Google Pulled a Fast One
Then we saw it. What in #$#@? Who did that?
Maybe you haven’t seen the recent Google gmail changes as it seems to be on a roll out. You will.
When it does hit, you’ll be tempted to ask Why did Google do this?
The answer and an important long-term lesson about the online world is that Google is Google and it can pretty much do what it wants. It’s how things roll with free services these days.
The most important question for you to ask is:
How will these gmail changes impact your email marketing efforts and what can you do to neutralize this change?
Great question because Google’s changes creates a serious new wrinkle in email marketing efforts.
Read on to find out about the email marketing impacts and what you can do to overcome it.
What exactly did Google do?
Category tabs is a new Google gmail feature. They are designed to make it easier to manage your inbox. That would have been fine, but Google decided to introduce this feature as a default rather than having you to opt-in.
The result is when you initially open your inbox, your email is scattered across these new categories rather than waiting in your inbox for you to move or in the categories you may have already created.
The new category tabs are:
Primary – Messages from friends and family, as well as any other messages that don’t appear in other tabs.
Social – Messages from social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services, gaming platforms, and other social websites.
Promotion – Your deals, offers, and other promotional emails.
Updates – Notifications such as confirmations, receipts, bills, and statements.
Forums – Messages from online groups, discussion boards, and mailing lists.
The category tabs appear between Google Ads and the first email in that category. See green arrow below.
What’s wrong with Gmail Category Tabs?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. In fact, these category tabs may be perfect for some.
The problem is that by introducing this new feature as a default, Google added another step between you and your email subscribers.
Email marketing is tough enough without more steps.
Chances are you’ve worked hard to build your subscriber list over time, played by the double opt-in rules and have labored to create great content for your subscribers. After all that, it seems very unfair for Google to automatically push your emails into the Promotions category. There, you’ll be, lost in a sea of discounts, deals and god knows what.
Sent to gmail Promotions is like being relegated to steerage after paying for Business class. Tweet This
But there is some good news. There are fixes.
Google Gmail Fixes
Fix 1. If you like these Google categories, great. Keep them.
Just make certain the emails you really, really want to read are in your Primary category because that will be what you’ll first see when you open your inbox.
To move emails you want to be certain to receive – like ours – from one category to another, simply drag and drop the email into the desired category tab. Or right click a message while viewing in your inbox. Google will ask:
“This conversation has been moved to “Primary.” Do this for future messages from firstname.lastname@example.org?”
Say “Yes” and you won’t miss any important email from us or anyone once added to your Primary category.
Fix 2. If you find Google isn’t the mind reader it thinks it is and email is getting lost in these new categories, then one option is to get rid of the default categories.
Click on the “+” next to the category boxes (see below) and uncheck the categories. You’ll revert to the old gmail you came to know and love.
Fix 3. But your most important action is to inform your email subscribers that this is happening and provide them with directions like we have above. The easiest thing to do is just send them a link to this post.
Fix 4. Another important step you can take (at least initially) is to add gmail category instructions to your opt-in process for new subscribers. You don’t want to be disappointing new subscribers simply because Google stuck you in the wrong category, never to be seen. So let them know this may happen – just like getting caught in SPAM filters – and give them the steps to correct.
What are your thoughts about Google’s new gmail changes?
Do you like the changes, wonder why, wish they’d just leave your inbox alone or are really hacked off?
How else might you neutralize its impact on your email marketing?
Leave your thoughts below and don’t forget to share these instructions with your email subscribers so you don’t experience a major drop in your email readership.
Almost forget. Here’s a fun 1 minute video that will take some of the sting out of these Google changes and end with a smile.