As if it wasn’t enough that web designers have to adapt their design styles to fit Google’s rules in order for their sites to have any chance at a decent ranking, now email marketers will have to play ball too.
If you haven’t yet experienced Gmail’s new tab interface, don’t worry, you will. The new layout aims to segregate email into a series of tabs, including Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. It’s the “promotions” tab that troubles me.
For years, email’s ability to directly reach users has proven to be a highly effective form of marketing. Users have always had the ability to create message rules to mark and sort incoming emails, but – and this is great for guys like me – most of them don’t. Marketing messages were given the same priority as your bank statements and pictures of your sister’s cat, making them more likely to be seen and opened.
But now Google wants to change that, and I wonder how this will affect the Internet marketing community. I mean, how often are you actually going to click that “promotions” tab? No one wants to be marketed to, the only people who wake up in the morning saying “Ooh, I can’t wait to see a bunch of crap I don’t need!” are watching the Home Shopping Network. Or on Facebook. But I digress…
The point is that intentional or not, I suspect the Promotions tab is going to deal a serious blow to the Internet Marketing community and the email strategies we’ve been using for years to reach and engage the lists we’ve built. Users will have to manually set list-based emails to show up in their primary Inbox, and I question how many will take the time to do it – especially if you’re building your list through incentives (such as subscribing to access free content or a download). For most of the marketers I know, with about two thirds of their subscribers using Gmail, I’m not holding my breath.
As a user, however, I have to admit… I secretly like the idea of my inbox being less cluttered.</hypocrite>.