Not long ago Gmail introduced a new tabbed inbox design that automatically organizes email into 5 categories. This announcement was met with fear from email marketers. We expressed our apprehension back in July. With emails skipping the inbox there was a big concern that open rates would plummet and email marketing would loose value. Soon I began seeing special messages and even whole campaigns with instructions to get emails into my primary inbox. I understand the intention here: now that most of the advertisements I receive are grouped together in the Promotions tab it is much easier for me to ignore them.
All is not lost
I also see a big upside: the tabs automatically give context to my emails. With a traditional single inbox space is very valuable. As a result ads and other emails that were interesting but less important were quickly deleted to keep my inbox under control. But now there is a place for those messages to collect. They can wait in the promotions tab until I’m thinking about buying.
Think of it like the newspaper, particularly a big Sunday paper. Space on the front page is really valuable and when you are looking there you want information. But there is also a whole stack of ads and coupons in the middle. And when you are thinking about going shopping you know exactly where to find the offers.
The promotions tab is like the ads section. When I open it up I’m on the lookout for offers and deals that are interesting. I may even keep messages there for a few days (sometimes weeks) until I’m ready to buy. Instead of hastily deleting messages out of my inbox I’m able to get to the ads when I need them.
So, what does this mean for your emails?
The important part: how does this impact your marketing emails? I have a couple suggestions:
- Focus on the subject line and first line of the email to overcome the first hurdle of being opened.
- Have a clear, easy to understand message in your email. Once your email is opened, make sure it is simple and interesting.
- Don’t focus on tricking the system. Put your effort into crafting good messages with compelling subject lines instead of working to avoid the Promotions tab.
Are you using the Gmail tabs in your inbox? Has it changed how you interact with emails from marketers?