Russell Martin is a computer engineer and internet aficionado. He has been working in the web design/development industry for over 10 years now and enjoys the freedom of a job away from the office. Currently living in Thailand, he is focusing on sharing his web design knowledge by writing blog posts and tutorials.
Recently I have been hearing a lot of buzz around the inter-web in regards to the new Gmail inbox, and how it is effecting email marketing. To be honest, most of what I am hearing is quite negative. Many email marketers are absolutely appalled that their super relevant emails are now bypassing readers' primary inbox. I've already received multiple updates from my various subscriptions, giving me step by step instructions on how to exempt their emails from the new Gmail inbox filters.
Google has become pretty darn good at recognizing subscription newsletters, whether they be spam or not, and have created a special tab in your inbox called Promotions. If you haven't seen the new inbox layout, check it out below:
By default most of my newsletter subscriptions are ending up here in this tab, and skipping my main inbox. For obvious reasons email marketers hate this because they see it as one more roadblock to conquer before they can get their super urgent newsletter in front of you. But, for me, the end user, this has been a great feature that I much appreciate. My inbox stays nice and clean and keeps my less important newsletters on the back burner until I'm ready to take a look.
The consumer in me is obviously on board with these changes, but as a webmaster who has their own email lists, I wasn't quite sure what this meant for my monthly newsletters. Should I be just as outraged as my fellow email marketers and write google a nasty letter, letting them know how they have destroyed my life.
Maybe . . . but over the last couple of weeks I have seen this change as a positive thing for email marketers, and this is why.
Normally, I would never want to hand out my email address to new newsletters or websites. Whenever I see an email subscription form, my initial curiosity is quickly killed by the outrageous thought of needing one more mouse click to delete unwanted messages. Lately though, what I have noticed is that my curiosity is triumphing over my outrage. Since I now know that subscription newsletters will be filtered out of my primary inbox, I am less hesitant to sign up for new stuff. Just in the last week I signed up for 4 new web-design newsletter, just because I was curious to see what they would send. I wouldn't have dreamed of doing this a month ago with Gmail's consolidated inbox.
So is the email marketing community justified in their outrage? Yes and no. Obviously open rates will drop because newsletters are being archived by default. But on the flip side I predict that new subscription rates will greatly increase. The barrier to entry has been lowered by Gmail new inbox structure and webmasters should expect to see new growth in their email lists.