Right now my inbox is flooded with emails from marketing folks I follow who are all in near hysteria over the new Tabbed Gmail Inbox Interface. (I bet your inbox is full, too.)
Good grief! You’d think the world was coming to an end. Or at the least, the email marketing world as we currently know it.
But I don’t quite see it that way — at least not yet.
I think most of the outrage is around Google having that kind of control over your inbox. But hey, most of us ceded control of our online lives to Google a long time ago, whether we realize it or not.
Plus, the dreaded PROMOTIONS tab — the one that has everyone in a tizzy — is another opportunity to put ads in your face.
You weren’t clicking enough on those ads that showed up on the right hand side, so now they’re gonna stick them front and center where you can’t miss them. (You can opt out of seeing these ads btw, and you don’t even have to use the new tabbed interface if you don’t want to. You do have choices here.)
I had stopped using Gmail to manage my primary email awhile back, but with this new tabbed feature, I’m going back to give it another shot.
First, let’s talk about Managing Your Email and then we’ll get into How This Affects You as an Email Marketer.
Managing your email
Managing the onslaught of email that you get on a daily basis is one of the biggest challenges and top time wasters of our wired world.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried every trick in the book to make it easier to manage everything that comes into your inbox — all in the futile effort to not miss anything, to read everything, and to take action on it.
I’m all in favor of having a more efficient way to manage what comes into my inbox, so I’m keeping an open mind here.
You’ll notice there are three new tabs in your interface: Primary, Social, and Promotions, but you may not know that there are two additional tabs you can add; Updates and Forums. Each tab sorts email a little differently depending on how the Gmail bots perceive the content of each message.
You can turn any of the tabs on or off with ease. Just click on the little + button on the right end of the tabs and check or uncheck each one.
Or, if you just don’t want to use this new interface, you simply go to the Settings tab, click on Inbox, then choose the kind of inbox interface you want. (See, you DO have a choice!)
If you’re like me you probably have emails from marketers that you actually like and don’t want to miss (mine, I hope), and then there’s the ones that go into my “read it later” folder. I view the Promotions tab as no different than my “read it later” folder.
So what happens if Gmail automatically puts something into the Promotions folder that you don’t want to miss?
There’s an easy fix; you simply drag those emails to the Primary tab, and then click “yes” at the top when it asks if you want to put all future emails from this sender in the Primary tab. Simple.
All that stuff I want to get to “later” sits and waits for me under the Promotions tab. It saves me time because I don’t have to physically move them, which is what I would normally be doing anyway.
Instead of shrieking about how awful the new interface is, I am seeing it as (hopefully) my organizational salvation. Woo hoo!
However, that doesn’t mean that somewhere down the road I may not like it so much. Time will tell and we will see.
For now I, for one, love this new interface from a user/organizational standpoint, but I admit, it IS going to pose a few challenges for those of us who depend on email marketing to make our living.
As an email marketer it’s true; this new interface could affect whether your email messages get seen or not.
How This Affects You as an Email Marketer
The challenge, as most folks are seeing it, is that all promotional-type emails, including newsletters and ezines are being automatically placed under the promotions tab.
All the yelling and freaking out is about not wanting the reader to think about your email messages as promotions — even though that is exactly what they are.
Do these marketers think that in 2013 people are not smart enough to figure out that when they sign up to get something that they are also agreeing to be added to a marketing list? Of course they know!
The reality is, many clever folks have already figured out how to get around reading your marketing messages anyway — without ever unsubscribing from your list.
One way is the aforementioned “Read it Later” folder.
Countless people simply set up separate catch-all email accounts (many in Gmail) that they rarely, or never, look at. Those people aren’t seeing your messages anyway.
And of course, there’s the delete button.
Why the lackluster loyalty to your email marketing brilliance? Because they wanted to get your irresistible free gift but don’t want to be committed long term. They figure that, once in a while, they’ll go into that account and have a look, and maybe they’ll look at yours, and maybe they’ll think about what you are saying or maybe you’ll offer another freebie.
But don’t count on it, because if you think about it, it doesn’t matter whether this person sees your messages or not. They aren’t likely to buy anything from you anyway.
If all you’re doing is sending out junk to your list — and let’s face it, most email marketing, IMHO, IS junk — then you’ve got a lot more to worry about than Gmail’s new interface.
So while there is no way to control Google — or your subscriber’s behavior — my best advice is this:
1. Send only high-value emails so that your subscribers look forward to hearing from you instead of thinking of you as just another marketing pest…
2. ASK them to move your emails from the Promotions Tab to the Primary Tab.
Here’s the real key: instruct them on how to click “yes” so that all future emails go to the Primary tab. It’s amazing what people will do for you when you simply ask — and show them how.
There are ways to make email marketing work for you regardless of what Google or any other service provider does and I share those ideas with you in my free special report:
It’s free and very helpful. Get it now.