launches, we can push updates to our audience every other day. However it would really pinch us hard if we knew that our mails are being dumped into one corner along with all other promotional emails.


In June, 2013 Gmail launched the tabbed mailbox feature. This is basically a filtering process setup by Google to help you categorize all your incoming emails. If you just have a look at your mailbox you will see that you have three main tabs as shown below:

  • Primary
  • Social
  • Promotions
  • Updates (Not default)

This is essentially how Google suggests that it will help you sort out your mailbox :

  • Google will nicely categorize your mailbox into what is important and what is not.
  • Google will filter out the spammy promotional mails.
  • But yes Google will send you some promotional emails too-and that’s the catch! Gmail doesn’t want to stop email promotions completely but just wants a slice of the pie. Once in a while you would find a Google sponsored ad in the promotional tab too.

So let us see how we can take some steps to design our Promotional mails so that they don’t end up in one of the neglected tabs in gmail.

I just ran a check on my mailbox and found mails from my favourite bookstore Crosswords, also being categorized into the Promotional tab. I would not want to miss an offer from Crosswords!


Similarly many of your offers, discounts and other promotional mailers might be going into the promotional tab and not into the Primary tab. Thus decreasing the probability of your mail being read by your customers.


Every email that goes into the promotional tabs mean losses on both sides. Here’s how –
As a business owner you lose out on a customer. As a consumer i lose out on a great offer. For e.g- Its of no use stumbling upon a Dussehra offer coupon code in my mailbox, when its already Diwali. So lets see what can be done to get your mail to land up in the Primary mailbox of your customers each time. Every time.

Taking care of the fundamentals at the Base Camp:

  1. Create expectations for your mailers :

Are you a apparel seller with a sense of fashion? Or Are you a electronics seller who is also a gadget freak?? Have your newsletters to carry essential tips and tricks for your readers.
Create a numbered series of mails along with promotional discount offers etc. This way your customers will expect your mail every week or bi-week in their inbox. Once Gmail observes that your client regularly opens your mails. It will automatically deliver your mails in the Priority box. Yes! Google is that smart!

  1. Experiment with your mailing list:

Divide your mailing list into 2-3 groups. Play around with the subject line, number of links in the mail and sender’s mail address and send out the mailers. Analyze the results and find out which style or strategy gives the best opening rates for your Marketing campaigns.

  1. Address each one of your clients with names:

Simple but effective way to ensure that your mails are not treated as junk by your clients themselves.We all love to be recognized by our names and it hold true for Online marketing too!

Moving forward from the Base Camp:

        1.  Use your personal mail id/domain for mailers:
Instead of using something obvious like use your own email id like or Email management services like Mailchimp allows you to do this once you have verified yourself on their platform.

        2. Reduce the number of external links:
Gmail’s filters checks the content of the mail to categorize it into one of the tabs. Try to limit the number of external links to 2-3. Doing so you reduce the risk of being categorized as a promotional email sender.

  1. Avoid Bulk sending emails:
    Although Bulk email sending clients like Mailchimp are hugely successful. But it has its own pros and cons. The advantage is that if you use these platforms you can actually track the opening rates of your marketing email campaigns. However on the negative side mailers sent through such services are read as from ” via” by Gmail. Thus are mostly grouped into the Promotional tab.

For example :
My mails from HDFC bank have been sent by :  which landed in my primary tab.
Whereas the mails from Dominos reads as : via which landed in my Promotional mails tab.

Choosing the right bulk mail sending service is the most important step in your Email Marketing Strategy. Depending upon your budget choose the right solution. Check out this post listing the most popular Bulk Email services.For starters you can send from your own email id that comes with your ecommerce website domain. As you scale up the two highly reliable mailing clients you should have a look at-
> Sendgrid : Pros- Best delivery rates, great email analytics. Cons – Expensive
> Amazon Simple Email Service : Pros- The cheapest service available at $0.10 per thousand emails. Cons- Complicated API.

  1.  Work on your Mailer reputation:
    Each time a user marks your mail as spam,a complaint is registered with the Internet Service Provider/domain you’ve used to send the mail. Getting marked as spam can cause a real setback to your email marketing. Make sure that you take the following steps to avoid being marked as spam.
  • Consistently use one email id/Domain to send all your mails.
  •  Send mails only to those who have opted in through an Online form/app system.
  •  Make sure to give the ‘Unsubscribe’ option to your audience.
  •  Do not send too many or too little a number of emails.
  •  Avoid using these keywords which send a reg flag to the spam filters.

A low spam score will make sure that your mails are treated with respect by Google.
Stay tuned! We have more! 


This is the most important thing you could do to right now to make sure that your mails land up in your customer’s primary mailbox each and every time. Since you don’t expect each one of your customers to be aware of the changes in Gmail tabs. Its most wise to-

  • Educate your Customers about this change in Gmail.
  • Request your customers to do you a favour. Once.

You can educate your customers to actually put your into their priority mailbox in two ways :

1.    Request your clients to drag and drop one of your mails from the promotional tab to the primary tab.


Once its done Gmail would prompt :

Choose Yes, and you can rest assured that all your future mails to your clients will be delivered into the Primary mailbox in the future.

  1. Just Right click on one of your mails and chose Move to Primary tab and Voila!gmail5

Hope these tips help you achieve increased open rates for all your marketing emails. Wondering how to write your first marketing email in the best possible way? Subscribe to the Zepo blog & get the upcoming post on Best Practices for Designing Marketing Emails, delivered first to your mailbox!
Have other ideas to make sure that your mail is read by your clients? Share with us in the comments!

Do you sell some awesome products and want to increase your reach? Well why not do so equipped with all the advanced features to help you boost your online sales significantly! With Zepo you not only open your online store, but get all the tools to actually drive sales.


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Saptarshi Baksi

Saptarshi Baksi

Saptarshi finally found his calling & creative freedom in ZEPO after donating some blood to an IT company. A wannabe adventurer and a shutterbug. He is often found trekking in the Sahayadris on the weekends.
Swears by Google Adwords 5 times a day.
"The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams." ~Oprah Winfrey