Many email marketing bloggers commented on Gmail’s new inbox last week. I have been able to use it since day two after its announcement in both of my accounts. (In fact, I already used it before; the new inbox is a revamp of a labs feature called Smartlabels that I blogged about two years ago.) Since mailers speculate on what the Gmail future golds for them, here is some myth busting – with regards to what my Gmail-inboxes in Germany look like today:
- Myth: Emails from starred senders go into the primary inbox.
Truth: The single one email, which the recipient marks, goes into the primary inbox, too. That is true. However, the starring seems to have no effect on future emails. So, how do you get your newsletters into the user’s primary tab then? Ask the subscriber to drag it from the promotions tab to the primary tab. They should confirm this for future emails, too.
- Myth: Plain-text emails go into the primary inbox.
Truth: Gmail treats plain-text promotions no different from HTML newsletters. They both land where they belong – under the promotions tab:
- Myth: The user has to specify filter rules, first, to make it work.
Truth: The new inbox sorts emails out of the box. Users can correct misclassifications, like a newsletter that landed in the social tab. If the user drags this newsletter from the social to the promotions tab, he is also asked, if he wants to label all future emails from the sender address this way. But speaking of my own inbox, those errors are quite rare; the classification model works well.
- Myth: Tabs show the sender names of new emails – choose them wisely.
Truth: No sender names appear in my new inbox, although the promo screenshot suggest something different. The tabs just show the label plus the number of new emails. (Of course, that doesn’t mean that choosing an appropriate sender name is not important.)
- Myth: This is the end of email marketing.
Truth: Firstly, not all Gmail users will use the new inbox. Some will stay with the priority inbox or a classical view. Secondly, in the new inbox, newsletters compete only with newsletters for attention, not with newsletters plus private emails plus social notifications and more. To me, this seems be a good thing. It is easier to stand out within the promotions tab than within the “all emails” folder. Just make better use of the tools of the trade than your inbox competitors. Think of good preheaders that complement your subject line. (Gmail is one of the few email providers that displays a preheader snippet text.)