Have you been seeing all the fuss about Gmail's new tabbed inboxes? I'm seeing lots of email marketers quite upset about this change, putting Gmail on blast so I wanted to go ahead and throw my two tech cents in too.
The quick and dirty:
Gmail users can now group incoming emails into these neat little tabs like Primary, Social, and Promotions.
First, don't panic. No need to send out any scary Facebook posts telling people how to manage their email. If it is absolutely bugging you then you may want to send out a quick note to everyone letting them know there was a change, and how they can adjust their settings. If you do decide to go this route, think about the tone of your message and be sure to be extremely accurate in the info you put out there. Also, think about sending just your Gmail users a message via your newsletter system rather than blasting it all over. I've seen a few people using scare tactics and putting out incorrect info that has left me a bit dumbfounded. Why not just segment your lists by Gmail users and message just them?!!?
Second, there is actually a super quick instruction you could send your readers on how to update or remove the new feature here. It's so simple.
My take, from my personal use of Gmail.
I love this feature. I recently moved all of my domain email to Gmail and spent roughly 5 hours unsubscribing to things I've picked up along the way. I know that it's easy to group and label mail in Gmail, but having it in different tabs help me clear my mind a little more rather than feeling so overwhelmed. My primary inbox is now a safer place for me to me. You can argue that it always has been, and with the clever use of several gmail accounts I could have all the junk go somewhere else. I just need one email box and one place to go to manage MY STUFF. I've also found that spam is now going in there too, #Winning.
My take, from my professional use of Gmail.
I'm not worried about it. I trust that anyone who read my messages through Gmail will eventually find my mail. The new tab introduces itself and asks you if you want a tour. Most people are not going to just forget about this tab for all eternity. I trust that anyone who wants to read my mail, will probably find a way to. I don't feel like Gmail is cheating me in any way, I actually feel like this may help the online business industry and might even lead to MORE opens eventually. How do you ask? Because now there is a slight effort required to get to these emails. Depending on the users choice, it could be clicking over to the other tab OR setting it so your message ends up in their primary inbox. If I now make contact with someone in Gmail, they have already shook my hand and invited me in for dinner. Chances are we'll be singing karaoke together in no time.
But what about the people who spend thousands of dollars to get people to sign up? Then they have their readers click a double opt in just to get in? Well, those people are sort of caught in the middle, but it is definitely not the end of the world. The name of the game used to be "get as many as you can to sign up" and I guess that has been changed somewhat. Marketers may need to work a little harder ( I know it's already hard! ) and be a bit more creative in order to get their audience to notice them. This change, I'm hoping, will lead to a more intimate relationship with those who really are interested in your stuff. Maybe it's time we all slow down and do better. The days of parasitic email marketing, fake friendliness, with lots of hoopla and tricks, are GONE. A reader on the Mailchimp blog about this very topic wrote "And stop trying to “be my friend” – you’re a company trying to worm your way into my wallet. That’s the opposite of friendly, that’s parasitic." and I can guarantee, this is how people really feel.
Until now it's been free reign when it comes to email marketing. You sign up, they send, as often as they want. Offering deal after deal, because hey this is the last time I'm offering this for real this time! I personally didn't want to go in and label everything. I started to, I meant well, and never really followed through. I sign up to things all the time. Sometimes to get a freebie, other times just to see what someone is up to. Most of the time I unsubscribe if I don't feel the persons messages is worth my inbox space. I say, take this as an opportunity to up your game. Create better messages with more value.
The goal is to get your readers to slide you over from promotions to primary. Therefore making a conscious decision about wanting to really view your stuff - you know, to actually pay attention. There is no reason to scare them or find some crazy work around to get your stuff in the right spot. When someone drags your email into their primary tab, Gmail then asks if it should be permanent by asking: Do this for future messages from email@example.com and the answer is YES. Imagine if your mail is now landing in front of people rather than being in a clogged mess of an inbox, aha!
I think that this tiny bit of effort is going to help marketers attract those people who really matter, the sales conversion cheerleader types. Therefore, giving them less of the give me my freebie and never open again types. We all know having large databases means nothing when people are not buying. So I guess it will be interesting to see how this affects sales conversions over the long term. Right now, everyone is focusing on opens and a few people are seeing those numbers shrink. For me, I'm going to keep focusing on building better kick butt content and healthier lists.