The other day I started using Gmail again, after a long time -- and spent ten minutes wondering why I wasn't receiving all my emails. Actually, I was. But Gmail decides whether the emails you're receiving are from friends and family, in which case they go into the Primary section, or whether they're Promotional (aka spam), Updates, Social or Forum comments.
This wouldn't matter so much if it were not for the fact that I send out a newsletter, Digital Education. I read that Gmail may decide that a newsletter is not from a friend or family member, but is, rather, a promotional item.
Apparently it arrives at its decision by taking into account whether the following are true. If most or all of the following apply, Gmail decides not to put the message in the Primary section:
- lots of links
- quite long
- banner or other type of ad
- lots of images
- calls to action such as "Order ..."
Well, Digital Education fails on all counts. I could reduce the size of the newsletter and reduce the number of links, but people subscribe to it, and remain subscribed for a long time, because they like it. So I won't be changing anything radical just yet, but if I do, it won't be in order to satisfy an algorithm! (Very radical, I know.)
Apparently, most newsletters get syphoned off into the Promotional section. I tested a couple of recent issues of Digital Education (using the website http://litmus.com/gmail-tabs), and I was delighted to discover that it gets filtered off into Updates. That's preferable to Promotions, but not as good as Primary. So this article is about how to change that if you are "losing" messages -- especially if you have subscribed to Digital Education and not seen it for a long time. It has probably gone into Updates. If so, here's what you do:
1. Drag the email into the Primary tab.
2. You will see the following message above the Inbox
3. Click on Yes, so that Gmail learns to automatically perform this action on future emails from that email address.
As a general rule, I'd publish a tip like this, ie one that relates especially to my newsletter, in the newsletter first of all. However, any subscriber who is affected by this issue won't see the email!
A slightly different version of this article has been cross-posted to the Writers' Know-how website.