Waiting in line at 2 A.M. in the bitter cold for Black Friday sales is so 2015.

Black Friday is no longer about in-store purchasing; it’s about digital deals delivered by email.

If you run a business and aren’t sending Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) promotions to your list, you’re leaving a global market out in the cold. If you have an email campaign rip-roaring and ready to go just for the occasion, know this: With email volumes at an annual high during the November holidays, there’s a massive influx of competition for the coveted inbox space, and most emails will end up either in the Gmail Promotions tab or, worse yet, the dreaded spam box.

Don’t let your precious marketing emails be among them.

Task One: Avoid the Spam Box

Here are five tips to ensure your emails don’t end up cold, alone and unopened in the spam box this holiday season:

1. Don’t Use Symbols in Your ‘From’ Name

The “From” name section of your email is meant for just that — a name. Keep it simple, and use your name or your company’s name to avoid spam penalties.

2. Don’t Send Raw URLs in Your Email — Use Hyperlinks Instead

If raw URLS (such as http://www.ONTRAPORT.com), rather than hyperlinks, are included in your email, your message can be perceived as a phishing attack. More on that here.

3. Send to Your Most Engaged Users First

Start by sending a broadcast email to your customers or prospects who opened your most recent email, followed by the less engaged prospects an hour or two later. This positive show of engagement from the first wave of sends will help pave the way for better delivery to your less engaged contacts.

4. Send Emails in MIME Format and Include Both a Plain Text and an HTML Version

By taking an extra moment to prepare and send both email versions (in MIME format), you’re ensuring that any contacts who cannot receive HTML emails still get the text version and are able to see your compelling offer. Skip this step and some recipients may end up just getting a blank email or a message with jumbled code.

5. Write Like a Human (Fitness Niche I’m Looking at You)

Don’t add spaces or periods in between words to try to trick spam content filters. The only difference between “fat loss” in an email and “PHATloss” or “f.a   .t loss” is that one is a real word, while the others are obvious red flags to the ESPs that you’re hiding something. The major ESPs send/receive billions of emails every day; a simple change of a letter or adding a space isn’t going to trick them (anymore).

Congrats! You’ve dodged the spam box — the first hurdle.

Task Two: Avoid the Gmail Promotions Tab

A typical entrepreneur’s email list consists of at least 30% Gmail or Google Apps users, opening the doors to a major opportunity for you to compete with the juggernauts of the retail and service world.

What most marketers don’t realize is that landing in the Gmail Promotions tab rather than the inbox decimates their open and conversion rates. Armed with the knowledge that most of the bigger companies don’t even reach the inbox, there are a few things you can do to avoid being bundled in with the rest of the marketers and steer clear of the Promotions tab.

1. Keep the Links in Your Email to a Minimum

It’s been proven that the more links an email contains, the higher the likelihood that it’ll end up in the Promotions tab. You know those links to your website, email address, social media and privacy policy in the footer of your email? Get rid of them! Your emails should remain sales focused with one concise call to action.

2. Make Your Images a Reasonable Size

Yes, images can help your email look awesome, but did you know that large images negatively affect your delivery rates? Try to keep your image size below 140 KB when sending email. Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr, and Image Optimizer are readily available tools to resize your images to the ideal size.

3. Ask Readers to Respond To or Forward Your Message

When a recipient performs these actions, it’s a positive display of engagement with your emails in the eyes of the ESPs, thus increasing the likelihood of getting your emails to their inbox in the future.

4. Leave Out Social Media Links

This will have two benefits – one is that you’ll likely place in the primary box rather than the promotions folder. The other is that your readers won’t be as overwhelmed because your call to action won’t be caught up in a flurry of other links for your reader to click on. Save the Facebook “like” request for another day.

5. Make Sure Your Emails are Mobile-Responsive

This one should go without saying, but your emails must be mobile-responsive. If you’re an ONTRAPORT user, create your email using one of our beautiful ONTRAmail templates and you’ll be covered. Over 66% of email is read on mobile devices now, according to the latest US Consumer Device Preference Report.

About Brendan Dubbels

ONTRAPORT Lead Postmaster and Deliverability Expert Brendan Dubbels is obsessive about all things inbox: whether that be taking advantage of Gmail’s tabbed inbox, avoiding SPAM traps, maintaining a clean IP reputation, or setting up the perfect list re-engagement campaign. This serial entrepreneur has started a computer repair business, a graphic design shop and Automation Aces, a marketing and business automation consultancy. Brendan has been featured on The Autoresponder Guy podcast and the Email Critic blog. He was also ONTRAPORT Employee #5.