This articles explores the new Gmail Inbox – what is means for Gmail users and Email Marketers.
Part I looks at the new innovation from a user’s point of view. We discuss Why Google have done this, What the changes are and How users can make the most of this new feature.
Part II looks at ramifications for Email Marketers. Does the new filter spell death to email marketing? Or will it actually provide a better environment for your inbox pitch?
For better or worse, we now live in a world where, when Google changes, you’d better sit up and take notice.
Why has Google done this?
The new inbox is a response to the “email problem” most of us have. 1,000 unread emails in my inbox, 100’s pouring in each day. Every proud little ‘ding’ from my MacBook heralds a new problem clamouring for my attention, and reminds me of it’s 999+ peers doing the same.
I tried abandoning my inbox. I missed events, got behind on bills, and blushed every time someone said “Did you get my email?”. Eventually I began to fantasise about deleting everything and starting again from 0. Could I fake a very localised Google catastrophe that only affected my inbox?
Even mounting anxiety couldn’t bring me to delete everything. So I had to do something.
I consulted the very clever, Carl Taylor, author and founder of The Business Builders Academy, who provided me with the “magic bullet” of filing systems for my email. I also got to delete dozens of unwanted ads and subscriptions, with one click. I got a spring back in my step, I started accepting more invitations via email, I replied to my Mum about that Catalyst program last August.
For one whole month, my inbox was below 100. Then below 250. Then 500. Let’s face it, I’ve got a problem.
The good thing about Google having access to everything I do online, is that they had heard about my “dirty little problem”.
et voila = new inbox for people like me with an email problem.
That’s a good thing, right?
Yeah, sure. It’s great for my inner disorganised, compulsive shopper, sign up to every newsletter self. But as a marketer, it presents a problem.
These wonderful new filters can actually stop your marketing messages from getting in front of the eyes of your audience.
From a productivity point of view, it’s encouragement to use the Gmail.com browser interface instead of my Mail app on my MacBook. This means I can turn off the reminder when new emails arrive, and only check Gmail when I’m ready.
How does the new Inbox work?
Google decided that the best way to help me sort out my inbox was to automatically filter incoming mail into different tabs. Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums.
This means that for better or worse, your marketing emails now appear in Promotions – unless the user ‘stars’ your email, specifically requesting that it come to your Primary inbox.
It’s important to note that this is a voluntary feature – you can turn it off at any time and go back to your old inbox if you prefer.
After a week of using the new inbox, I admit that it’s quite nice to flip to the Social tab, select all and trash all those notifications, knowing that I haven’t unwittingly deleted a client message.
What does this mean for Marketers?
You might feel let down if you’re looking for a magic bullet.
The new separation of promotional emails could be good or bad, and it’s really too early to tell at this point. The new inbox feature began rolling out in May 2013. The industry seems to be in agreement – we may not really understand the full ramifications for marketers for 12 months or more.
The good news is that if you are providing valuable, engaging content to your database, that they appreciate and look forward to, then you can continue to do that.
There has been some speculation that the Promotions tab may even improve click-through rates, because your audience will be anticipating promotional messages in this inbox, and thus “primed to buy”.
And if you’re not already sending great content to your list, now is the time to get started, because Gmail users are better able to hone in on irrelevant marketing messages than ever before.
The most important action for marketers is to instruct your readers how to ensure that your emails come direct to their Primary inbox.
How has the new Gmail Inbox affected you?
Have you begun using your new filtering inbox yet? What do you think?
Are you an email marketer? Have you noticed any difference in your open-rates or click-throughs?
And if you’ve found this article useful, don’t forget to like or share it.
* Your Gmail is About to Change Completely: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/new-gmail-2013-5
* Google video overview of the new inbox : http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CFf7dlewJus
* A New Inbox that Puts You Back in Control – Official Gmail Blog. http://gmailblog.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/a-new-inbox-that-puts-you-back-in.html
* Google explanation of inbox tabs : https://support.google.com/mail/answer/3055016?hl=en-GB&p=inboxtabs&rd=1